Thursday March Madness Sharp Report

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I am coming to you LIVE from beautiful Las Vegas! 

My plane landed late last night, just as Notre Dame pulled off one of the most exhilarating First Four victories in recent memory. I had the whole plane rooting for the Irish (on the moneyline) and screamed so loud when they won that the flight attendant told me to quiet down. Safe to say the luck of the Irish was with Notre Dame backers last night.

I will be staying at the South Point until Sunday. Feel free to stop by or shoot me a direct message on Twitter if you'd like to sweat the NCAA Tournament together!

Today March Madness truly begins with the official opening Round of 64. For bettors, the next few days are as good as it gets. Remember to get your brackets in before they lock at noon ET!

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 earlier than usual in time for the first Madness games. I'll be joining The Lombardi Line LIVE in studio at the South Point at 1:30 p.m. ET. Then I'll be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 to 4 p.m. ET at the Mandalay Bay, followed by a trip to Circa for Rush Hour with Danny Burke at 6:15 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, let's discuss several March Madness games receiving sharp action from respected bettors today...

Best bets for every March Madness game

1:45 p.m. ET: Memphis vs Boise State

Memphis (21-10 SU, 15-15-1 ATS) enters as the 9-seed and just lost to Houston 71-53 in the AAC Championship game, failing to cover as 3.5-point dogs. On the flip side, Boise State (27-7 SU, 18-15 ATS) just upset San Diego State 53-52 in the Mountain West Championship game, winning outright as 2.5-point dogs. This line opened with Memphis listed as a 2-point favorite. Right off the bat, this opening line speaks volumes. Why is Memphis favored if Boise State is the better seed? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Pros have backed this "fishy" line and steamed Memphis up from -2 to -3. Ken Pom has Memphis winning by one point (68-67). We've also seen some respected money hit this over, steaming the total up from 132.5 to 133.5. 

 

9:20 p.m. ET: Vermont vs Arkansas

Vermont (28-5 SU, 19-12-1 ATS) enters as the 13-seed and just crushed UMBC 82-43 to win the America East championship, easily covering as 16-point favorites. Meanwhile, Arkansas (25-8 SU, 20-12-2 ATS) enters as the 4-seed and just fell to Texas A&M 82-64 in the SEC Tournament semifinals, losing outright as 6-point favorites. This line opened with Arkansas listed as a 5.5-point neutral court favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with powerhouse Arkansas over lowly Vermont. However, despite this lopsided betting we've seen the line fall from 5.5 to 5, signaling pro money grabbing the points with UVM. Both teams are averaging roughly 76 PPG on offense. The difference comes on defense, where Arkansas is allowing 69 PPG compared to UVM allowing 60 PPG. Ken Pom has Arkansas winning by four points (72-68), which provides actionable value to UVM at the current number. Pros have also leaned under in this one, dropping the total from 140 to 139. 

 

9:40 p.m. ET: San Francisco vs Murray State

San Francisco (24-9 SU, 14-17 ATS) enters as the 10-seed and just fell to Gonzaga 81-71 in the WCC Tournament but covered as 14.5-point dogs. On the flip side, Murray State (30-2 SU, 16-13-1 ATS) is the 7-seed and just edged Morehead State 71-67 to win the OVC championship but failed to cover as 8-point favorites. This line opened with San Francisco listed as a short 1-point favorite. We've seen this line flip to Murray State -2, signaling sharp "dog to favorite" line movement on the Racers. Essentially all late movement is trending their way. Murray State holds the edge on offense (79 PPG vs 77 PPG) and on defense (allowing 62 PPG vs 67 PPG). Ken Pom has San Francisco winning by one point (69-68), which means the betting market is more bullish on Murray State than the advanced analytics. 

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The Lombardi Line: Bookmakers love parleys, when playing them, you want a mix of favorites and underdogs.

Pro Football Blitz: When you back teams on the raod you want a good running team, when you back teams at home you want a good passing team. With teams on the road usually the underdog, you want a team that can control time of possession like the Tennessee Titans.

 

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Shaun King: Eagles -6.5 vs Jaguars

Brendan Gaughan: Brad Keselowski Top 3 +600

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Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings: 3 sets of numbers from Steve Makinen. GO HERE.

CFB Power Ratings: 3 sets of numbers from Steve Makinen. GO HERE.

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