Market Insights: College basketball begins home stretch

We've officially entered the home stretch of the college basketball regular season. Most teams only have three games left on their schedule. Next up are conference tournaments. Then, in just 16 short days, we have Selection Sunday and the opening round of the Big Dance. 

Here are the updated odds to cut down the nets at Circa Sports

Kansas + 650

Gonzaga, Duke + 850

Baylor + 900

Dayton + 1500

Seton Hall + 1700

San Diego State, Louisville + 1800

Michigan State + 2000

Kentucky + 2200

Ohio State, Arizona, Auburn, Maryland, Oregon, Villanova, West Virginia + 2500

Florida State, Texas Tech + 3000

Creighton + 4000

Michigan + 4500

Ken Pomeroy has Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga as his top three teams, which is right in line with their futures odds. Duke seems to be slightly overvalued by the market as Ken Pom has the Blue Devils 5th overall but they are tied for the second-best odds. Another overvalued team is Kentucky, which Ken Pom rates as his 27th-best team but the Wildcats have the eighth-best odds. 

San Diego State presents excellent futures value as the Aztecs are rated as Ken Pom's fourth-best team but are tied for the sixth-best odds. Another team offering value is Michigan. Ken Pom has the Wolverines as the ninth-best team in the country but their odds are just 12th-best overall. If you're looking for a flyer, BYU is + 10000 but Ken Pom has the Cougars as the 15th-best team in the country. 

Thursday’s action features a whopping 60 college basketball games, 4 NBA games and 10 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.

Now let's examine four games across the college hardwood and the ice that are taking in smart money from pro bettors. 

College Hoops

7 p.m. ET: Indiana (18-9) at Purdue (14-14)

This Big Ten showdown is currently the most heavily bet game on a jam-packed slate. Both teams are trending in opposite directions. Indiana has won two straight and three of its last four, most recently beating Penn State 68-60 as a 1-point favorite. Meanwhile, Purdue has dropped four straight, including a 71-63 loss to Michigan as a 4-point favorite. This line opened with Purdue listed as a 7-point home favorite. Pros and Joes are in agreement and both think this line is too high. The line hasn't fallen yet, but the juice is trending toward Indiana with some books listing the Hoosiers + 7 at -115, signaling a possible drop to 6.5. Indiana has value as conference road dog. Ken Pom has Purdue winning this game by 5 points (67-62). This is a revenge spot for Indiana, who lost to Purdue 74-62 on their home court back on Feb. 8. 

11 p.m. ET: Arizona State (19-8) at UCLA (17-11)

This late-night Pac-12 showdown features two red-hot teams going head-to-head. Arizona State has won seven straight while UCLA has won five in a row. UCLA is coming off a massive upset win over Colorado 70-63 at 10-point dogs. This line opened with UCLA listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. Despite a slight majority of bets laying the points with the streaking Bruins, we've seen this line either stay the same or fall to 3 at some shops. This sharp line freeze and reverse line movement signals wiseguy money siding with the road conference dog at + 3.5. The last time these teams played Arizona State crushed UCLA 84-66 back on February 6. Ken Pom has UCLA winning this game by 1 point (71-70). 

NHL

8 p.m. ET: Washington Capitals (39-18-6) at Winnipeg Jets (32-27-6)

The Capitals hold a distinct advantage in several key statistical categories. Washington is + 29 in goals for vs goals against while Winnipeg is just + 1. The Caps are also the best road team in the NHL (21-9-2). The Jets are a mediocre 16-14-3 at home. This line opened with Washington listed as a moderate -140 road favorite and the line is creeping up to -150. Non-division road favorites are 112-76 (60%) this season. If they are also coming off a win they improve to 73-41 (64%). The Caps just beat the Jets are home 4-3 two days ago. We've also seen some smart money hit the over. It opened at 6.5 and the juice is -120 to the over, signaling liability on a seven-goal game or more.

10:30 p.m. ET: New Jersey Devils (25-27-10) at San Jose Sharks (26-33-4)

This late night non-conference matchup is being largely overlooked because it features two cellar-dwelling teams. But sharps have immediately located an edge. The Devils are playing well as of late and have won three games in a row. Meanwhile, the Sharks have traded away several players and have lost five straight. New Jersey is -40 in goals for vs goals against while San Jose is -47. the line opened with San Jose listed as a -150 home favorite and New Jersey a + 135 dog. We've seen the line fall to Sharks -140 and Devils + 130, signaling pro money siding with the road dog. Because this game is so obscure, it's safe to assume that only pros are betting it. As a result, the line move to New Jersey is indicative of true smart money. Non-conference road dogs are 123-151 (45%) this season but have profited roughly + 14 units due to the plus money dog payouts.

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