Sports bettors should always be conscious of not only what games are being played each day but, more important, how many. Take today, for example. We don't have any NBA games to bet on because of the All-Star Break. There isn't any XFL football until tomorrow. And there are only four NHL games (but the public doesn't bet hockey). With so few betting options across the board, where will action-thirsty casual bettors go?
Friday night college hoops, of course.
However, with only 14 college basketball games today, many of which are small conference Ivy League or MAAC matchups, Average Joes will flood the market and get down on matchups they know very little about (think Columbia-Dartmouth and Rider-Siena). They will lean solely on who has the better won-loss record, who is at home at who is favored. This creates a perfect storm for value-minded wiseguys to capitalize on small-school matchups with higher than usual ticket counts and elevated contrarian value.
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.
Until then, let's discuss a handful of Friday college hoops games receiving sharp action.
7 p.m. ET: Brown (11-8) at Pennsylvania (12-7)
On paper, this Ivy League showdown looks like a toss-up between two evenly matched teams. However, public perception is uneven, which creates value for savvy pro bettors. Brown is a putrid 6-11-1 ATSA while Penn is an impressive 12-6. As a result, public bettors lean Penn (especially because they're at home) because they've cashed plenty of tickets while Brown has cashed very few. This creates a buy-low, sell-high opportunity to back Brown. The line opened with Penn listed as a 7-point home favorite. Despite two-thirds of bets laying the points, this line has dropped to 6.5, signaling pro money backing brown at 7 and causing reverse line movement in their favor. Brown has value as a road conference dog in a rivalry game.
7 p.m. ET: Quinnipiac (11-11) at Saint Peter's (11-11)
This MAAC showdown features two teams with identical records. However, they are trending in opposite directions. Quinnipiac has lost three in a row while Saint Peter's has won five of their last six. This creates a classic buy low opportunity to back struggling but undervalued Quinnipiac. This line opened with Saint Peter's listed as a 7-point home favorite. Pros immediately pounced on Quinnipiac 7, which has dropped the line down to 6.5 or even 6 at some shops. Quinnipiac has value as a road conference dog with a line move in their favor. This is also a revenge spot for Quinnipiac, who lost to Saint Peter's 71-51 on January 18.
7 p.m. ET: Fairfield (9-14) at Marist (6-15)
In a matchup between two MAAC teams with awful records, conventional wisdom says take the team with the slightly better record, especially if they're a dog getting points. However, a closer look shows Fairfield losing two of their last three while Marist has won two of their last three. This line opened with Marist listed as a short 2.5-point home favorite. Wiseguys have gotten down on Marist, pushing the line up to 3. We've also seen pros target the over. The total opened at a super low 115 and has quickly been bet up to 116. When the total is 120 or lower and rises at least 1 point, the over is 15-8 (65%) this year and 55% since 2005.
More sharp action
IUPUI-Northern Kentucky Under 148 to 147.5
Cornell-Harvard Under 139 to 138
Denver-South Dakota State Under 148.5 to 147.5
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