Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM
As promised, I’m back for March Madness with my sharp reports. Today I’ll look at how pro’s have been betting the Tuesday and Wednesday play-in games. Thursday morning I’ll have a rundown of key moves for the “Round of 64.” Saturday morning, I’ll report what I can of sharp action in the “Round of 32.”
Some good preliminaries this year. I know a lot of you are anxious to get a look at Belmont tonight. Wednesday’s St. John’s/Arizona State feature could be one of the most heavily bet play-in games ever with the New York audience having a vested interest so close to the legal sports books of New Jersey.
I’ll present the games in tipoff order.
*Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Prairie View: This one was a solid FDU -1.5 for several hours. There were indicators late Monday that the line would move higher because nobody was betting Prairie View! Sharps weren’t very interested (though offshore spots that opened at pick-em did get FDU money initially). Squares (the public) often skip these #16 vs. #16 games because they don’t follow the teams. FDU is based on New Jersey, but that won’t affect legal betting there because the state doesn’t let people bet on New Jersey college teams. So, early limited interest on FDU at -1.5 or better. We’ll see what happens Tuesday if more stores test the two.
The opening total of 150 was bet down to 149. The public isn’t likely to bet this total. So, sharps getting a grading below 150 had no reason to wait to see if the line moved any higher.
*Belmont vs. Temple: This is the game everyone wants to see. Is Belmont for real, or not? If Belmont impresses, that will inspire bets on Murray State (same conference) as an underdog vs. Marquette. If Belmont is exposed as a pretender, that Marquette line might rise before tipoff.
We’ve settled on Belmont -3. Various spots opened between Belmont -3.5 down to Belmont -2.5 depending on the timing. Honestly, it’s hard to know what some of the true “opening” numbers were because offshore was trying to get lines up quick. I, myself, was helping the South Point get their numbers on the board. I’ve known the behind-the-counter team there for years. All that’s important here is that Belmont -3 is a “magnet.” I think Temple money would come in from sharps at +3.5, but Belmont money would hit the board pretty hard if -2.5 were to somehow come into play before tip-off.
Quants lifted the Over/Under from an opener of 154.5 to 155. You should obviously expect an up-tempo game. Though, that’s not really much of a move at such a high number. Monitor the market on game day to see if deeper pockets start to make a move. The public “might” bet the Over because it’s the later TV game. But, these aren’t exactly high profile teams. It might take 156 for any Under money to come in.
*North Dakota State vs. North Carolina Central: UNC Central is by far the worst team in the tournament according to all the Power Ratings I’ve seen. North Dakota State opened at -4.5, and has been bet up to -5.5. There was some confusion offshore and at some websites early on because somebody typed in the wrong favorite (!). Be sure you know that North Dakota State is the better team. We haven’t seen any buy back yet on the dog. Might take the full six for that to happen.
A bit of a rise on the total, from an opener of 133 to 134.5. Again, the public won’t bet a total with unknown teams like this, particularly early. Safe to assume that the quants thought 133 was too low.
*Arizona State vs. St. John’s: A lot of early action here, as a combination of sharps and “locals” interest came in on Arizona State wherever pick-em was available. The Sun Devils closed the season pretty well, and played Oregon tougher than anyone else last weekend in the Pac 12 tournament here in Las Vegas. The line made it all the way to ASU -2, when St. John’s money started hitting the board hard. I’ve seen ASU -1 or -1.5. at various spots since then. I think we’ll see different factions of sharps on ASU -1 or St. John’s +2. We’ll have to see what the public prefers on game day.
Big move toward the Over, as an opener of 151 is up to 153.5 with indicators it could go higher. This should be a fast game. Neither side is particularly good on defense if you focus on teams that made the Dance. Needless to say, the quants got in hard at 151 and 152 before the public even had time to think about the total. We’ll see how high it goes before old school Under bettors come in for value.
Some really great games coming later in the week. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure you ask about packages that go all the way through March Madness.
You regulars know college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. My numbers have been locked in for weeks. I see several live dogs the next few days. But, there are also some favorites in the games closer to pick-em that aren’t getting enough respect.
I’m not the type to release “locks” or “games of the year.” You get my best shots every day. I’m proud that Richie Baccellieri’s “best shots” carry a lot of weight in this town.
Thanks for reading. See you Thursday morning for a look at the highest profile first round games.