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Market Insights: As Dance approaches, don't forget NBA

March 3, 2020 11:32 PM

With conference tournaments officially underway and March Madness right around the corner, a lot of attention is being shifted to college hoops. However, this doesn't mean bettors should abandon other sports, specifically the NBA. In fact, the regular-season stretch run is a great time to capitalize on one of the season's most profitable trends: Overs. 

It has been a surprisingly awesome year for betting overs in the NBA. Historically, betting overs has been a losing strategy. Why? Because the public is psychologically biased toward overs due to the fact that they want to root for points and watch an entertaining, high-scoring game. However, the oddsmakers know this and will shade lines to the over, forcing public bettors to take overpriced numbers. 

Since 2005, the over has hit at a 49.8% clip in the NBA according to Bet Labs Sports. However, it has been a big loser overall due to the fact that bettors need to pay the juice. This year, the over is cashing at a 52.4% clip, which is 2.6% higher than its historical average. Blindly betting every over has actual been slightly profitable overall this season (remember, you need to win 52.38% of your over/under bets in order to break even assuming standard -110 juice).

The key though, is focusing on non-division overs (53.4% this season). Unders perform better in division games due to the built in familiarity. The real gem is non-conference overs in which the total either stays the same or rises (56.7%). 

Another key is focusing on totals that are 230 or less in which the line rises at least a half-point. Those overs are 56.4% this season. If you can also add some "over" referees, that's even better. 


Wednesday's action features 49 college basketball games, 9 NBA games and 4 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, let's turn our attention to a trio of Wednesday games across the college hardwood receiving sharp action from respected pro bettors.

6:30 p.m. ET: Xavier (19-10) at Providence (17-12)

This early evening Big East showdown pits two desperate teams on the bubble for the Big Dance. Both teams are riding win streaks as Xavier has won two straight while Providence has won four straight. Providence is also coming off a huge 58-54 win over Villanova as 7.5-point dogs. This line opened with Providence listed as a 5-point home favorite. The public is split and doesn't know who to take. However, we've seen this line drop slightly down to 4.5. In a vacuum, a line shouldn't move at all if the tickets are split, so this drop signals smart money grabbing Xavier + 5. The Musketeers have value as a road conference dog. Xavier also beat Providence 64-58 back on Feb. 8. Ken Pom has Providence winning by three points (66-63). 

7 p.m. ET: Minnesota (13-15) at Indiana (18-11)

Public bettors love backing favorites, home teams and teams with better won-loss records than their opponents. The Hoosiers check off all the boxes in this Big Ten clash. Minnesota has struggled as of late, dropping two in a row and seven of their last ten, however the Gophers did cover as 5.5-point dogs in a 71-69 loss to Wisconsin their last time out. Indiana has also lost two in a row, most recently falling to Illinois 67-66 as 5.5-point dogs. Indiana opened as 3.5-point home favorites. More than eight-out-of-10 bets are rushing to the window to lay the points with the Hoosiers. However, despite this lopsided support, the line has remained frozen at 3.5. This signals some sharp liability on the road team. Minnesota has value as a contrarian conference road dog in a heavily bet game. Ken Pom has Indiana winning by two points (68-66). This is also a revenge spot for Minnesota who lost to Indiana 68-56 back on Feb. 19. 

7 p.m. ET: LSU (20-9) at Arkansas (18-11)

Casual bettors aren't sure to back in this SEC matchup. LSU enters with a slightly better record, but Arkansas is a short favorite on its home court, which is always appealing to the public. However, pros seem to be leaning on the road dog. This line opened with Arkansas listed as a 2.5-point home favorite. Some books, however, opened at Arkansas -3 and quickly fell to -2.5, signaling a quick adjustment toward the Tigers. LSU has performed far better in conference play, going 11-5 while Arkansas is just 6-10. Ken Pom projects Arkansas winning by two points (79-77). LSU has value as a conference road dog. Also, unlike the Big Ten where favorites have done well straight up and ATS, dogs have been a profitable bet in the SEC going 64-50 ATS (56%). LSU edged Arkansas 79-77 back on Jan. 8. 

Remember: the betting market is fluid and changes as sharp action comes in. Be sure to monitor the latest odds via our FREE VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page.

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