Tuesday’s Sharp Report: Five College Hoops Games the Wiseguys Are Betting
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
We have a lot of fancy tools here at The Action Network. Chief among them is our software that gathers real-time betting data on every game played in every major sport.
You can see that data in its full glory here, but the point of this story is to weed through the sea of games and percentages and tell you the real story behind the numbers.
Here’s all the info you need to bet more like a sharp and less like a square on Tuesday night’s college basketball slate.
All info as of 4:30 p.m. ET.
Two key metrics to start with whenever you’re looking at the betting market for a specific game: bet percentage and money percentage. Bet = total number of wagers on a game. Money = total dollars bet on a game.
You never want to focus on one and ignore the other. The key is using them together, side by side, to identify where the public is and where the sharps are.
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.
Generally speaking, professional bettors will wager more money on a given game than your regular Joe. To us, professional players are sharp bettors who win at a high rate and have a long track record of success. To 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. The higher the discrepancy, the greater the value.
Lastly, don’t just 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 but you see the line fall from Duke -8 to -6.5. The fact that the line fell away from Duke, despite the Blue Devils getting an overwhelming majority of bets, indicates that sharps came in on the opponent.
Got it? Let’s dive into some games tonight.
Five games the wiseguys are betting in college hoops
Xavier at Butler (-3.5)
6:30 p.m. ET
The Average Joe almost always gravitates toward favorites, so when he jumps on a dog it’s a great sign of heavy public bias. 62% of bettors are taking Xavier plus the points, creating profitable “fade the trendy dog” value on the home favorite Bulldogs. But it’s not just contrarian value on Butler; the sharps are on them, as well. Butler is your top “discrepancy” play tonight (only 38% of bets but 65% of dollars) and the line has moved in the Bulldogs’ favor (-3 to -3.5) despite the majority of bets taking Xavier, a example of reverse line movement.
More intel from our CBB experts, Jordan Majewski and Stuckey: Kelan Martin is a nightmare matchup for Xavier who should also struggle to defend Butler in pick and roll. Xavier’s pick-and-roll D grades out in just the seventh percentile. Both teams are on a roll, but the Bulldogs will be looking for revenge from their last game, when they struggled from 3 (7-27). Xavier won’t have another 37-8 free throw advantage at Hinkle.
Tennessee (+2) at Kentucky
7 p.m. ET
The public likes the home favorite Wildcats to cover the short spread tonight, but the sharps disagree. The Volunteers are only getting 37% of bets but 49% of dollars. This 12% discrepancy is evidence of the sharper, bigger wagers taking the road dog. While much of the market opened at Kentucky -1.5 and crept up to -2, we’ve seen a Kentucky “line freeze” at Pinnacle (a sharp offshore book), who opened at -2 and remain at -2. This indicates liability on Tennessee. More closely, the oddsmakers are reluctant to move the number and hand out the hook (+2.5) to sharp Tennessee backers.
More intel from Jordan: I previously hyped the Vols as a legitimate Final Four contender in my power rankings article. I think they show it tonight in Lexington against a UK team that is simply too slow to rotate against Tennessee’s phenomenal ball movement.
Michigan at Northwestern (+1.5)
7 p.m. ET
In one of the more lopsided games of the night, the public is going with road favorite Michigan (68% of bets) to win by two or more. However, the line hasn’t moved off of -1.5 since opening. This “line freeze” indicates liability on Northwestern. Despite the heavy Michigan betting, the oddsmakers refuse to give Northwestern bettors the +2. Plus, Northwestern is only getting 32% of bets but it accounts for half the money. Another sign the bigger, sharper wagers like the home dog to cover.
More intel: Jordan played NW in a game that could decide their season. The Wildcats will be looking for revenge from a game just 8 days ago in which the final score was very misleading. Their zone defense gave Michigan fits.
Baylor (+1.5) at Oklahoma State
7 p.m. ET
Sharps are taking a shot on road dog Baylor. The Bears are only receiving 24% of bets (one of the top contrarian spots of the night), but they’re getting 42% of dollars. Plus, Baylor has also moved from +2 to +1.5, indicating reverse line movement. At Pinnacle, Baylor is already down to +1. Shop for the best line and try to get the +1.5. The hook could be huge if the road dog Bears lose by 1.
More intel: Jordan played Baylor based on the situational letdown spot for Oklahoma State, along with the fact that Baylor should be able to give the Cowboys trouble inside.
Central Florida (+14.5) at Cincinnati
7 p.m. ET
UCF is a massive road dog, but the sharps aren’t afraid to get down on them. They’re only receiving 31% of bets but it accounts for nearly half the money, plus we’ve seen the line fall in their direction (+15.5 to +14.5) since opening. The combination of contrarian value, bet/dollar discrepancy and reverse line movement is a perfect sharp storm for the Knights. They probably won’t win, but they’re in a great spot to cover the big number.
Other teams receiving sharp action tonight
- TCU (27% bets, 55% dollars), +7.5 to +7
- Minnesota (32% bets, 30% dollars) -1.5 to -3.5
- Iowa (40% bets, 48% dollars), +11 to +10
- Northern Illinois (28% bets, 30% dollars), +14 to +12.5
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Cover photo via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports