Friday’s Sharp Report: Wiseguys Hammering Ivy League Sides
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Thinking of taking the night off from college hoops because we have a small slate and all the “good” games are on Saturday? Don’t. With no NBA on tap, the public is thirsty for action and will be getting down on small-conference games they don’t know much about, which creates great contrarian value for sharp bettors.
After breaking down all the lines and percentages, here are the seven college basketball bets the professional players are getting down on tonight.
For a full glossary betting of terms, plus the sides getting the highest percentage of tickets and money, check out the bottom of the article.
All data as of 5 p.m. ET
Yale at Dartmouth (+2.5)
7 p.m. ET
The public sees 5-16 Dartmouth and immediately says “fade.” But wiseguys see a profitable buy-low opportunity. The Big Green is only getting 23% of bets but it accounts for 32% of dollars, indicating smart money on the home dog. Sharps got down hard on Dartmouth when the line rose to +3, causing it fall back down to +2.5. It’s back down to +2 at Bookmaker, a sharp offshore book with high limits. Essentially, we’re seeing a “line freeze.” Even though nearly 80% of bets are on Yale, the line remains close to Dartmouth, meaning the books have liability on the Big Green.
Pennsylvania at Columbia (+2)
7 p.m. ET
Pennsylvania is 17-7, while Columbia is a putrid 6-15. So of course public bettors are pounding Penn as a short road favorite. The game opened at Penn -2.5 and once square money pushed it to -3, sharp bettors pounced on the home dog, triggering a pair of steam and reverse line moves on Columbia +3. Penn is getting a slightly higher share of dollars. This is normally a good thing, but not when you’re with the public and the line is going the other way (it’s likely all square money).
Iona-Niagara Under 167
7 p.m. ET
Only 34% of bets are taking the under in this MAAC showdown, yet it accounts for nearly half the money. This indicates that big sharp wagers are expecting a lower scoring game. Wiseguys got down hard on the under at 168, triggering a steam move that forced the market to drop the total. The Greek steam move is 92-69 (+8.4 units) this season, meaning that a $100 bettor would be up $840 playing each one since opening night.
Detroit-Youngstown State Under 162.5
7 p.m. ET
The over is receiving 55% of bets but only 50% of dollars, which means it’s mostly all square dollars from Average Joes. Early this morning, sharps steamed the under at 164.5, causing the market to adjust the total down to 162.5.
Princeton at Cornell (+3.5)
8 p.m. ET
In an Ivy League battle between two sub-.500 teams, the public is taking 11-12 Princeton over 9-12 Cornell. But sharps like the home dog to cover. Cornell is only getting 36% of bets but it accounts for 63% of dollars — a massive discrepancy. Plus, the line hasn’t moved off of 3.5 since opening. This “line freeze” indicates liability on Cornell, with books reluctant to give out a +4 to sharp contrarian bettors.
UIC at Green Bay (+2.5), Over 153.5
9 p.m. ET
Recreational bettors are loading up on 15-12 UIC, but sharps are going with 10-18 Green Bay. The home dog is only getting 25% of bets but it accounts for 35% of dollars, indicating smart money. As soon as the line opened, wiseguys got down hard on Green Bay +3.5, causing market-wide reverse line movement.
The Wake and Rake master PJ Walsh also highlighted massive sharp action on the over in this matchup first-thing this morning. We saw five different steam moves on the over. The interesting thing is that, despite the line rising, sharps kept hitting the over, first at 147, then 149.5, 150, 151 and 152.5.
A few reminders:
- A really high bet percentage is usually a clear indicator of who public bettors (aka the guys who don’t do this for a living) are taking. And breaking news: The majority of public bettors aren’t successful over the long haul.
- To help locate which games the pros are on, focus on the money percentage metric. If a team is getting a much higher share of dollars compared to bets, that’s a good sign that the wiseguys are on them
- Don’t blindly bet games based on percentages. You also have to look at the line movement. One of the best sharp indicators is Reverse Line Movement: when the betting line moves in the opposite direction of the team the public is betting. Example: Duke is getting 75% of spread bets vs. North Carolina but you see the line move from Duke -1 to +1.5. That’s a sure sign the wiseguys are on UNC.
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Cover Photo via Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports