The road to the Final Four makes its final detour this weekend as the Elite Eight try to punch their ticket to San Antonio. Narrowing things down to just four games this weekend, all standing alone in the Prime Time spotlight, spotting the value in the marketplace won’t be easy. But by taking a deep dive into the off-shore market, hopefully we can get a glimpse the “sharper” bets to be made on these games and give you some opportunities to add to the madness that many are already experiencing this March.
11 Loyola Chicago vs. 9 Kansas State
Off-shore Open: Pick Total: 127
Off-shore Consensus: Kansas State -1 -110 Total: 126.5
Betting Consensus: 65% Kansas State Total: 58% Over ML: 57% Kansas State
One Cinderella will secure their place at the ball in this unlikely matchup, which opened a pick ‘em, and with Kansas State seeing a large percentage of the action, has gone up to as high as 1.5. The 1.5’s that were available early this morning, are available no more, and this movement against consensus is enough to surmise the presence of sharp action on Loyola at 1.5. Of the major off-shore books, the only two still posting a 1.5 are Bovada and The Greek, while the rest of the market appears to be quite stable at 1. Pinnacle is welcoming action on either side at 1, reducing juice to -106, while, most are at a standard -110. In finding an available 1.5, you may be getting a half-point of value, on a consensus 1, so perhaps waiting to see where this goes throughout the day may be a good idea, especially if this current consensus holds.
Looking at the money line market, further evidence of Loyola being the sharper side is demonstrated through comparing prices offered at various books. With a 57% consensus on Kansas State, Pinnacle has held steady at K-State -112, Loyola -100. Coming from the reputed sharpest book off-shore, The -112 is the lowest price out there on Kansas State, and with Bovada at -120 and other recreationally-driven shops such as MyBookie and WagerWeb offering -130, +110 and -125, +105 respectively, a minor lean to the Ramblers is clear.
The under may also be garnering a bit of professional attention, as in opening at 127, the total has seen 58% of the action on the over, and yet, has ticked down a half-point nearly everywhere. Bovada is the lone remaining major off-shore at 127, juicing the under to -115, while everybody else has made the move to 126.5. With a few shops, such as BetOnline juicing the over and 126.5, a move back to 127 isn’t out of the question, especially with what jumps out as an extremely low total relative to an average college basketball game. Therefore, if wanting to bet the total in this game, under 127 looked to be a sharp play.
9 Florida State vs. 3 Michigan
Off-shore Open: Michigan – 4.5 -110 Total: 143
Off-shore Consensus: Michigan – 4.5 -115 Total: 143.5
Betting Consensus: 69% Michigan Total: 60% Over Money Line: 60% Michigan
Michigan finally got things going on the offensive end in their woodshedding of Texas A&M, and the betting world appears to be buying in, with nearly 70% of the spread action coming in on the Wolverines. Opening at 4.5 at Bookmaker, this number is starting to trend with the consensus, as the 4.5’s are starting to show a higher tax and some 5’s are beginning to show. MyBookie, Bovada, and Heritage are those that have made the move to 5, with MyBookie and Bovada juicing the Florida State side and Heritage reduced on both sides. Everybody else is juiced to Michigan at 4.5, with The Greek and Bet365 the few that have remained at -110. Note that Pinnacle and 5Dimes are charging a slightly higher price on Michigan but it’s still below -110, so I’m inclined to view the action on this game as mostly public. This lopsided of a consensus during March is certainly enough to push this number up a bit, but the movement has been very slow and incremental, not indicative of what would be happening if sharp money was joining the party on Michigan.
The money line is telling the same story as the spread, for when I see the rest of the market charging a higher price on Michigan than is Pinnacle, I am affirmed in my suspicion that the consensus is mostly recreational. With Bovada at the pricier side of the continuum at -220 on Michigan and 5Dimes at the low end, posting -195, right down there near Pinnacle at -200, I’m led to believe that if there is any value to be found in this game, it’s on the Florida State side. You may have to wait it out as close as you can to tip, but all signs point to a heavy recreational consensus on Michigan, and perhaps this will be enough to create a half-point to a point of value on Florida State at some point in time, at 5 or 5.5.
The over looks to be getting some attention from bettors as well, and indeed we have seen a bit of upward movement in response. Opening officially 143 at Bookmaker, 143’s are no longer to be found, and with 143.5 being posted by the majority, some 144’s can now even be found at Bovada and Heritage. When I see Pinnacle posting reduced juice on both sides of the total at 143.5, however, I’m confident in stating that this is probably the “right” number, or else they wouldn’t be welcoming action on either side. Perhaps taking under one of the 144’s would offer appeal from a fade the public standpoint, but with a total this high, a half point of value either way isn’t anything to reach into pocket for from my point of view.