Market Insights: Stakes high on big Saturday hoops slate

March 7, 2020 12:28 AM

Welcome to the final Saturday of the college basketball regular season. Today, we have a stacked slate with 89 games from which to choose, including dozens of high-stakes, regular-season finales combined with a litany of mid-major conference tournaments. A week from tomorrow is Selection Sunday. The long wait is almost over.

Today also marks Week 5 of the XFL. We are officially at the halfway point of the 10-week regular season (followed by two weeks of postseason play in mid to late April).

Here is an updated XFL futures breakdown at Circa Sports

Houston Roughnecks + 120

St. Louis Battlehawks + 300

DC Defenders + 700

Dallas Renegades + 750

Tampa Bay Vipers + 1150

Los Angeles Wildcats + 2500

New York Guardians + 3000

Seattle Dragons + 7500

As you can see, it's turning into a two-way race between the Roughnecks and Battlehawks with the rest of the league in the rear view mirror. 

Here are the notable line moves for this weekend's games

  • New York Guardians (2-2) move from + 8 to + 7 at Dallas Renegades (2-2)
  • St. Louis Battlehawks (3-1) move from -3.5 to -5.5 at DC Defenders (2-2)
  • Los Angeles Wildcats (1-3) move from -1.5 to -2 vs Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3), over moves up from 40 to 41
  • Unders are 11-5 through the first four weeks

For more sports betting analysis and updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 9-11 a.m. ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be breaking down all the latest moves and sharp betting angles leading up to today's games. 

Until then, let's discuss a trio of Saturday college hoops games receiving sharp action.

1 p.m. ET: Kentucky (24-6, ranked 6th) at Florida (19-11)

This SEC showdown marks the regular-season finale for both clubs and a possible conference tournament matchup preview. The Wildcats are coming off a disappointing 81-73 loss to Tennessee as 7.5-point favorites, which ended an 8-game winning streak. Gambler's Fallacy says the mighty Cats are due to bounce back with a big win over Florida. After all, they have a far-better record and a top-10 rating while the Gators are unranked. But if Kentucky is the better team, why did the oddsmakers open this line with Florida listed as a 2.5-point home favorite? If it looks too good to be true, it almost always is. Despite more than two-thirds of bets rushing to the window to grab Kentucky and the points, this line has actually ticked up to Gators -3. This signals sharp reverse line movement on a rare contrarian favorite in a heavily bet game. Wiseguys are backing Florida and fading the trendy dog. Ken Pom has Florida winning this game by four points (70-66). 

4 p.m. ET: Louisville (24-6, ranked 10th) at Virginia (22-7, ranked 22nd)

The public is split and doesn't know who to back in this ACC clash. On the one hand, Louisville has the slightly better record and higher ranking. However, Virginia has won seven straight and is now a home favorite laying a super-short spread, which is always an attractive proposition for casual bettors. This line opened with Virginia listed as a 1-point favorite. Despite tickets being split down the middle, we've seen this line fall to a true pick'em at several shops, signaling pros grabbing road dog Louisville at + 1. The Cardinals have value as a conference road dog. Ken Pom has Louisville winning the game by one point (56-55). Ken Pom has Louisville ranked as the 9th best team in the country while Virginia is 44th. We've also seen some smart money hit the over, pushing the line up from 113 to 114. Virginia is a notorious "under" team (60% under Tony Bennett). However, when the total is 115 or less the over is 57% since 2005. 

6 p.m. ET: Oklahoma (18-12) at TCU (16-14)

Normally the public would take one look at the won-loss records of these Big 12 opponents and quickly side with the slightly better Sooners. However, TCU is at home and just covered against Kansas (+ 16.5, lost 75-66) after upsetting Baylor 75-72 as 9-point dogs the game before. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is coming off a disappointing 52-51 loss to Texas 7-point favorites. This provides sharps a buy-low, sell-high spot to back the Sooners and bet against the Horned Frogs. This line opened with TCU listed as a 1-point home favorite. Despite two-thirds of bets backing TCU the line has dropped to a pick'em at several books, signaling pro money getting down on the Sooners. Ken Pom has Oklahoma winning by one point (67-66). Ken Pom ranks Oklahoma as the 37th team in the country and TCU 80th. These teams met on Jan. 18 with the Sooners rolling 83-63. 

Remember: the betting market is fluid and changes as sharp action comes in. Be sure to monitor the latest odds via our FREE VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page.

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