Line makers tell the score for opening NCAA games

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    There is this person I’ve known for years, who has a regular full-time teaching job at a smaller university who is essentially a semi-professional gambler. Kendall used to bet with bookies, but once betting on the internet became an option, he moved that direction and has stayed there. His method of betting college basketball couldn’t be any more simplistic; he watches games and breaks down the line.

    By breaking the line, this refers the side and total of a contest to see what the outcome should be. For example here is what the line makers are saying about the outcome of the first eight games of the NCAA Tournament. The numbers are from Bookmaker.com and because of how they fall, we can’t land exactly on the correct number and get as close as possible.

    Villanova -18, 147.5 – Projected score Villanova 83-65
    Richmond -2, 134.5 – Projected score Richmond 68-66
    Baylor -10.5, 150 – Projected score Baylor 80-70
    Notre Dame -2.5, 121.5 – Projected score Notre Dame 62-59
    BYU -4.5, 146.5 – Projected score BYU 75-71
    Kansas State -16, 148.5 – Projected score Kansas State 82-66
    Vanderbilt -3, 141 – Projected score Vanderbilt 72-69
    Butler -2.5, 130.5 – Projected score Butler 66-64

    This is what the oddsmakers are telling us what the outcome of each game should be, but is this what will occur? I asked Kendall his thoughts.

    “Villanova automatically is favored by 12 points because of the conference differential between the Big East and the Northeast (Conference).” He went on to add the Wildcats guards are 10 points better those from Robert Morris, but Colonials defense is better, which is two points in their favor. Robert Morris was crushed by Big East teams Syracuse (by 40) and Pittsburgh (by 24) but played better down the stretch with 5-2 record compared to Nova’s 2-5 stutter. He explained Robert Morris would be a better play with the points if they did a better job on protecting the ball per possession.

    In the other South Region matchup, Kendall sees value in Richmond over St. Mary’s. “The conference difference is worth three points in Richmond’s favor, which is the difference in the game.” He tells me St. Mary’s lacks the foot speed to contain the Spiders point guard Kevin Anderson and he also likes David Gonzalvez, which gives them three point edge over St. Mary’s in the backcourt. Because Omar Samhan and Ben Allen are both taller that what Richmond can counter with, he gives the Gaels an edge, however because of how well the Spiders can defend in help defense, the difference is negated to smaller portion. Kendall likes Richmond to win and cover.

    Kendall sees window of opportunity with Sam Houston State with the points over Baylor. “Sam Houston State is your classic upset specialist. They average nine 3’s a game and convert at high rate (37.8 percent). They average 80 points a game (79.9) and are +5 rebound margin. Double digit points worthwhile.” I asked Kendall about Baylor’s outstanding numbers on offense and defense and wasn’t their talent superior? He responded this way. “The Big Eight is 10 points better than the Southland. If this is accurate and I believe it is, why are the Bears only favored by almost the same number? This is high risk, high reward bet.”

    The Notre Dame and Old Dominion side is seen as correct by Kendall. However he likes the total. “People are watching Notre Dame thinking this is Big East game, it’s not. ODU will force tempo and Irish didn’t forget how to play faster if needed. The Monarchs don’t shoot well, but they really pound the glass and will get several put backs. With total coming down, great value in game I see in the low 130’s.”

    The Kansas State and BYU’s matchups are “spot on” accordingly to this sports bettor; however he sees opportunity in the other two afternoon clashes.

    “I’m playing Murray State three ways, with the points, first half and on the money line. Oddsmakers subtly sneaked in a number on Murray State and nobody noticed but sharps. My information is most have laid low, making smaller wagers, hoping the public will back SEC team late, which will this more attractive (wager) closer to game time. Think about it, SEC vs Ohio Valley, three points, are you kidding!”

    Last is Butler and UTEP. ‘I’ve watched both teams play at least eight times and at different points of the season. Butler is smarter club, but that Georgetown loss in New York told a tale. If (Derrick) Caracter gets Matt Howard in foul trouble early, where does Butler turn? Caracter would have his way and UTEP really creates problems with their complete defense, not just press (39 percent). If exhausted Miners team had beaten Houston, at worst they should have been ninth seed. As much as I enjoy watch Butler, UTEP with the points is play.”

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