As we detailed in yesterday's newsletter, big public nights like Monday are often followed by a big bounce back and regression to the mean (or the house). That's exactly what we saw play out last night across college basketball. In three of the four most heavily bet Tuesday games, contrarian bettors and books came out on top.
Just under two-thirds of bets laid the points with Michigan State (opened -1.5 and closed -2.5). The Spartans won by the skin of their teeth 70-69, but the Fighting Illini covered the spread. Next up, more than two-thirds of bets backed North Carolina (opened -1 and closed -2). The Tar Heels got trounced by Wake Forest 74-57. In one of the most lopsided games of the night, Dayton took care of business against Rhode Island 81-67. Only one-third of bets were brave enough to fade the trendy dog and lay the points with Dayton (-10 to -10.5).
The lone heavily bet public play to cover was Penn State upsetting Purdue 88-76. Two thirds of bets took the points with the Nittany Lions. Sharp action pushed the Boilermakers from -4.5 to -5.5 to no avail.
Wednesday's action features 11 NBA games, 51 college basketball games and 3 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.
We are entering the stretch run to March Madness. Let's dive into several college hoops games on Wednesday receiving early smart money.
6:30 p.m ET: Creighton (18-6, ranked 23rd) at Seton Hall (18-5, ranked 10th)
This early Big East grudge match features a pair of ranked teams with impressive records. In matchups between ranked teams, the public almost always leans on the higher ranked team, especially if they are a favorite at home. This game is no different. Seton Hall opened as a 6-point home favorite. Two thirds of early bets are laying the points with the Pirates, especially coming off their impressive 70-64 win over Villanova on the road as 4-point dogs. However, despite this lopsided support, the line has remained frozen at 6 and the juice is actually trending toward Creighton (+ 6 at -115), signaling a possible fall down to 5.5. Creighton has value as a contrarian conference road dog in a heavily bet game.
7 p.m. ET: Kansas (20-3, ranked 3rd) at West Virginia (18-5, ranked 14th)
Two Big 12 behemoths go head-to-head in the marquee and most heavily bet game of the night. Both teams are ranked but Kansas has a better record, betting ranking and is riding an eight game win streak. West Virginia is in a classic buy low spot coming off 69-59 loss to Oklahoma as 2.5-point favorites. This line opened with Kansas listed as a short 1-point road favorite. Sharps smell a rat. If Kansas is the superior team, why is the line so low? Despite a majority of bets backing Kansas, the line has dropped to a pick'em or even flipped to West Virginia -1, signaling sharp money backing the Mountaineers at home. This is a revenge spot for WVU, which lost to Kansas 60-53 on Jan. 4 but covered as a 10-point road dog. The total is set at 132.5. Both teams are 16-7 to the under this season.
8:30 p.m. ET: Providence (13-11) at St. John's (13-11)
This Big East showdown pits two unranked teams with identical records. However, a closer look shows that Providence is 6-5 in conference play while Saint John's is just 2-9. The Johnnies are struggling as of late, having lost three straight and six of their last seven. This line opened with Providence listed as a short 1-point road favorite. Wiseguys immediately got down on the Friars, pushing the line up to Providence -1.5 or -2 depending on the book. Providence also has buy-low value as a "bad" ATS team (10-13-1) against a "good" ATS team (13-9-2). These two teams met on January 15 with Providence winning 63-58. One big blow to St. John's: star Mustapha Heron (13.8 PPG) has been ruled out with an ankle injury and is likely out for the season.
More Wednesday Sharp Action
Xavier-Butler Over 128 to 129.5
Georgia Tech + 6.5 to + 6 vs Louisville
Alabama-Auburn Over 155 to 157
Illinois State + 15 to + 14.5 at Northern Iowa
Omaha-Oral Roberts Under 158 to 156.5
East Carolina + 12.5 to + 11.5 at Tulsa
Canisius-Niagara Under 142.5 to 140.5
La Salle + 5 to + 4.5 vs Richmond
Iowa State-Oklahoma Under 145.5 to 144.5
SMU-Connecticut Over 134 to 136
Fresno State -6 to -7.5 at San Jose State