Thursday’s Sharp Report: Wiseguys Take a Side in Duke/UNC

Thursday’s Sharp Report: Wiseguys Take a Side in Duke/UNC article feature image
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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thirsty Thursday! We have a jam-packed college hoops board with over 50 games on the slate tonight. Whatever you do, don’t bet them all. Having too much action is always a cardinal sin (and a great way to lose money quickly).

Instead, stay disciplined and limit your plays to the most valuable games on the board. Which ones are those? Glad you asked. After breaking down all the odds, percentages and line movement, here are the games the sharps are getting down on tonight.

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 80% of spread bets vs. North Carolina but you see the line fall from Duke -8 to -6.5. That’s a sure sign the wiseguys are on UNC.

Five games the wiseguys are betting in college hoops

Duke at North Carolina (-1.5)
8:00 p.m. ET

In the most heavily bet game of the night, we’re seeing a classic Pros vs Joes matchup. The public is pounding the ninth-ranked Blue Devils (74% of bets), but the line has moved big in North Carolina’s favor. Why would the oddsmakers give public Duke backers a better number? Because sharp bettors across the market got down on the Tar Heels, creating big liability. Using our Sports Insights software, we’ve triggered a plethora of steam and reverse line moves on UNC at +2, +1 and a pick’em. This means that sharp bettors who have accounts at Pinnacle, Buckeye and SBG all hammered North Carolina, causing the entire market to move. Our data shows a slightly higher dollar percentage on Duke. Normally this is a good thing, but not when you’re heavy with the public and the line is going the other way (it’s likely all square dollars).

Youngstown State (+10) at Illinois Chicago 
8:00 p.m. ET

The public is largely ignoring this game, but the wiseguys aren’t. Youngstown State is only getting 37% of bets but 72% of dollars — a massive 35% bet-vs-dollar discrepancy, meaning the big money wagers are on the road dog. Almost as soon as the line came out, sharps at CRIS hammered Youngstown at +12, triggering a steam move that caused the entire market to drop the line.

Saint Mary’s at Loyola Marymount (+12)
10:00 p.m. ET 

The majority of public bettors focus on one stat when deciding who to get down on: won-loss records. So of course they’re pounding 23-2 Saint Mary’s (78% of bets) and fading 7-16 Loyola Marymount. But not the wiseguys. Loyola is only getting 22% of bets but it accounts for 37% of dollars and they’ve moved from +13.5 to +12. This valuable bet-vs-dollar discrepancy and big reverse line move indicates that sharps hit Loyola and like them to cover the big number. YouWager was the first book to steam Loyola at +13.5, then the whole market followed suit.

USC at Arizona State (-3.5)
11:00 p.m. ET 

The sharps are staying up late and fading the trendy dog in this Pac-12 showdown. The Sun Devils are only getting 30% of bets but it accounts for 42% of dollars, a sign of bigger, sharper wagers taking the home favorite. Meanwhile, the line remains at -3.5 despite the heavy USC betting. This indicates a “line freeze,” with liability on Arizona State, which was hit hard by sharps at CRIS and ABC. Bookmaker, a large sharp offshore book, has already moved to -4.

Santa Clara (+15.5) at BYU
11:00 p.m. ET 

Santa Clara has a putrid 8-16 record, while BYU sits at 18-7. As a result, two-thirds of public bettors are laying the big number and expecting the home favorite Cougars to win by 20 or more. But the sharps think Santa Clara will keep it close (or at least lose by 15 or less). Santa Clara is only getting 34% of bets but it accounts for more than half the money (57%), plus the line has fallen from -16.5 to -15.5 since opening. This notable bet-vs-dollar discrepancy, combined with reverse line movement, is evidence of sharps grabbing the road dog plus the points.

Other teams receiving sharp action tonight

  • Arizona (31% of bets, -9 to -9.5)
  • Oregon (33% of bets, -5 to -7.5)
  • Monmouth (29% of bets, +8.5 to +8)

For a more in-depth analysis of tonight’s card, sign up for a Sports Insights Pro trial and join our Live Betting Hangouts where we break down the entire board every weeknight 6:30-7 p.m. ET.

For more betting updates, be sure to follow us on twitter @ActionNetworkHQ 

Cover photo via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports