Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 7:00 AM
Normally in this spot, I’d run game-by-game through the schedule to let you know how sharps are betting each matchup. That would be redundant this season because the Wise Guys are hitting most of the underdogs. Lines have dropped from openers up and down the Thursday and Friday schedules with only a few exceptions.
Among the reasons for this:
*Oddsmakers posted openers that slightly shaded against anticipated public interest. Squares (recreational bettors) tend to bet favorites. They know a lot more about those teams than they do all the underdogs from mid-major or small conferences. Your typical bettor is terrified of putting money on a team he’s never heard of. He’s much more likely to lay 5, 8, 12, or even 20 points on a team he’s see on TV. So, right out of the gate, a lot of lines were maybe a half-point to a point higher than they “should” have been based on pure Power Ratings (and certainly based on my personal team ratings, which are usually very conservative anyway).
*The public left a lot of those favorites alone in the early part of the week. Maybe they’ll jump on them on game day now that so many lines have dropped a point or so. That meant most of the money Monday through Wednesday was on underdogs. Sports books didn’t want to be one-sided against the sharps on so many games! And, if they hadn’t dropped the lines lower, more and more money would have kept coming in. Let’s take an early Thursday start for example. LSU opened at -8.5 in many spots against Yale. It’s come down to -7.5 at most stores, -7 at a few as I write this. The Wise Guys would have just kept POUNDING Yale at +8.5 or +8 if oddsmakers didn’t do anything.
Here’s a list of dogs that sharps liked at early numbers, with little in the way of public interest on the favorites to this point:
Hartford: Vermont, Murray State, St. Mary’s
Jacksonville: Yale, Belmont
Des Moines: Bradley, Florida, Montana
Salt Lake City: New Mexico State, Northeastern,
Columbus; Colgate, Iona
Tulsa: Northern Kentucky
San Jose: Cal-Irvine, Liberty
The only favorite on the openers that moved up at least a point was Gonzaga from -26.5 to -27.5 against Fairleigh Dickinson. That’s understandable because Gonzaga is coming in off an embarrassing loss to St. Mary’s…and FDU had to win Tuesday for the honor of flying to Salt Lake City to face a superpower.
Sharps recognized that oddsmakers had shaded the lines against favorites. Naturally, they weren’t going to lay any bad numbers. It was dog or pass everywhere you looked. Central Florida moving from pick-em to -1 felt like an earthquake in that environment.
What this means looking forward…if you see point spreads rise on Thursday or Friday, that’s from PUBLIC action. Sharps would already have bet favorites they liked, or bought back against any dogs that moved one to 1.5 points. Any tugs-of-war that develop would be from the public betting favorites in the hours before tip-off to lift lines back up to where sharps liked the underdogs. From our previous example…if squares bet LSU back up to eight…sharps will take some more of Yale at that price.
I can’t tell you which specific games that’s going to happen in. I’m just outlining the dynamic so you can read the market yourself these next two days. I’ll return Saturday morning to talk see what early money was doing for the “round of 32” matchups.
What about Over/Unders? The public usually doesn’t bet these until game day. And, even then, they tend to focus on a handful of Overs if the media is hyping those games as track meets. Squares hate rooting for defense. It’s more fun to root for scoring, so they’ll bet some Overs in games involving high octane offenses.
That means that ANY move off the openers you see right now is from smart money, mostly the quants. Some games have gone up 2-3 points, some have gone down 2-3 points. I’ll tell you it’s too late to bet those if you agree with the direction. Any Over/Under that’s “settled” for a day or so reached where it was supposed to be.
You regulars know college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. I’ve been doing a lot of media this week. Maybe you saw me featured in the New York Post after helping the South Point with its opening lines last Sunday night. It’s so much fun being in the heart of the action. I can’t wait for the all-day, all-night drama to get started early Thursday (very early our time here in Vegas).
You can purchase my 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. Obviously, time is of the essence because we’ll already be down to the Sweet 16 by Sunday night.
Thanks for reading. As I said, I’ll be back with you Saturday morning to talk about the second round. Point spreads for Saturday’s games matching Thursday winners will have settled by then. Sharp sentiment in many Sunday games will be pretty obvious by then as well. Enjoy all the games. See you Saturday.