The public got off to a hot start in March Madness, with favorites going 13-7 ATS and overs 13-7 to the Tournament. Contrarian bettors and sportsbooks finally got the regression they were looking for on Friday, as dogs bounced back with a 10-6 ATS showing and unders also 10-6.
One trend that has emerged thus far: teams with line movement in their favor of at least a half point (like 5 to 4.5 or -5 to -5.5) have gone 20-10 ATS (67%). The market is so efficient this time of year as the oddsmakers have so much data to go off and set sharp numbers. So if a line moves, it's caused by wiseguy money. Thus far, following line moves has been highly profitable.
I will be co-hosting Betting Across America with Femi Abebefe from 12-3 p.m. ET. Tune in for updated line moves and further Saturday betting analysis.
In the meantime, let's discuss several March Madness games receiving sharp action from respected bettors today...
6:10 p.m. ET: Richmond vs Providence
This is the Midwest region second round. Richmond (24-12 SU, 17-18-1 ATS) is the 12-seed and just pulled off a big upset in the opening round, taking down Iowa 67-63 as 9.5-point dogs. Meanwhile, Providence (26-5 SU, 18-13 ATS) is the 4-seed and just took care of business against South Dakota State, winning 66-57 and covering as 2.5-point favorites. This line opened with Providence listed as a 3-point favorite. The public is happy to lay the short chalk with the far better seeded Friars, yet we've seen this line remain frozen at 3 or even inch down to 2.5 at some shops, signaling pro money grabbing the points with underdog Richmond. Ken Pom has Providence winning by three points (70-67).
7:45 p.m. ET: Saint Peter's vs Murray State
This is the East Region second round. Saint Peter's (20-11 SU, 22-9 ATS) is the 15-seed and just pulled off the biggest upset of March Madness, shocking Kentucky 85-79 and winning outright as 18.5-point dogs. On the other hand, Murray State (31-2) is the 7-seed and just beat San Francisco 92-87, covering as 2.5-point favorites. This line opened with Murray State listed as an 8-point favorite. Pros have laid the points, steaming Murray State up from -8 to -8.5 or even -9 at some shops. Ken Pom has Murray State winning by eight points (68-60). He has Murray State ranked 29th and Saint Peter's 108th). Both teams give up roughly 62 PPG on defense. The difference comes on offense where Murray State averages 79 PPG compared to 67 PPG for Saint Peter's.
9:40 p.m. ET: Memphis vs Gonzaga
This is the West Region second round. Memphis (22-10) is the 9-seed and just beat Boise State 64-53 in the Round of 64, covering as 3.5-point favorites. Now they face the overall 1-seed Gonzaga (27-3), who just beat Georgia State 93-72 but failed to cover as 22.5-point favorites. This line opened with Gonzaga listed as a 10.5-point favorite. Wiseguys grabbed the hook with Memphis 10.5, causing the line to drop down to 10. Ken Pom has Gonzaga winning by twelve points, which means the market is more bullish on the Memphis than the advanced analytics.