Happy Selection Sunday! Today, the weekend wraps up with five conference championship games in college hoops, plus nine NBA games and six NHL games. For extensive Sunday betting analysis and line move updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll also be joined by Jonathan Von Tobel, Will Hill and Thomas Gable at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
Until then, let's discuss where money is flowing for a trio of college hoops games today...
1 p.m. ET: VCU vs St. Bonaventure
This Atlantic 10 championship game features the two top seeds. VCU (19-6) enters as the 2-seed. The Rams beat 7-seed Dayton (73-68) in the quarterfinal and then took down 3-seed Davidson (64-52) in the semifinal. In both games, VCU won and covered as favorites (-4 and -1.5). Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure (15-4) enters the championship game as the 1-seed. The Bonnies cruised against 9-seed Duquesne (won 75-59 as a 7.5-point favorite) and then upset 4-seed Saint Louis (71-53) as a 2.5-point dog. This line opened with St. Bonaventure listed as a 2-point favorite. The public is jumping on VCU plus the points. However, despite this lopsided support the line has moved further toward St. Bonaventure (-2. to -2.5). Some shops are even up to -3. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the Bonnies, with pros fading the trendy dog and backing the contrarian favorite. Ken Pom has St. Bonaventure winning by two points. He also has the Bonnies ranked higher (28th vs 43rd). Bettors wary of laying multiple points might prefer to target the Bonnies on the moneyline (-150). These teams split their two regular season matchups, with St. Bonaventure winning 70-54 and VCU winning 67-64. The total is 128. Both teams have been great to the under this year (Bonnies 14-5 and Rams 16-9).
1 p.m. ET: LSU vs Alabama
This SEC championship matchup features bitter rivals looking to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. LSU (18-8) enters as the 3-seed and has beaten 6-seed Ole Miss (76-73) and then upset 2-seed Arkansas (78-71) as a 4-point dog to reach the final. Now they face powerhouse Alabama (23-6). The Crimson Tide are the 1-seed and have dismissed 9-seed Mississippi State (85-48) and 4-seed Tennessee (73-68) to get to this point. This line opened with Alabama listed as a 5.5-point favorite. The public is split and doesn't know whether to take the points or lay them. However, pros seem to be rolling with the Tide as we've seen the line tick up from Alabama -5.5 to -6. Some shops are even flirting with -6.5. Essentially all line movement and liability has been on the Bama side. Ken Pom has Alabama winning by four points, so there isn't much of an edge at the current number based on the advanced analytics. Ken Pom does have Alabama ranked much higher, though (8th vs 29th). One ex-factor to consider here: Alabama has had LSU's number this season. The Crimson Tide are 2-0 against the Tigers, blowing them out in both games 78-60 and 105-75.
3:30 p.m. ET: Ohio State vs Illinois
This Big Ten championship bout is the last game of Sunday's slate, which will make it the most heavily bet game of the day by far. Ohio State (21-8) enters as the 5-seed. The Buckeyes have taken down 13-seed Minnesota (79-75), 4-seed Purdue (87-78) and 1-seed Michigan (68-67) to reach the final. On the flip side, Illinois (22-6) is the 2-seed and has mowed down 7-seed Rutgers (90-68) and 3-seed Iowa (82-71). This line opened with Illinois listed as a 5-point favorite. The public is all over the Buckeyes and the points after they just took down top-seed Michigan. But wiseguys have gotten down hard on Illinois, driving the Illini from -5 to -5.5. Based on the juice movement, this line may even reach -6. Ken Pom has Illinois winning by four points, which means the sharps are a bit more bullish on Illinois than the advanced analytics. One big factor to consider here is fatigue. Ohio State has played a gauntlet of a schedule in the conference tournament and will be playing their fourth game in four days. Pros might be thinking the fatigue will finally catch up to them. These teams split their two matchups this season, with OSU winning 87-81 and Illinois winning 73-68. We've also seen some under money hit this matchup, dropping the total from 152 to 150.5.