Friday’s NCAA tournament schedule gives basketball bettors another 32 matchups to wager on. We talk to oddsmakers about the biggest line moves on the board heading into the Round of 64 action:
Mississippi Rebels vs. Wisconsin Badgers - Open: 127, Move: 129.5
This is a classic mismatch in styles, with Ole Miss wanting to press the tempo and Wisconsin trying to lure its opponents to sleep. Bettors seem to be siding with the Rebels when it comes to which team will dictate the pace Friday.
“We opened 127 and immediately got hit with sharp money,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, told Covers.
Despite the lean toward the over, spread bettors believe the Badgers can win – and cover - at a quicker pace. Wisconsin has been bet up from -4.5 to -6.
Creighton Bluejays vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Open: 126, Move: 128
Early sharp money bumped this total up but books are waiting for a big flood of action on Friday’s game once Thursday’s action wraps up. Creighton was one of the most potent offensive clubs in the country, scoring 75.4 points per game. Cincinnati finished among the best under bets in the land with a 4-22 over/under mark.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. La Salle Explorers – Open: +5, Move: +6
Some books have taken early action on KSU, bumping the spread a point. CarbonSports.ag opened this game in the middle at 5.5 early Thursday morning.
“So far all the early money is on the favorite, but not enough money to move the number,” says Stewart.
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. UCLA Bruins – Open: +3.5, Move: +2.5
This is one of the few opening games in which the lower seed is the betting favorite. Minnesota went as high as -3.5 before buyback forced the most recent adjustment. However, public money will have its say on gameday and will likely push this spread back to its original post.
“The public seems to be in love with this Minnesota team,” says Stewart. “We opened this No. 11 seed -3 and all the money poured in on the favorite. We eventually went to 3.5 and we immediately booked sharp action (on UCLA) at that number.”
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Open: Pick, Move: -1.5
This No. 7 versus No. 10 matchup opened as a pick and early money came in on the Irish, moving them to 1.5-point favorites. Books don’t expect this spread to climb any higher and wouldn’t be surprised to see it close back at pick’em by tipoff Friday.
“Very good matchup and we made this game a pick’em, but so far most of the early money is on the favorite,” says Stewart. “I can’t see either team winning this game by a margin and it’s going to come down to who’s making their shots from 3-point land.”
Villanova Wildcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels – Open: 141, Move: 143
This total opened as low as 141 points and was bet up to 143 before action on the under balanced out at the book. According to CarbonSports.ag, 59 percent of total bets are on the under. Villanova and UNC both leaned slightly toward the under this season, going 12-16 and 15-17 over/under respectively.