Happy Friday! I am coming to you live from the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. This morning I will be speaking at the Sports Innovation Meetup to discuss the future of sports betting and all the exciting things we are doing at VSiN, specifically how we are setting ourselves apart in a competitive, growing market. If you happen to be at the Trop, stop by and say hello!
Earlier this week, we highlighted how neutral court unders during conference tournament play are a smart bet. Why? Because the unfamiliar rims, backboards and sight lines, along with an added emphasis on defense, lead to lower scorer games. As we get deeper into conference tournament play and teams start to play back-to-back games, this trend gets even better due to tired legs.
Last night we saw this edge turn a profit as neutral court unders went 5-3-1.
Here are the neutral court under matches for today
San Diego State-Boise State
Friday's action features 27 college basketball games, 10 NBA games and 6 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 Friday games across the college hardwood and ice receiving sharp action from respected pro bettors.
8 p.m. ET: Ball State (17-13) at Northern Illinois (18-12)
This MAC-tion showdown may not be the sexiest game of the night but pros have identified value. Both teams have won 3 of their last 4 with Ball State crushing Central Michigan their last time out 85-68 as 6.5-point favorites while Northern Illinois thrashed Toledo 71-50 as 1-point favorites. This line opened with Northern Illinois listed as a 2-point home favorite. Early smart money has down on road dog Ball State, which has juiced up the + 2 to -115. Some shops have even fallen down to 1.5 or even 1. This signals liability on the conference road dog. These teams met back on February 11 with Ball State winning 63-59. Ken Pom has Northern Illinois winning this game by one point (62-61).
9 p.m. ET: VCU (18-12) at Davidson (15-14)
Both of these Atlantic 10 rivals are riding losing skids and look to bounce back in their season finales. VCU has lost six of their last seven games, including a disappointing 80-77 loss to Duquesne their last time out as 5.5-point favorites. Davidson has lost two in a row, most recently falling to Richmond 80-63 as 5.5-point dogs. This line opened with Davidson listed as a 4-point home favorite. Despite a majority of bets laying the points with Steph Curry's alma-mater this line has remained frozen at 4 or even dipped to 3.5 at some shops. This sharp line freeze and reverse line movement signals pro money backing VCU at + 4. The Rams have value as a road conference dog. The last time these teams played VCU won 73-62 on Feb. 7. Ken Pom has Davidson winning by three points (70-67).
7 p.m. ET: St. Louis Blues (40-17-10) at New Jersey Devils (26-28-10)
You couldn't ask for a bigger mismatch. The defending champion Blues are the top seed in the West while the lowly Devils are the 6th-worst team in the NHL. St. Louis is + 31 in goals for vs goals against and the New Jersey is -42. This line opened with St. Louis listed as a -170 road favorite and smart money has quickly pushed the line up to -180. Non-division road favorites are 59% this year and 57% since 2005. Visiting favorites down the stretch (game 60 and beyond) who made the playoffs the previous year facing teams who missed the playoffs are 60% this year and 62% since 2005. Well-rested road favorites with 3 or 4 days off playing teams who missed the playoffs the previous year are 59% this year and 64% since 2005.