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Market Insights: Heavy favorites clean up for public

February 17, 2020 01:14 AM

After a big college hoops Saturday in which sportsbooks, sharps and contrarians cleaned up, we saw the public bounce back in a big way on Sunday. Of the four most heavily bet and most lopsided games, the popular favorites covered in each one.  

-In the most popular game of the day, San Diego State rolled over Boise State 72-55, easily covering as 5.5-point road favorites. Roughly three-out-of-four bets laid the points with the Aztecs.

-In the second most lopsided game of the day, Villanova took care of business against Temple 76-56. Just under 75% of bets took Nova laying 6.5-points. 

-In the third most lopsided game of the day, Oregon destroyed Utah 80-62. More than two-thirds of bets took the Ducks -12.5. 

-Michigan destroyed Indiana 89-65. Nearly two thirds of bets laid the points with Wolverines -8.5

Sharps were able to post a few wins, though. 

-California lost to Arizona State 80-75 but covered as 6-point dogs. Only one-out-of-four bets took Cal plus the points. 

-East Carolina received sharp reverse line movement + 11 to + 9.5 against Cincinnati and lost 70-67 but covered. 

-Boston College upset NC State 71-68. Only one-third of bets took BC plus the points (+ 4.5 to + 4).

In the NBA All-Star game, Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 157-155 but failed to cover the spread. Nearly two-thirds of bets laid the points with Team LeBron, who moved from -5 to -6.5. Team Giannis came up big for contrarians who were brave enough to back the unpopular side and savvy enough to capitalize on an inflated line in a super heavily bet public game.

Pros and Joes were both able to cash the over. It opened at 298.5, closed 305.5 and landed on 312. Kawhi Leonard (30-points, 8-14 from three) took home the MVP honors. 

Monday's action features 14 college basketball games and 5 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.

Let's analyze two of Monday's biggest college hoops games receiving smart money.

6:30 p.m. ET: Xavier (16-9) at St. John's (14-11)


This Big East showdown is currently the most heavily bet and most lopsided game on Monday night, providing excellent contrarian value to bet against the public. St. John's started the year with an impressive 11-2 record but have gone just 3-9 since. The Red Storm are also just 3-9 in conference and just lost leading scoring Mustapha Heron to a season-ending ankle injury. Meanwhile, Xavier has a better record and has won three of their last four games. This line opened with Xavier listed as a short 1.5-point road favorite. The public can't believe this line is so low. More than three-out-of-four bets are laying the points with the Musketeers, yet this line has remained frozen at 1.5. Normally such heavy betting would push a line up to -2 or -3. The fact that is hasn't moved signals liability on the home conference dog Red Storm. Ken Pom has St. John's winning this game by 1-point. 

We've also seen heavy smart money hit the over, pushing the total up from 139.5 to 140.5. Both teams are profitable to the under this season (Xavier 15-9-1, SJ 17-8), creating a buy-low opportunity to go the other way and sweat a contrarian over with shaded or deflated line. 

7 p.m. ET: North Carolina (10-15) at Notre Dame (15-10)


The public is down on North Carolina and who can blame them? UNC is dead last in the ACC and just 3-11 in conference games. The Tar Heels have lost five straight and now must travel to Notre Dame to face an Irish squad with a far better record. This line opened with Notre Dame listed as a 4-point home favorite. Despite two thirds of bets laying the points with the Irish, this line has fallen down to 3.5 or even 3 at some shops. This sharp reverse line movement signals pros buying low on the struggling Tarheels at + 4, which dropped the line in their favor. UNC has value as a road conference dog and also a "bad" ATS team (9-16) against a "good" ATS team (Notre Dame 15-10). These two teams met in the season opener with North Carolina winning 76-65. 

Remember: the betting market is fluid and subject to change as more action comes in. Be sure to visit our free VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page for the latest lines

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