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Thursday Sweet 16 Sharp Report

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Today March Madness resumes with four Sweet 16 matchups. Bettors also have 5 NBA games and 10 NHL games to choose from today. 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 by 3 p.m. ET. I'll be joining the Lombardi Line at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update and then co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Rush Hour with Danny Burke at 6:15 p.m. ET to offer an update on the late games.

In the meantime, let's discuss a trio of March Madness games receiving sharp action from respected bettors tonight...

 

7:09 p.m. ET: Arkansas vs Gonzaga

This is the Sweet 16 clash in the West Region. Arkansas (27-8 SU, 20-14-1 ATS) is the 4-seed, having beaten 13-seed Vermont 75-71 but failing to cover as 5-point favorites and then edging 12-seed New Mexico State 53-48 but failing to cover as 6.5-point favorites. Meanwhile, Gonzaga (28-3 SU, 15-15-1 ATS) is the 1-seed and has beaten 16-seed Georgia Southern 93-72, failing to cover as 22.5-point favorites and then escaped with an 82-78 win over 9-seed Memphis but failed to cover as 9.5-point favorites. This line opened with Gonzaga listed as an 8.5-point favorite. The public wants to sweat the top-seeded Zags but is wary of laying the big number, especially with the Zags failing to cover in both of their March Madness games thus far. However, despite a relatively split ticket count, we've seen Gonzaga grow from -8.5 to -9.5, indicating wiseguy action laying the points with the Zags. Gonzaga will lean on their offensive advantage (88 PPG vs 76 PPG). Ken Pom has Gonzaga winning by ten points (82-72). Gonzaga is the favorite to cut down the nets at +230 (BetMGM). Arkansas is +5000. Drew Timme is the favorite to win Tournament Most Outstanding Player at +350.

 

9:39 p.m. ET: Texas Tech vs Duke

This is the Sweet 16 matchup in the West Region. Texas Tech (27-9 SU, 22-14 ATS) is the 3-seed, beating 14-seed Montana State 97-62 in the first round, covering as 15-point favorites, and then edging 11-seed Notre Dame 59-53 but failing to cover as 8-point favorites. Meanwhile, Duke (30-6 SU, 18-15-3 ATS) is the 2-seed, beating 15-seed Cal State Fullerton 78-61 in the opener but failing to cover as 18.5-point favorites and then dismissing 7-seed Michigan State 85-76 and covering as 6.5-point favorites. This line opened at roughly a pick'em. Love them or hate them, the public is all over Duke in Coach K's final hurrah. However, despite this lopsided betting we've seen the line move to Texas Tech -1. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the Red Raiders, who have value as a contrarian favorite and "Fade the Trendy dog" play. Ken Pom has Texas Tech winning this game by one point (69-68). The Red Raiders boast the top adjusted defense in the country. Texas Tech is +1600 to win the Big Dance. Duke is +1400.

 

9:59 p.m. ET: Houston vs Arizona

This is the Sweet 16 showdown in the South Region. Houston (31-5 SU, 24-12 ATS) is the 5-seed and has beaten 12-seed UAB 82-68, covering as 8.5-point favorites and then edging 4-seed Illinois 68-53, covering as 3.5-point favorites. On the flip side, Arizona (33-3 SU, 19-15-2 ATS) is the 1-seed, beating 16-seed Wright State 87-70, failing to cover as 21.5-point favorites, and then squeaking by 9-seed TCU 85-80 but failing to cover as 10-point favorites. This line opened with Arizona listed as a 2-point favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the short chalk with higher-seed Wildcats. However, this line has fallen from 2 to 1.5, indicating pro money grabbing the points with contrarian dog Houston. Ken Pom has Houston winning the game by one point (74-73). Houston will lean on its smothering defense, giving up just 59 PPG compared to 68 PPG allowed for Arizona. Houston is +1000 to win March Madness. Arizona is +500.

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