After a couple of days of letting the market settle, we take a look at what has occurred thus far for the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament, relative to where the lines are moving concerning side action.
Of the First Four games, only the Wednesday Boise State and LaSalle matchup has tempted the basketball bettor’s taste buds. With the Charles Barkley singing the praises of the Mountain West Conference being better than the Big Ten, the Broncos have gone from a Pick to -1.5 over the Explorers. Of course Barkley had nothing to do with the number moving, more the fact Boise State is from the better league and the Broncos are on a 9-2 ATS spurt and shoot the ball well against an undersized mediocre defensive club.
Favorites which are Blowing Up
There are two teams the betting public cannot get enough of at the moment, Virginia Commonwealth and Wisconsin. Jay Bilas absolutely loves VCU and has the Rams in his Final Four bracket. His claim of, “This VCU team might be better than the one that went to the Final 4 two years ago.” is debatable on many levels, but Shaka Smart’s club takes on a Akron team that won MAC, but had to bring in sports psychologists to help them understand that losing your point guard because he allegedly liked to process the whacky weed and was suspended after being arrested, was not the end of their season. With the Zips now starting a freshman point guard, bettors are sensing a VCU feeding frenzy and jettisoned the spread two points to -7.5.
The only possible correlation one could make between a Bo Ryan-coached team and Marshall Henderson leading Ole Miss was the dual at the Rose Bowl between marching bands to start the year, when the nattily-attired Wisconsin band was on the field, followed by the eccentric group from Stanford. Basketball bettors are counting on Ryan’s crew to squeeze the life of Henderson and the Rebels and moved them from -3.5 to -6. If those betting this contest are correct, they will be watching to see if Henderson goes ballistic from frustration or if the always fun Mike Bruesewitz would “borrow” Henderson’s move of the open hand outstretched to the head.
Big Ten Attracting Attention
Besides the Badgers, several of Big Ten tourney teams are shifting in different directions. Michigan State might be only 3-4 and 2-5 ATS in their last seven outings, but their tournament history is rock solid and they were lifted from -9.5 to -11, before setting at -10.5. Valparaiso can shoot the orange (48.9 percent), but the Spartans are 8-1 ATS in away games versus teams converting 48 or more percent of their shot attempts.
In a bit of a surprise, Illinois has been beefed up from a Pick to -1.5 over Colorado. Why this seems questionable is the Fighting Illini shoot the ball consistently worse than the Buffalos and their defensive numbers are not as good either. But according to the Sagarin Ratings, Illinois is 0.8 points better, mostly based on a tougher schedule (6th vs. 29th).
Michigan is 2-10 ATS in their last dozen tries and is considered prime bait for a South Dakota State squad lacking foot speed. The Wolverines opened at -12 and fell to -11, with over the 70 percent of wagers placed on the Jackrabbits.
Big East drawing a mostly negative vibe
In the usually entertaining 8 vs.9 matchups, Pittsburgh has in some circles been thought as a “giant killer” against Gonzaga in Round 3, however, not everyone is convinced they will even beat Wichita State and been dumped from -5.5 to -4.5.
It was not that many years ago Florida Gulf Coast was a junior college and now that are garnering enough respect to be taken down from -12 to -11 against mighty Georgetown.
Notre Dame would appear to have matchup issues with Iowa State’s long distance offense, yet the Irish have blossomed from a Pick to -1.5 against the Cyclones, despite Iowa State being 8-1 ATS facing teams which average six or less steals contest.
In the battle of B’s, Butler has been bounced from -4.5 to -3.5 against Bucknell, with the Bison having the best player on the floor in 6-11 Mike Muscala.
St. Louis is 21-10 ATS this season yet has fallen from -10 to -9.0 against WAC champion New Mexico State with their immense frontline.
Enough hoops bettors are questioning Duke’s emotional commitment and lowered them from -19 to -17.5 vs. Albany.
Finally, Creighton is one of the best shooting teams in the country, while Cincinnati cannot throw the ball into the water while in a row boat, which is the lead reason why the Bluejays have flown from -1.5 to -3.