The sports betting calendar can fluctuate on a day-to-day basis in terms of which sports are in session and which days are littered with action. When it comes to college hoops, especially right now after football is over, Thursdays and Saturdays take the cake in terms of the sheer number of games to choose from.
One way to get a leg up on the competition on days loaded with action is to pay extra close attention to overnight line movement. If the slate is small, it's easy to spot where early smart money is going. However, if you have a slate loaded with 60 or 100 or 150 games, you can often spot "true" smart money on obscure games that are flying under the radar, simply because only pros are betting the Bethune Cookman spread or the Houston Baptist-Kennesaw State under the night before.
Of course, late movement right before tip-off is always most meaningful because that's when the limits are highest. But by focusing on early movement, particularly for obscure games, you can identify lines that might be off and have been quickly targeted by sharps.
Remember, pros never sleep. And many of them have their own models and set their own lines. They sit in the weeds like a snake and pounce on soft opening numbers the night before if they identify an edge. For example, let's say Drexel opens as a 3-point favorite at home against Elon. Sharps check their internal numbers and have Drexel as a 4.5-point favorite. So what do they do? They immediately get down hard on the opening number of -3. By the time the public wakes up the following morning, the entire market is at -4 or -4.5 and the value is gone. Maybe Drexel ends up winning by 4, in which case the overnight sharps cash and the late public backers push or lose. This is a big reason why pros and pros and the public is the public. It's not just about picking the right side. It's about getting the best number.
Thursday's action features 5 NBA games, 12 NHL games and 62 college basketball games. Be sure to listen to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum for a comprehensive betting breakdown of the entire board. The podcast will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Lets discuss a few Thursday games receiving overnight sharp action.
7 p.m. ET: Oakland (8-15) at Northern Kentucky (16-7)
One look at the won-loss records for both clubs and it's hard not to think this one ends in a blowout win for the home team. Oakland is just 3-11 in their last 14 games while Northern Kentucky is 7-1 over their last eight. Oddsmakers opened this Horizon League matchup with Northern Kentucky listed as an 11.5-point home favorite. Sharps immediately pounced on Oakland at + 11.5, dropping the line down to 10.5. Ken Pom has Northern Kentucky winning by 10. Oakland has value as a double digit road conference dog with reverse line movement. Despite their poor record, Oakland is 11-10-1 ATS and 7-3-1 ATS on the road.
7 p.m. ET: Connecticut (11-10 at Tulsa (15-6)
These American Conference rivals are trending in opposite directions. UConn is 1-5 in their last six games while Tulsa has won six straight. These teams met on January 26 with Tulsa winning 79-75 as a 5.5-point road dog. Both teams are 13-8 ATS on the season. This line opened with Tulsa listed as a 4.5-point home favorite. Pros have rushed to the window to grab the points with UConn, dropping the line down to 3.5 or even 3 at some books. We've also seen smart money target the over, pushing it up from 128 to 128.5. Both of these teams have been big under teams, with Tulsa 16-5 to the under and UConn 13-8 to the under. This creates a buy-low opportunity to bet a deflated contrarian over.
10 p.m. ET: Stanford (16-5) at Utah (12-9)
This late Pac-12 showdown isn't on the public radar yet, but sharps have targeted it from the get go. Stanford has a superior record and just snapped a 3-game losing skid with an impressive 70-60 win over then 11th-ranked Oregon. Meanwhile, Utah has dropped two straight and six of their last eight. So why did oddsmakers open this game with Stanford listed as only a short 1-point road favorite? Pros smell a rat. If it looks too good to be true, there is a reason for it. Wiseguys immediately jumped on the Utes + 1, dropping the line to a pick'em or even Utah -1.
More overnight sharp action
Cal State Bakersfield + 7.5 to + 7 at California Baptist
UT Rio Grande Valley + 5 to + 4.5 at Missouri KC
UL Lafayette + 5 to + 4.5 vs Georgia State
Pepperdine -1.5 to -2.5 vs Santa Clara
Detroit + 13.5 to + 12.5 at Wright State
The betting market is fluid. Be sure to monitor the latest lines with our free VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page.