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Burke: Reading the conference tournament line moves (Mar. 4 edition)

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

March 4, 2022 10:40 AM
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There are a lot of teams that the average bettor doesn’t know about when it comes to conference tournaments, but the lines can be a helpful guide. Like I mentioned yesterday, respecting the line move is part of the process. There are some line moves in today’s conference tournament games that really stand out to me that either reaffirm something I’ve already talked about or showcase something new to discuss.

Missouri Valley Unders – As mentioned a few times already, Enterprise Center (formerly Scottrade Center) for “Arch Madness” is one of the premier under venues at this time of the year. All four totals have been bet down today. Both totals were bet down yesterday, as the games went 1-1 in totals, as Valparaiso had an out-of-body experience with 1.319 points per possession. Their previous high against a MVC opponent was 1.106, also against Evansville.

The sportsbooks may shade totals down a tad given what we know about the historic under trend in St. Louis, but they’re going to trust their numbers and put up what they’re supposed to put up based on those.

Lastly, while not a totals mention, notice the money coming in against Valpo today against Missouri State. The Bears were a popular futures pick in this conference, so there is a lot of love for this Missouri State team, but sharp bettors are fading yesterday’s offensive outlier for Valpo. Box score study is more important than ever with these games.

Fading Outliers – Along with the one I just mentioned with Valpo, there is another one that bettors are fading and that is Loyola Marymount against BYU. The Lions beat Pacific by 20 last night, scoring 1.202 points per possession, with a season-high 13 made 3s. Most notably, LMU held Pacific to .922 PPP, which was the first time since Jan. 17 that an opponent had fewer than 1.01 PPP against the Lions.

Off of an uncharacteristically good performance, along with stepping up in class against a far better BYU team, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to see the line go from -11 to -12. Keep an eye out for outliers like this because you can get ahead of some line moves and give yourself a good chance at cashing tickets.

Big South Totals – I wrote yesterday about how every game in the opening round of the Big South Conference Tournament flew over the total. All four games exceeded the closing total by 19 or more points. We’ve seen two totals get noticeably bet down, one get slightly bet down and one get bet up a little bit. What we saw on Wednesday with four games is not a significant sample size, but it at least put some seeds in my mind and it looks like I wasn’t alone, as maybe the books overadjusted a tad. We’ll see how today’s games go.

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