Thursday Sharp Report: Pros Hammering Five College Hoops Plays

Thursday Sharp Report: Pros Hammering Five College Hoops Plays article feature image

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the first day of March. You know what that means. A full month of screaming at the TV and sweating straight through your clothes. But hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Welcome to the Madness!

After examining all the percentages and line movement for Thursday’s 50-game slate, here are five college basketball bets that professional players are focusing on today. Don’t worry if you’re seeing this a little later: The games featured below start at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m. ET.

All data as of 4:30 p.m. ET

Northern Iowa (-2.5) vs. Evansville

7 p.m. ET

The public usually gravitates toward favorites. If an Average Joe is putting his hard-earned cash on the line, he wants to bet on the “better” team. In the rare instances that recreational players favor a dog, it creates great contrarian value for sharp bettors. In this MVC Tournament matchup, more than 50% of bets are on Evansville (17-14), yet the line has moved toward Northern Iowa (15-15). Why? Because smart money likes the favorite to cover. The Panthers are getting less than 50% or bets, but it accounts for 65% of dollars. This smart money has pushed UNI from -1 to -2.5 since opening.

NC State at Georgia Tech (+2) 

8 p.m. ET

In one of the most lopsided games of the night, more than 80% of bets are taking NC State as a short road favorite. So why on Earth would the books drop NC State from -4.5 to -2? No, the oddsmakers aren’t being nice to public players out of the kindest of their hearts. The movement was a result of big liability with Georgia Tech. Wiseguys hit the Yellow Jackets +4.5 at BetUS and again at +2.5 at Pinnacle, causing market-wide reverse line movement.

Cincinnati at Tulane (+13)

9 p.m. ET

Another lopsided game with the public loading up on the favorite, but the sharps taking the dog. Despite receiving more than 75% of bets, Cincinnati (25-4, ranked 10th overall) has fallen from -13.5 to -13. This market-wide reverse line movement is evidence of liability on Tulane. Wiseguys steamed Tulane +13.5 early, causing the line to fall across the market.

Stanford-Arizona Under 151

10 p.m. ET

All the sharp money is on the Under in this PAC-12 showdown. Earlier today, wiseguys at SBG hammered Under 152, causing the market to drop the total to 151. We’re also seeing a massive bet vs. dollar discrepancy on the total. More than 50% of bets are on the Over, but more than 90% of dollars are on the Under. It will likely even out as bets pour in.

Oregon State (+3.5) at Washington

11 p.m. ET

As always, the public is heavy on the home favorite, especially since they’re 19-10 and the opponent is 14-14. But sharp bettors don’t bet based on win-loss records. Oregon State opened at +4 and wiseguys immediately got down on the Beavers, triggering a reverse line move at BetUS. Meanwhile, the Beavers are only getting 25% of bets but it accounts for nearly half the money, another indication that the bigger, sharper wagers are grabbing the points, not laying them.

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.

Thirsty for more in-depth betting analysis? Sign up for a Sports Insights Pro trial and join our Live Betting Hangouts where we break down the entire board every weeknight from 6:30-7 p.m. ET.

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If you have any questions about Sports Insights, the Betting Hangouts, or betting concepts in general, you can find me on twitter @Josh_Insights

Cover photo via Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Pictured: Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Paster