Today, we have another juicy betting menu filled with 40- plus college basketball games, 6 NBA games and 10 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 12:30 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining The Lombardi Line with Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher at 1:45 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss a few college hoops matchups tonight receiving sharp action from respected bettors.
7 p.m. ET: Iowa at Michigan
This Big Ten showdown between Final Four hopefuls is the marquee matchup of the night. Iowa (17-6, ranked 9th) is riding a four-game winning streak, beating Rutgers, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State along the way (and covering in three of those four matchups). Now they head on the road to face powerhouse Michigan (17-6, ranked 3rd), who is a perfect 3-0 since returning from their COVID pause. Michigan just took down Ohio State 92-87, covering as a 1.5-point road favorite. This line opened with Michigan listed as either a 3.5-point or 4-point home favorite. The public sees two great teams and says give me the points with Iowa. However, sharps have gotten down hard on Michigan, which has pushed this line up to -4.5 across the market. The Wolverines have value as a contrarian favorite with a "fade the trendy dog" reverse line move. Ken Pom has Michigan winning by three points. If you're wary of laying the points, Michigan is roughly -180 on the moneyline. Big Ten home favorites in conference play are 56-18 (76%) straight up this season. We've also seen some under money drop this total from 156.5 to 155.5. Michigan is a perfect 11-0 at home. Iowa is 5-3 on the road.
8 p.m. ET: UCLA at Utah
This Pac 12 matchup features two teams trending in opposite directions. UCLA (16-5) has won three straight, beating Washington, Arizona and Arizona State. On the flip side, Utah (9-10) has lost three in a row, falling to Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon. This line opened at a true pick'em. Respected money has pounced on the road team, which has pushed UCLA from a pick'em to -1. Some shops are inching toward Bruins -1.5. Ken Pom has UCLA winning by one point, so bettors might be looking at UCLA on the moneyline instead of laying a point or more. You'd hate to lay a -1 and push if UCLA wins by one, or lay -1.5 and lose if UCLA wins by one. Ken Pom has UCLA ranked much higher (44th vs 82nd). Both teams are allowing 67 points per game. The difference may come on offense, where UCLA is averaging 73 PPG while Utah is at 69 PPG. These teams met back on December 31st and UCLA won 72-70. We've also seen some over money hit this game, driving the total up from 135.5 to 136.5.
9 p.m. ET: Ohio State at Michigan State
Bettors are in for a treat with this late night Big Ten grudge match. Ohio State (18-5, ranked 4th) just had their seven-game win streak snapped over the weekend when they fell to Michigan 92-87, failing to cover as 1.5-point home dogs. On the flip side, Michigan State (12-9) is coming off a huge upset win over Illinois 81-72, winning outright as a 7-point home dog. This line opened with Ohio State listed as a 4.5-point road favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with the Buckeyes in a "get right" spot against an inferior opponent. However, despite this lopsided support we've seen the line fall from 4.5 to 4, which signals some sharp reverse line movement toward the Spartans. Michigan State is contrarian in a heavily bet, nationally televised game and also has buy-low value as an unranked home conference dog vs a ranked opponent. Over the past decade, conference dogs off a win against a top-5 opponent have covered at roughly a 55% clip. The Spartans also have value as a "bad" ATS team (6-15) against a "good" ATS team (14-8-1). Ken Pom has Ohio State winning by seven points, which means the advanced analytics and betting market are in a bit of a disagreement on this one. Pros have hammered this under, dropping the total from 148.5 to 146.
More Thursday Moves
Portland State + 2.5 to + 2 at Northern Colorado
Murray State -2 to -3 at Jacksonville State
Austin Peay -7 to -8 at Tennessee Tech
Northwestern + 5 to + 4.5 at Minnesota
Boise State + 7 to + 6.5 at San Diego State
Sacramento State + 7 to + 6 vs Weber State
Western Kentucky + 12 to + 11 at Houston
Tennessee State + 13 to + 11 at Morehead State
Nebraska + 17 to + 16 at Illinois
San Francisco + 11 to + 10 at BYU
Youngstown State -4.5 to -5.5 vs Illinois Chicago
Eastern Illinois -4.5 to -5.5 vs SE Missouri State
IPFW-Green Bay Under 147.5 to 145
Montana-Idaho State Under 129 to 127
Buffalo-Central Michigan Over 159.5 to 161.5