CBB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Purdue-Penn State, Two Other Games

CBB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Purdue-Penn State, Two Other Games article feature image
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Penn State Nittany Lions forward Mike Watkins. Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

  • Wiseguys are betting three college basketball games on Thursday, headlined by Purdue-Penn State (7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).
  • Sharps are also betting Drexel-William & Mary (7 p.m. ET) and Gonzaga-BYU (11 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
  • Using the tools available at The Action Network, we analyze how pros are betting all three games.

Wiseguys are always looking for an edge. This season, they’ve been leaning on Unders in high-total games. Why? Because the college basketball three-point revolution has led to sportsbooks overadjusting totals, providing increased value on Unders.

This season, when the total is 150 or higher, the Under has hit at a 54.1% clip. If it’s 160 or higher, the Under increases to 58.3%.

After analyzing Thursday’s 53-game college hoops slate using the betting tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, I’ve identified three games that pros are targeting, with start times of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.


>> All odds as of 2:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time college basketball odds and track your bets


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.

Full Sports Betting Glossary 


Purdue @ Penn State

7 p.m. ET | Fox Sports 1

Sharp angle: Penn State (stayed at +7)

Wiseguys love betting against the public. Why? Because more often than not, the public loses. However, sharps also know you can’t just blindly fade the public. You need to do it in the most heavily bet games.

This Big Ten mismatch is a perfect example. Purdue (14-6, ranked 17th overall) opened as a 7-point road favorite against unranked Penn State (7-13). Currently 89% of bets are laying the points with the Boilermakers, making them the most lopsided public play of the day in the most heavily bet game, a contrarian bettor’s dream.

Despite receiving overwhelming public support, the line has remained at -7. Typically, a line will rise to -8 or -9 based on such heavy betting. The fact that it hasn’t is evidence of a sharp “line freeze,” with books reluctant to hand out additional value to wiseguys on the Nittany Lions.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we noticed four separate steam and reverse line moves on PSU, without a single conflicting play on Purdue.

PSU also fits the profitable Bet Labs PRO system Fade the Public in Big Conferences (56.8% ATS since 2005).

Drexel @ William and Mary

7 p.m. ET

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 159.5 to 155.5)

Sometimes betting percentages can be deceiving. By comparing the percentages to the number of bets, you can gain much needed context into not only how the game is being bet, but more importantly, who is betting the game.

Take this CAA over/under for example.

The total opened at 159.5. Currently 82% of bets are taking the under, dropping the line to 155.5.

On the surface, this seems like a big public play. However, the game is receiving only 431 bets. Average Joes have no interest in this small school game. So that 82% is much more likely coming from wiseguys who have an edge on the total.

We’ve tracked four separate steam moves on the Under, with pro bettors hammering the Under 159.5 twice, then twice more at Under 158.5 and Under 157. The fact that wiseguys kept hitting the under despite the line falling and getting worse indicates supreme wiseguy confidence in a lower-scoring game.

This season, conference unders with high totals (150 or more) that fall at least 1-point have posted a win rate of 67.7% with +17.96 units won and a 29% ROI.

Gonzaga @ BYU

11 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 167 to 163.5)

Sharps and squares (casual bettors who bet for fun) are pretty much aligned on this WCC over/under.

Gonzaga is one of the highest scoring teams in the country (91.42 PPG), but also boasts one of the nation’s top scoring defenses (66.33 PPG).

The total opened at 167 and has fallen all the way to 163.5 behind 73% of bets and 82% of dollars on the under. This indicates both $5 casual bets and big sharp wagers sweating a low-scoring game.

We’ve also noticed three big steam moves on the Under.

Historically, unders have been especially profitable in games with high totals and big spreads. Since 2005, if the total is 150 or higher and the spread is 10 points or more, the under has hit at a 57.8% clip.