Kentucky is the biggest Final Four favorite in a long time, but that might not be enough to scare bettors away from the dominating Wildcats.
Kentucky has settled as an 8.5-point favorite in Saturday’s semifinal against instate rival Louisville. That’s the biggest pointspread in a Final Four game since Duke was favored by 11 over Michigan State in the 1999 national semifinal.BetOnline.com
first opened Kentucky as 9.5-point favorites shortly after the Wildcats jumped out to a 20-point halftime lead against Baylor. The number was quickly bet down to 8.5, where the Wynn, Lucky’s and the LVH SuperBook opened the game in Las Vegas. The offshore book 5dimes.com briefly had Kentucky -7.5, but was offering -9 as of Sunday night.
“We had different opinions on the number,” said Jay Kornegay, director of the LVH SuperBook. “We respect Kentucky, but that’s a lot of points. It’s a little unusual for a Final Four game.”
Kornegay briefly moved the Wildcats up to 9-point favorites Sunday, but said it was quickly brought back down to 8.5, where it sat as of 5 p.m. Vegas time.
In the other national semifinal, Ohio State is a short favorite over Kansas. The Buckeyes opened up at -3 offshore, but the number had been bet down to -2.5 at most shops by Sunday night.
The biggest movement came on the totals for each seminal. Kornegay posted 134.5 for the Kansas-Ohio State over/under, but immediately received what he called “significant money” on the over. The SuperBook was already up to 136.5 within an hour of opening.
The total on Louisville-Kentucky also was on the rise at the LVH. It opened at 137.5 but had moved up to 138.5.
“That may be just be them (sharp bettors) getting the number early, figuring the public is going to push the number up even more,” said Kornegay.
Both games are rematches from earlier in the season. As 10-point favorites, Kentucky failed to cover in a 69-62 home win over Louisville win on Dec. 31. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 24 points and 19 rebounds in a physical game that featured 52 fouls.
Kansas knocked off Ohio State, 78-67, on Dec. 10, in Lawrence. The Jayhawks started as small home dogs, but shortly before the game Buckeye big man Jared Sullinger was ruled out, and Kansas ended up closing as 1.5-point favorite.Updated odds to win NCAA tournament
(courtesy of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook, as of Monday morning)