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Sharp money showing on Friday night underdogs

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

March 24, 2017 05:01 PM
Nigel Hayes leads Wisconsin, a 1-point 'dog, against Florida on Friday night in New York.

A day after two Big Ten teams bit the dust, Nigel Hayes and Wisconsin will try to keep the conference alive in the NCAA Tournament.

The Badgers are 1-point underdogs to Florida in the late East Region semifinal at Madison Square Garden in New York. The line has dropped a point at the South Point, where sports book director Chris Andrews said sharp money is showing on all of Friday’s ‘dogs.

“The sharps are on Wisconsin, and there’s definitely sharp money on Butler,” Andrews said.

In the first game in the East, South Carolina is a 3-point underdog to Baylor. The line was sitting at 3½ most of the week.

Hayes’ late layup helped the Badgers knock out top-seeded Villanova to reach the Sweet 16. Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks to an upset of Duke to throw the East bracket out of whack.

North Carolina is a 6½-point favorite over Butler in the night’s first tip at 4:05 p.m. The Bulldogs were getting 7½ points 24 hours ago.

The late game in Memphis pits Kentucky against UCLA, which is a 1-point favorite. The total is 167. It’s a rematch of a December game in Lexington won by the Bruins and freshman point guard Lonzo Ball.

“The public is all over UCLA,” Andrews said, “but the sharp money has been on Kentucky."

Michigan and Purdue were eliminated Thursday as the Big Ten took a big hit. The Wolverines fell to Oregon 69-68 in a pick’em game. After taking an early eight-point lead, Purdue collapsed in a blowout loss to Kansas, a 5½-point favorite. The Jayhawks were heavily supported by the betting public, so the books took a loss on the game.

In Saturday’s matchups in the Elite Eight, Kansas is a 6½-point favorite over Oregon in Kansas City, and Gonzaga is an 8½-point favorite over Xavier in San Jose, Calif.

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