It's Fade the Public Friday and bettors have a loaded slate of sweats to choose from as we wrap up the work week and head into the weekend. With the NBA on hiatus due to the All-Star Break, college basketball (40 plus games) and NHL (6 games) take center stage today. For an updated breakdown of Friday's action, including the top line moves, systems plays and sharp contrarian bets, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I will also be filling in for Michael Lombardi today on The Lombardi Line. Join Patrick Meagher and myself from noon-2 p.m. as we break down today's action.
In the meantime, let's discuss a trio of Friday college hoops matchups receiving notable line movement...
8 p.m. ET: UAB at North Texas
This Conference USA showdown features two of the top teams in the West division. UAB (19-6) is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 96-79 blowout loss to UTSA in which the Blazers lost outright as 4-point road favorites. Prior to the loss, UAB had won three of four and nine of their last twelve. Now they hit the road to face North Texas (13-7) who is also coming off a loss, falling to Marshall 73-72, although the Mean Green managed to cover as 2.5-point road dogs. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for North Texas. This line opened with North Texas listed as a 6.5-point home favorite. The public is all over the Mean Green at home, yet we've seen this line fall from 6.5 to 5.5. This sharp reverse line movement indicates respected money leaning UAB plus the points. UAB has buy-low value as a short contrarian conference road dog off a blowout. One advantage for UAB here: they rank 15th in the country in forcing turnovers. North Texas is one of the worst teams in the country at turning the ball over (276th). Ken Pom has North Texas winning by seven points, which means the market is a bit higher on UAB than the advanced analytics.
8:30 p.m. ET: Arkansas Little Rock vs Appalachian State
This is the first round of the Sun Belt conference tournament. Little Rock (11-14) enters as the 5th seed out of the West. Little Rock won their regular season finale over Louisiana 69-59 as a home pick'em play. The win snapped a horrendous seven game losing skid for the Trojans. Meanwhile, Appalachian State (13-11) enters as the 4th seed out of the East and also struggled down the stretch. After starting the season 12-5, App State went just 1-6 the rest of the way. App State fell to Georgia Southern 65-57 in their last game, failing to cover as 2.5-point road dogs. This line opened at a true pick'em. Respected money has poured in on App State, pushing the Mountaineers to a 2-point favorite. This game will be played at a neutral site (Hartsell Arena in Pensacola, Florida). App State will look to lean on their smothering defense in this one. Both teams are averaging roughly 70 PPG on offense, but App State is only giving up 64 PPG on defense compared to Little Rock allowing 69 PPG. Ken Pom has Little Rock winning by one point, but he has both teams virtually dead even in the rankings (Little Rock 224th, App State 230th).
9 p.m. ET: Colorado State at Nevada
This late night Mountain West matchup features two teams trending in opposite directions. Colorado State (17-4) is riding a five-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Nevada (14-9) has lost two straight, both of which came at the hands of Utah State. This line opened at a pick'em on Nevada's home court. Right off the bat, this opening line speaks volumes. Typically, oddsmakers will award at least a point or two for home court advantage, even in this COVID year with little to no fans in the stands. So the fact this line is a pick'em on Nevada's home court means Colorado State would likely be favored on a neutral court. The public is split and doesn't know who to back. But sharp money has sided with Colorado State as this line has moved to Rams -1. Ken Pom has Colorado State winning this game by two points, which provides some actionable value. He also has the Rams ranked much higher (60th vs 98th). The Rams hold an edge on both sides of the floor, averaging 76 PPG (Nevada 73 PPG) and giving up 65 PPG (Nevada 68 PPG).
More Friday Moves
Evansville + 5.5 to + 5 vs Indiana State
Western Carolina -2 to -2.5 vs Citadel
Buffalo -5 to -5.5 vs Kent State
Miami FL -2.5 to -3.5 vs Boston College
Ball State + 10.5 to + 8.5 at Toledo
Cal Irvine -8.5 to -9.5 at Long Beach State
Wake Forest + 9.5 to + 9 vs Georgia Tech
Cal Poly SLO + 21 to + 19.5 at Cal Santa Barbara
Old Dominion + 7.5 to + 7 at Western Kentucky
Tarleton State + 6 to + 5 at UT Rio Grande Valley
Cal State Fullerton + 2.5 to + 2 at UC San Diego
Seattle + 4.5 to + 4 at California Baptist
Texas Arlington -5 to -6 vs Troy
Valparaiso + 7.5 to + 7 vs Missouri State