NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Sharp Report: Pros Betting All 4 Thursday Games

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Sharp Report: Pros Betting All 4 Thursday Games article feature image

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tony Bennett

  • Wiseguys are betting all four NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 games Thursday, beginning with Florida State-Gonzaga (7:09 p.m. ET on CBS) and Purdue-Tennessee (7:29 p.m. ET on TBS).
  • Sharps are also getting down on Texas Tech-Michigan (9:39 p.m. ET on CBS) and Oregon-Virginia (9:57 p.m. ET on TBS).
  • Using the tools available at The Action Network, we analyze how pros are betting each game.

The long wait is finally over. Let the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 sweat begin.

The next two nights are as good as it gets for sharp bettors. The market is saturated with recreational money from casual bettors, providing an increased edge for wiseguys looking to capitalize on public bias and take advantage of soft lines.

After analyzing Thursday’s Sweet 16 slate using the betting tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, I’ve identified four games attracting sharp action from professional bettors.

Betting Terms to Know

Steam Move: Sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the market caused by an overload of sharp action from respected players.

Reverse Line Movement: When the betting line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. It’s a top smart money indicator.

Line Freeze: When one side is getting heavy betting, but the line won’t budge, indicating sharp liability on the other side.

Juice: The tax or commission that bettors must pay sportsbooks in order for them to accept your wager. A -115 juice means a bettor would have to wager $115 to win $100.

Florida State vs. Gonzaga

7:09 p.m. ET | CBS

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 148 to 147)

Gonzaga (32-3) is the top-scoring team in the nation, averaging 88.8 points-per-game. Meanwhile, Florida State (29-7) just hung 90 on Murray State in the Round of 32. Sounds like an easy over, right?

Not so fast, say the sharps.

This West Region total opened at 148. Despite nearly 65% of bets taking the over, the line has fallen to 147. Why would the oddsmakers drop the total to give public bettors an easier shot at hitting their over? Because they took in a wave of smart under money from pro bettors.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we noticed wiseguys hammer the Under 147.5, triggering reverse line movement across the market. We haven’t seen a single conflicting over move (or buyback).

The under also fits the profitable Bet Labs PRO System NCAA Tournament Reverse Line Move Totals (58.7% since 2005).

Purdue vs. Tennessee

7:29 p.m. ET | TBS

Sharp angle: Purdue (+1.5)

This South Region matchup is the most heavily bet Sweet 16 game on Thursday. It’s also the most lopsided.

Casual bettors see 2-seed Tennessee (31-5) laying a short spread against 3-seed Purdue (25-9) and say give me the points. But once again wiseguys are zigging while the public zags.

The Vols opened as a 1-point favorite, and heavy public betting (70%) pushed Tennessee to -1.5. That’s when sharps pounced on the Boilermakers at an artificially inflated +1.5.

The Boilermakers also find themselves in a highly profitable historical spot, as they fit two Bet Labs PRO systems: NCAA Tournament Contrarian (57% ATS since 2005) and NCAA Tournament Slow Paced Dogs (61% ATS).

Sean Koerner’s power ratings have this game at Tennessee -0.5, which is practically a pick’em.

Texas Tech vs. Michigan

9:39 p.m. ET | CBS

Sharp angle: Texas Tech (+2) and Under (moved from 127 to 125.5)

Average Joes don’t know which side of this West Region spread to take. But sharps have taken a clear side.

2-seed Michigan (30-6) opened at either -1.5 or -2 across the market against 3-seed Texas Tech (28-6). Bets are currently split right down the middle, 50/50, but 60% of dollars are backing the Red Raiders, indicating smart money in their favor.

While this line has briefly dipped to Texas Tech +1.5, it has never reached +2.5. Reading between the lines, this indicates liability on the dog, with sportsbooks refusing to hang out the hook and give wiseguys an extra half point on Tech.

Texas Tech matches two Bet Labs Pro systems: NCAA Tournament Defensive Teams (57% ATS since 2005) and NCAA Tournament Slow Paced Dogs (61% ATS).

Sharps are also eyeing this under. It opened at a super low 126. With neither team giving up more than 59 PPG this season, nearly 60% of bets are taking the under, but it also accounts for 80% of dollars. This signals both public and sharp support.

We noticed wiseguys hammer the Under 126.5, triggering market-wide steam that dropped the line to 125.5.

Oregon vs. Virginia

9:57 p.m. ET | TBS

Sharp angle: Under (119.5)

It’s not often that sharps are afforded a contrarian Virginia under opportunity. But tonight is the exception.

This South Region over/under opened at an absurdly low 119. Despite the Cavs’ stifling defense (only allowing a nation-best 55 PPG) and Oregon only giving up 62.5 points, the public says the total is so low it must go over.

But sharps aren’t taking the bait.

Currently 67% of bets are taking the over, but 56% of dollars are taking the under. This means that the over is getting all the $5 wagers from casual bettors, but big dime bettors are backing the under. We noticed a pair of steam and reverse line moves on the under.

Why do sharps love the under so much? Pace. These are two of the slowest, most deliberate teams. When two teams with a pace of 67 or less go head-to-head in the postseason, the under has won at a 57.3% rate.

How would you rate this article?

Top Offers

Action Newsletter
Sign Up >
The top betting news and picks for all the big games delivered directly to your inbox daily.
Action Podcasts
Listen >
The award-winning Action Network Podcast covers all angles of betting and DFS from industry-leading pros.
Betting 101
Bet Smarter >
New to betting? No sweat. Check out our betting education hub, which ranges from beginner tips to advanced strategies.
Sports Betting Legalization
Predictions >
When will sports betting be legal in your state? Check our our projections for all 50 states.
Betting Calculators
Try Now >
Easily calculate your winnings for straight bets and parlays using American, Decimal, or Fractional odds.
Expert Picks
Best Bets >
See all of the bets Action Network experts are making in real-time, covering the big games and the hidden gems.

Top Stories