With the Final Four tipping off in a few hours, books are starting to see a rush of action on both matchups – Louisville vs. Kentucky and Ohio State vs. Kansas. We talked to some Las Vegas bookmakers about the recent line moves and where the sharp and public money is landing.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Kentucky Wildcats (-8.5, 137.5)
The early sharp money on Louisville forced some books to drop this spread from -9 to -8.5 earlier in the week. And while some Kentucky money has come back in, the Cardinals continue to be the popular play.
According to Jay Rood, sportsbook manager for the MGM Mirage, bettors are siding with the underdog at a 2-1 ticket count. However, he believes the public will come back on the Wildcats as the game draws closer.
“It’ll shift in the next few hours,” says Rood. “I don’t see us moving from 8.5 because of that.”
Mike Colbert, race and sportsbook director for Cantor Gaming in Nevada, is surprised by the amount of money coming in on Louisville but agrees that the spread will likely stay put.
“It would take a lot to move off 8.5,” says Colbert.
As for the over/under for the first Final Four matchup of Saturday, the number opened as high as 138.5 and was bet down immediately to as low as 136.5. However, books are reporting one-sided money on the over on gameday, pushing the number back to 138.
Colbert says the ticket count is about 65/35 towards the over.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Kansas Jayhawks (+3, 135.5)
Most shops were dealing Ohio State -2.5 all week but bumped the spread to -3 on Saturday, with money coming in on the Buckeyes.
Rood says the ticket count is about 3/2 in favor of OSU. The MGM Mirage was one of the last books in Las Vegas to make the move to -3 but was forced to go up after a couple five-figure wagers were placed on the favorite.
“They weren’t huge bets but it seemed everyone was rolling in that direction and we didn’t want to get behind,” says Rood. “We really liked the hook at 2.5, just because you don’t want it to land on the -3.”
Offshore books also made the move to -3 with one-sided action on the Buckeyes. Mike Pierce, and oddsmaker for Sportsbook.com says that 70 percent of their action has been on Ohio State.
The money on the total for the late Final Four game has leaned toward the under at about a 60/40 split. Books opened the number at 136.5 and moved to 137 earlier in the week before coming down to 135.5 as the weekend neared.