Wednesday College Hoops Sharp Report for the NIT

March 16, 2021 11:44 PM

The NCAA Tournament is still a day away, but luckily we finally have a pair of NIT matchups tonight to hold us over. We also have 10 NBA games and 6 NHL games on the docket. For an updated breakdown of Wednesday'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 co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET to go over all of today's action in greater depth.

In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for both of tonight's NIT games...

7 p.m. ET: Toledo vs Richmond

The NIT kicks off tonight with this first round matchup between 3-seed Toledo (21-8) and 2-seed Richmond (13-8). Toledo finished with the best regular record in the MAC but fell to Ohio 87-80 in the MAC tournament semifinals, losing straight up as 3-point favorites. Meanwhile, Richmond finished in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10 regular season standings and suffered an early exit in the conference tournament, falling to Duquesne 67-62 and losing straight up as 3.5-point favorites. Richmond really struggled down the stretch, losing their final three games. This line opened with Richmond listed as a 1.5-point favorite. The public is backing Richmond as the higher seed laying a short number. However, we've seen big steam hit Toledo, flipping the Rockets from + 1.5 to -2. Some shops are even at -2.5. This signals a notable "dog to favorite" line move on Toledo. One big factor here is a pair of injuries to Richmond's two best players. Guard Blake Francis (16.1 PPG) and Grant Golden (12.7 PPG) are questionable with injuries and based on the move, it looks like sharps don't expect them to play. Ken Pom has Toledo winning this game by one point. He also has Toledo ranked slightly higher (62 vs 65). Bettors wary of laying multiple points could also target Toledo on the moneyline (roughly -135). Toledo will lean on the prolific offense in this one. The Rockets are averaging 81.6 PPG, which ranks them in the top 20 in the country. 

9 p.m. ET: Western Kentucky vs Saint Mary's

This second game of Wednesday's NIT twin bill features 3-seed Western Kentucky (20-7) against 2-seed Saint Mary's (14-9). Western Kentucky finished with the best regular season record in the Conference USA East division. The Hilltoppers reached the Conference USA title game but lost an overtime heartbreaker to North Texas 61-57, losing outright as 2-point favorites. Meanwhile, Saint Mary's finished the regular season in the bottom half of the WCC and lost to Gonzaga 78-55 in the conference tournament semifinals, failing to cover as 18.5-point dogs. This line opened with Saint Mary's listed as a short 2-point favorite. The public is split and doesn't know whether to take the points or lay them. At times some shops have fallen from 2 to 1.5. But every time it falls to 1.5 it gets scooped up by Saint Mary's -1.5 backers and rises back to 2. This will be a great opportunity to monitor late movement to see where respected money breaks on game day. If you see this line creep up to -2.5 that will signal further confidence in Saint Mary's. Ken Pom has Saint Mary's winning by two, which is right on the number. He also has Saint Mary's ranked much higher (75th vs 94th). If you like Saint Mary's you may want to target them on the moneyline (roughly -130) instead of laying the points in a tight game. This is a contrast in styles as Western Kentucky has the more potent offense (73.1 PPG vs 64.1 PPG) while Saint Mary's plays better defense (62.3 PPG allowed by 67.9 PPG). 

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