Markets Insights: NBA system could provide boost in time for Big Dance

March 9, 2020 12:25 AM

The final regular-season weekend of college basketball is officially in the books. From here on out, it's all postseason play, starting with conference tournaments and then leading into the Big Dance, NIT and CBI. We'll be covering March Madness every step of the way, but we also want to keep an eye out for other profitable systems that can boost our bankroll. In this case, the NBA.

Yesterday, we saw the Lakers upset the Clippers 112-103 as 2.5-point dogs. The important takeaway, however, was the total. It opened at 227.5, closed at 226.5 and landed on 115, easily cashing the under. Historically, when two elite teams go head-to-head the under has been a smart bet. This is likely due to an added emphasis on defense, a more competitive effort and also a heavier-than-usual public bias toward betting the other between two great teams. 

When two teams with 60% win percentages or higher face off the under is 974-797 (55%) since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports. If the total falls by at least one point (a sign of sharp action), the elite team under improves to 57%. 

The trend is even better if the elite teams come from the same division. This is due to built in familiarity. Each team knows what to expect from the other, specifically when it comes to game planning and defending. When two elite teams face off from the same division, the under is 195-135 (59%) since 2005. 

Monday's action features a whopping 13 college basketball games, 3 NBA games and 4 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 Monday games receiving sharp action from respected pro bettors.

NBA

7:30 p.m. ET: Charlotte Hornets (22-41) at Atlanta Hawks (19-46)

This isn't the most attractive game on the docket but sharps have identified an edge. Both teams are well out of playoff contention and have their eyes on a top draft pick. The public doesn't know which way to go. On the one hand, Charlotte has the slightly better record and is coming off a big upset win over Houston 108-99 as a 8-point dog. On the other hand, Atlanta enjoys home-court advantage and crushed Charlotte the last time they played (122-107). This line opened with Atlanta listed as a 4-point home favorite. Pros immediately hit the Hawks -4, which has moved the line up to -4.5. Atlanta has value as a favorite off a blowout loss 10-points or more (54% ATS this season).

College Hoops

11:30 p.m. ET: Saint Mary's (25-7) vs BYU (24-7, ranked 15th)

This is the West Coast Conference tournament semifinal. Third-seeded Saint Mary's is coming off a thrilling 89-82 double OT win over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals on Saturday. BYU is riding a 9-game winning streak and is coming off a bye. The Cougars are well-rested and haven't played since February 29. This line had different openers across the board. Some books opened BYU as a 4-point favorite while others opened at -4.5. This signals a difference of opinion but also some liability to the road dog, with some books reluctant to hand out the hook. Two-thirds of bets are laying the points with BYU, which gives Saint Mary's elevated contrarian value in the night's most heavily bet game. Saint Mary's also has value as a bad ATS team (14-17) against a good ATS team (BYU 19-11). These teams have played twice this year, with BYU winning 81-79 on February 1 and St. Mary's winning 87-84 on January 9. Ken Pom has BYU winning by four points (76-72). 

NHL

7 p.m. ET: Washington Capitals (41-20-7) at Buffalo Sabres (29-31-8)

This Eastern Conference showdown features two teams trending in opposite directions. The Caps own the 4th-best record in the NHL and are poised for another Cup run. Meanwhile, the Sabres have lost six straight games and own the sixth-worst record in the league. Washington is + 26 in goals for vs goals against. Buffalo is -23. This line opened with Washington listed as a -165 favorite and the line is quickly creeping up to -170. The Caps match several profitable systems. They are a non-division road favorite coming off of a win (62% this year and 58% since 2005). The Caps are also a late season favorite who made the playoffs the previous year playing a team that missed the playoffs (57% this year and 64% since 2005). The last time these teams played back on Nov. 1 the Caps won 6-1. 

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