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Sharp Action Report for College Hoops (2-21)

February 21, 2021 05:20 AM

Happy Sunday! Today the weekend wraps up with another loaded betting slate filled with 30-plus college basketball games, 8 NBA games and 4 NHL games. For extensive betting analysis and line move updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m. ET to noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll also be joined by William Hill, Jonathan Von Tobel and Thomas Gable.

Until then, let's discuss where money is flowing for several college hoops games today...

1 p.m. ET: Cincinnati at Houston

This American Conference matchup features two teams trending in opposite directions. Cincinnati (7-7) started the season 3-7 but has since gone a perfect 4-0 after returning from their COVID pause. On the flip side, Houston (17-3, ranked 6th) raced out to a 15-1 start but has gone just 2-2 since, losing to a pair of unranked teams in East Carolina and, most recently, Wichita State. This line opened with Houston listed as a hefty 14-point home favorite. The public sees a highly ranked Houston club at home and has no issue laying the big points in what feels like it could be a "get right" spot for Houston and a blowout win. However, despite a majority of bets backing Houston, we've seen the Cougars fall from + 14 to + 13. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the red-hot road dog, with respected money grabbing Cincinnati plus the points. The Bearcats are contrarian in a heavily bet game and also have value as an unranked double-digit road conference dog vs a ranked opponent. This is also the ultimate buy-low, sell-high situation with Cincinnati a "bad" ATS team (3-11) against a "good" ATS Houston squad (14-6). Ken Pom has Houston winning by 14 points, which is right on the number. 

3 p.m. ET: Maryland at Rutgers

Both of these Big Ten opponents are looking to finish their regular season schedules on a high note and carry some momentum into the conference tournament. Maryland (13-10) is riding a three-game winning streak, beating Minnesota and then Nebraska twice. Now they travel on the road to play Rutgers (12-8), who has lost two of its last three, although both losses came against powerhouses Michigan and Iowa. This line opened with Rutgers listed as a 4-point home favorite. Right off the bat, this line speaks volumes. Maryland is riding a winning streak while Rutgers has lost two of three, yet Rutgers is favored in this by 4-points? The public says give me the points in what should be closer to a pick'em game, yet we've seen this line move further toward Rutgers (-4 to -4.5). This signals respected money laying the points with the Scarlet Knights. Big Ten home favorites have crushed it straight up in conference play this season, going 54-17 (76%). Rutgers is -190 on the moneyline. These teams played back on December 14th and Rutgers crushed the Terps 74-60 in Maryland. Ken Pom has Rutgers winning by four points. Maryland is 3-5 on the road this season and Rutgers is 9-3 at home. 

5 p.m. ET: Penn State at Iowa

These Big Ten rivals have been polar opposites as of late, which may create a buy-low, sell-high situation. Penn State (7-11) has dropped three in a row and just lost to Ohio State 92-82, failing to cover as 5-point home dogs. Conversely, Iowa (16-6, ranked 11th) has won three straight, beating all three of their opponents with ease (Rutgers, Michigan State and Wisconsin). This line opened with Iowa listed as an 11.5-point home favorite. The public is absolutely pounding the Hawkeyes expecting an easy blowout win and cover. However, despite this lopsided support we've seen the line drop slightly from 11.5 to 11. This signals some pro money buying low on the Nittany Lions plus the points. Penn State has value as an unranked road conference dog vs a ranked opponent. Penn State is also getting double digits in a big contrarian spot in a heavily bet game. Ken Pom has Iowa winning this game by 11-points, which means the hook could be valuable. 

7 p.m. ET: Wisconsin at Northwestern

These Big Ten foes have fallen on hard times as of late. Wisconsin (15-8, ranked 21st), started the season 10-2 but has gone just 5-6 since. The Badgers have lost two in a row and three of their last four. They just got waxed by Iowa 77-62 their last time out, losing outright as 1.5-point home favorites. Similarly, Northwestern (6-13) started the season 6-1 but has completely fallen off the map and lost 12-straight. However, the Cats still seem to battle as evidenced by their 73-66 loss to powerhouse Illinois last weekend, where they fought hard and covered as 13.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Wisconsin listed as a 6.5-point road favorite. The public knows Wisconsin has struggled lately but they see the putrid record of Northwestern and are running to the window to lay the points. However, despite this lopsided support we've seen the line remain frozen at 6.5 or flirt with a drop down to 6 based on the juice liability. Northwestern has value as an unranked contrarian home conference dog against a ranked opponent. Ken Pom has Wisconsin winning by four, which means Northwestern getting the hook (+ 6.5) has actionable value. 

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