Where the action is: Early NCAA tournament line moves

Mar 18, 2013 |
NCAA tournament odds are just over 24 hours old and business is beginning to pick up for sportsbooks both online and in Las Vegas.

While the majority of the March Madness money will come in on game days, sharp action has already pushed some of the spreads and totals around for this week’s tournament action. We talk to books about the most notable adjustments.

Big Ten boom

The Big Ten Conference has drawn the most attention from NCAA bettors in the first day of wagering. No. 5 Wisconsin has moved from -4.5 to -5.5 for its matchup with No. 12 Mississippi in a contest of contrasting styles.

According to Dave Mason of BetOnline.ag, this is the most bet-on game of the tournament at his book. The Badgers’ slow-motion offense is also winning over total bettors, rather than the Rebels’ high-scoring attack, with the total dropping to 127.5 points.

No. 3 Michigan State is also drawing sharp money for its second-round matchup with No. 14 Valparaiso in the Midwest Regional. The Spartans were as big as 11-point favorites after opening as low as -10. No. 2 Ohio State is another Big Ten member gaining popularity with bettors, sitting as 13.5-point chalk versus No. 15 Iona in the West Regional.

VCU very popular

The VCU Rams were a Cinderella a few seasons ago but have now moved into the role of sleeper contender, tagged as a No. 5 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. Books opened the Rams as 5.5-point favorites over No. 12 Akron and sharp money ran that spread as high as -7.

“I think value bettors will take Akron at +7 as that’s a  lot of points in a game that has an expected total of 138,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with Carbonsports.ag, told Covers.

Getting down on Davidson

It was pretty quiet in Las Vegas Monday morning, with books expecting a packed house come Thursday and Friday. But sharp money was hanging around a few teams, like No. 14 Davidson out of the Southern Conference.

The Wildcats moved from +4 to +3 at the MGM Mirage for their opening game against No. 3 Marquette in the East Regional. Davidson is no stranger to major conference programs, having tangled with New Mexico, Gonzaga and Duke this season.

Go-to Gators

The No. 3 seed Florida Gators aren't scaring away bettors with their hefty spread versus No. 14 Northwestern State in the South Regional. Florida opened as low as -19 but has since been bet up to -20.5, with sharp and public action gladly giving the points.

"Sharp money activity spared no time in chiming in, betting some early coin on a couple of second-round games," an oddsmaker for BetDSI.com told Covers. "The betting patterns are interesting with the state of Florida and the Big Ten getting early love from our in-house sharp contingency."

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