Today, March Madness continues with more Round of 64 action. Bettors also have 5 NBA games and 13 NHL games on the Saturday docket. For extensive Saturday betting analysis, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and updating the top lines moves and late sharp action across all the major sports. We'll also be joined by Thomas Gable at The Borgata in Atlantic City.
In the meantime, let's discuss four college hoops games today receiving notable sharp action...
7:10 p.m. ET: Maryland vs Connecticut
This East Region matchup pits 10-seed Maryland (16-13) against 7-seed Connecticut (15-7). Maryland beat Michigan State 68-57 in the 2nd round of the Big Ten tournament before falling to Michigan 79-66 in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Connecticut crushed DePaul 94-60 in the Big East quarterfinals then lost a nail-biter to Creighton 59-56 in the semifinals. This line opened with Connecticut listed as a 2-point favorite. The public is right down the middle and doesn't know whether to take the points or lay them. But sharp money has sided with the Huskies, pushing UConn from -2 to -3. Ken Pom has UConn winning by two points. As a result, bettors interested in backing the Huskies may prefer a moneyline play instead of the spread. Ken Pom has UConn ranked 16th compared to Maryland 31st. The Huskies will look to dominate on the boards in this one. UConn is 60th in the country in rebounding while Maryland is 303rd.
7:15 p.m. ET: Ohio vs Virginia
This West Region showdown features 13-seed Ohio (16-7) against 4-seed Virginia (18-6). Ohio is humming right now, having dominated their conference tournament and won the MAC championship as a 5-seed. On the other hand, Virginia barely beat Syracuse 72-69 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals and then had to exit the tournament early due to COVID concerns. This line opened with Virginia listed as a 10-point favorite. Pros have steamed the underdog Bobcats from start to finish, forcing oddsmakers to drop this line from 10 to 7. Ken Pom has Virginia winning by seven points, which is now right on the number. This is a massive contrast in styles, as Ohio is offensive minded and averaging 81 PPG (17th most in the country) while Virginia is defensive minded, giving up only 61 PPG (6th-best in the country).
9:50 p.m. ET: Abilene Christian vs Texas
This East Region matchup features 14-seed Abilene Christian (23-4) against 3-seed Texas (19-7). Abilene Christian is 12-1 over their last 13 games and just blitzed through their conference tournament with ease, winning the Southland championship. Now they face powerhouse Texas, who just beat Oklahoma State 91-86 in the conference championship game to win their first Big 12 title since 1995. This line opened with Texas listed as a 9-point favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with Texas, expecting an easy blowout win and cover. However, despite this lopsided support we've actually seen the line fall from 9 to 8.5. This sharp reverse line movement signals pro money grabbing Abilene Christian and the points. Ken Pom has Texas winning by eight points, which provides actionable value on Abilene Christian plus the hook. Abilene Christian is the 7th best defensive team in the country giving up only 60.5 PPG. The Wildcats also share the ball, ranking 5th in the country in assists per game (18.2).
9:57 p.m. ET: VCU vs Oregon
This West Region showdown pits 10-seed VCU (19-7) against 7-seed Oregon (20-6). VCU made the Atlantic 10 conference championship game but fell to St. Bonaventure 74-65. Meanwhile, Oregon suffered a quick exit in the Pac-12 tournament, falling to Oregon State 75-64 in the semifinals. This line opened with Oregon listed as a 6-point favorite. The public is split down the middle and doesn't know whether to take the points or lay them. In a vacuum, a line shouldn't move at all if the ticket count is even. However, we've seen this line dip from 6 to 5.5. Some shops are even down to 5. This signals some respected money buying low on underdog VCU. Ken Pom has Oregon winning by just one point, which provides a massive edge to VCU at the current number. VCU will lean on their elite defense in this one. The Rams are 11th in the country in forcing turnovers.
More Saturday Moves
Missouri + 2 to + 1 vs Oklahoma
Eastern Washington + 11.5 to + 10.5 vs Kansas
Cal Santa Barbara-Creighton Under 140.5 to 137.5
Iona-Alabama Over 145 to 147
Drake-USC Under 138.5 to 136.5
BYU -3.5 to -4 vs UCLA
Colorado -5 to -6 vs Georgetown