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Market Insights: Neutral-court under angle worth a shot

March 10, 2020 01:05 AM

At the start of college hoops conference tournament play, we highlighted how neutral courts provide a sneaky sharp edge to betting unders. This is due to an added emphasis on defense and, more important, unfamiliar surroundings that hurt offensive timing and production, including unknown backboards, rims and sight lines. Last night, we saw this trend absolutely crush it with neutral court unders going 8-1. 

BYU-Saint Mary's Under 148.5 — Win

Wisconsin Green Bay-Northern Kentucky Under 151 — Win

North Dakota-Purdue Fort Wayne Under 142 — Win

Gonzaga-San Francisco Under 151.5 — Loss

Northeastern-Elon Under 132.5 — Win

East Tennessee State-Wofford Under 130.5 — Win

Wright State-Illinois Chicago Under Under 147.5 — Win

North Dakota State-Oral Roberts Under 148 — Win

Hofstra-Delaware Under 147 — Win

Neutral court conference tourney unders are now 22-14 (61%). 

As the big conference tournaments get going starting today, this trend will be at the forefront of bettors minds over the next six days leading up to Selection Sunday. 

Here are the matches for today

Niagara-Marist

Iona-Canisius

Virginia Tech-North Carolina

Fairfield-Manhattan

Wake Forest-Pittsburgh

Howard-South Carolina State

Maryland Eastern Shore-Delaware State

The key is to not only target neutral courts but also incorporate an element of tired legs, which leads to more front-rimming of shots, a slower pace and fewer possessions. If both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back, the under is 55% since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports. This trend went 3-0 on Monday night.

Last night, we also saw another team win its conference tournament and punch its ticket to the Big Dance (East Tennessee State). Here are the teams that are already going dancing along with their Ken Pom rating. 

Southern- East Tennessee State (55th)

Ohio Valley- Belmont (108th)

Mountain West- Utah State (42nd)

Missouri Valley- Bradley (107th)

Big South- Winthrop (139th)

Atlantic Sun- Liberty (79th)

Utah State grabbed headlines by beating San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game. But keep an eye out for East Tennessee State (30-4) as a possible cinderella. It ranks inside the top 70 in both adjusted offense and defense, according to Ken Pom's advanced analytics. 

Tuesday's action features 14 college basketball games, 9 NBA games and 8 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 discuss a trio of Tuesday games receiving sharp action from respected pro bettors.

College Hoops

7 p.m. ET: North Carolina (13-18) vs. Virginia Tech (16-15)

This ACC Tournament First Round matchup takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum, home of the UNC-Greensboro Spartans, thus providing the in-state Tar Heels a "home-court" advantage. The Tar Heels have been incredibly disappointing this year, but have turned it on late, winning three of their last four games. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech started an impressive 14-5, but went just 2-10 the rest of the way. Nevertheless, Virginia Tech has a better overall record and enters as an No. 11 seed while UNC is a No. 14 seed. So you have to go Hokies, right? This line opened with North Carolina listed as a 2.5-point favorite. Sharps immediately crushed the Tar Heels, pushing the line up to -3.5. This is a revenge spot for UNC, who lost to VaTech 79-77 on Jan. 22. 

10 p.m. ET: Marist (7-22) vs. Niagara (11-20)

Of all the conference tournament games on tap tonight, this MAAC first-round matchup might be the least attractive. But pros don't care if a game is popular or not. If they identify an edge, they get down hard. Both teams have awful sub-.500 records. Niagara is the lesser of the two evils with a slightly better record. Marist has lost four in a row and seven of its last eight. However, this line opened at just Niagara -1. Wiseguys crushed Marist + 1, dropping the line down to a pick'em at most shops. These teams met two weeks ago with Marist rolling 76-54. This game will be played at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. 

NHL

7 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Penguins (39-23-6) at New Jersey Devils (28-28-12)

Talk about a mismatch. The Penguins own the seventh-best record in the NHL while the Devils own the seenth-worst. Pittsburgh is + 25 in goals for vs goals against. New Jersey is -38. This line opened with Pittsburgh listed as a heavy -170 road favorite. Pros aren't scare off by the high number and have quickly hammered the Pens up to -180. This is also a buy low, sell high spot with the Pens riding a two-game losing skid and the Devils winning two in a row. Road favorites are 57% since 2005. Late-season favorites who made the playoffs the previous year facing team who missed the playoffs are 64% since 2005. 

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