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Sweet 16 Early Action: Line Moves, Popular Public Sides and Heaviest-Bet Games

Sweet 16 Early Action: Line Moves, Popular Public Sides and Heaviest-Bet Games article feature image

Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

A wild weekend is over, and bettors have had a solid 36 hours to dive into lines for the Sweet 16. Much like the NFL market, some bettors like to pounce early, while others like to wait until the day of the game.


Using the proprietary tools and data available at The Action Network, we’ve broken down the most lopsided and most heavily bet games, as well as some of the most significant line moves.

Here’s what has happened so far across the Sweet 16 betting market.

All info as of Tuesday at noon ET.

Most Lopsided Tickets

West Virginia vs. Villanova (-5.5)
Friday, 7:27 p.m. ET

Last Sunday, West Virginia received just 35% of bets as a double-digit favorite against Marshall. They opened at -11.5, but closed at -13 and won by 23 despite the lopsided support on Marshall. Villanova also won its last game by 23 as a double-digit favorite, but the Wildcats wound up with 63% of bets.

The betting trends are carrying over to this game, as 74% of tickets are backing the 1-seed Nova squad and ignoring WVU. We’ve seen reverse line movement push the Mountaineers to +5 on two separate, but the line has gone back to -5.5 relatively quickly both times.

Kansas State vs. Kentucky (-5.5)
Thursday, 9:37 p.m. ET

There’s something about 5.5-point favorites that the public just loves I guess. . . . This line has seen some interesting movement as Kentucky opened at -6, reached -6.5, but was bet down to -5.5 late last night. Right now, 72% of spread tickets are on Kentucky, but 56% of dollars have taken Kansas State, which can help explain that movement.


Most Heavily Bet

Kansas State vs. Kentucky (-5.5)
Thursday, 9:37 p.m. ET

With 3,416 bets, this game is easily seeing the heaviest and most interesting betting action as well.

Syracuse vs. Duke (-11.5)
Friday, 9:37 p.m. ET

This spread is dead, as the line has yet to move off 11.5 at the major offshore books despite garnering 2,788 tickets. However, the total has been bouncing around quite a bit, which I’ll touch on a bit more below.

Loyola Chicago vs. Nevada (-1.5)
Thursday, 7:07 p.m. ET

With UMBC out, Loyola Chicago is trying on ruby slippers left and right (only Cinderella reference I could think of). Behind a total of 2,375 tickets written, the Ramblers are receiving 44% of bets — but 65% of dollars — and have moved from +2.5 to +1.5 since opening.

Texas Tech vs. Purdue (-1.5)
Friday, 9:58 p.m. ET

This is another dud of a spread, with Purdue remaining at -1.5. This total has dropped since opening at a couple of major offshore line setters, indicating a large percentage of the 1,858 tickets may be playing the over/under.


Total Recall

Texas A&M vs. Michigan (134.5)
Thursday, 7:27 p.m. ET

This total initially dropped, moving from 134 to 133.5. Yesterday afternoon, it jumped up a point to 134.5 and it may not stop. More than 70% of bets and 90% of dollars are currently backing the over.

Florida State vs. Gonzaga (153.5)
Thursday, 10:07 p.m. ET

This is essentially the exact opposite of the Texas A&M-Michigan game. This total opened at 154 and moved to 154.5 in the early going, but has since dropped to 153.5. About 70% of bets and 90% of dollars are on the under for this total so . . . it might . . . not . . . stop . . .

West Virginia vs. Villanova (154.5)
Friday, 7:27 p.m. ET

We’ve actually tracked sharp action on both sides of this total. After opening at 153, we tracked a steam move on the over that pushed it up to 155 at some books. That was apparently too high, as a reverse line move came in on the under and dropped it down to 154.5.

Syracuse vs. Duke (133.5)
Friday, 9:37 p.m. ET

The line and the corresponding juice will not stop moving for this total. After opening at 133, early action on the under pushed it down to 132.5. At that time, a steam move on the over was triggered that has since pushed the number up to 133.5 across the market. It looks like public bettors took notice of Syracuse’s zone vs. Michigan State, as a surprising 62% of bets are backing an under in a Duke game. The lowest percent of bets an under has received in a Duke game this season is 42%, which was also the only time it received the minority of bets.

Top Photo: Duke forward Marvin Bagley III

Photo via Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

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