March Madness Sharp Report: Pros Betting Arizona State-St. John’s, Two Other Wednesday Games

March Madness Sharp Report: Pros Betting Arizona State-St. John’s, Two Other Wednesday Games article feature image

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: St. John’s Red Storm guard Justin Simon.

  • Wiseguys are getting down on three March Madness games Wednesday, headlined by Arizona State-St. John's (9:10 p.m. ET on TruTV).
  • Sharps are also betting NC Central-North Dakota State (6:40 p.m. ET on TruTV) and Norfolk State-Alabama (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU).
  • Using the tools available at The Action Network, we analyze how pros are betting each game.

Wiseguys kicked off March Madness in style yesterday, going a perfect 3-0 with their Tuesday plays. Nothing changes for the sharps.

No doubling down because of a good night.

Flat Betting. Stay the course.

Continue to go contrarian because the market is flooded with recreational money, making it the best time of year to fade the public.

After analyzing Wednesday’s  19-game postseason slate using the betting tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, I’ve identified three games receiving sharp action from professional bettors.

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.

NC Central vs. North Dakota State

6:40 p.m. ET | TruTV

Sharp angle: NC Central (moved from +5.5 to +5)

Wiseguys are all over the dog in this East Region First Four matchup of 16-seeds.

Both teams have identical 18-15 records. But North Dakota State has a bit more name recognition and it opened as a short favorite, so the public says “give me the better team.”

In one of the most lopsided games of the day, nearly 75% of bettors are laying the points with the Bison. However, the line has fallen from North Dakota State -5.5 to -5.

This is a classic case of reverse line movement. Despite receiving overwhelming public support, the line moved away from ND State. This indicates smart money on NC Central, which forced the oddsmakers to adjust the line in its favor.

NC Central, making its third consecutive First Four appearance in the Big Dance, is also in a highly profitable historical spot.

The Eagles match three separate Bet Labs PRO Systems: NCAA Tournament Contrarian (61.1% ATS since 2005), NCAA Tournament Defensive Teams (57.8% ATS) and NCAA Tournament Slow Paced Dogs (61.2% ATS).

Norfolk State @ Alabama

7 p.m. ET | ESPNU

Sharp angle: Over (moved from 143 to 144.5)

This NIT First Round over/under is being brushed aside by casual bettors. Fine by the wiseguys. Smaller conference tournaments pay out just the same as the Big Dance.

This total opened at 143. Currently 65% of bets and 89% of dollars are taking the over, indicating moderate public support, but also heavy smart money from pro players with an edge.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we tracked three separate steam and reverse line moves on the over, with not a single conflicting under play (or buyback).

One reason sharps might love this over: the NIT rule changes benefit offense bigly. Shot clocks get reset to 20 seconds (not 30) after an offensive rebound (leading to more possessions and points), team fouls reset and bonus free throws are awarded when limits are hit. Also, NIT games are played on true home courts, eliminating the neutral court under trend.

Arizona State vs. St. John’s

9:10 p.m. ET | TruTV

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 156 to 153)

Sharps and squares will be rooting for opposite sides of this West Region First Four over/under.

In a battle of 11-seeds, the public sees two high scoring teams (both averaging 77 PPG) that both give up a lot of points (SJU allows 74.8 PPG and ASU allows 73.1 PPG) and, as you’d expect, they’re leaning over. But not the wiseguys.

This total opened at 152. Currently 54% of bets are on the over and the line has risen to 153. On the surface, this looks look like a sharp under play. However, a closer look at the movement tells a different story.

Sharps let casual bettors jack this line up to 156. That’s when they crushed the under at an artificially inflated price.

We tracked five separate steam and reverse line moves on under 156, Under 155.5 and under 155. This heavy dose of smart money dropped the line back down to 153.

This neutral court, early round under spot has been a big moneymaker for the sharps over the years. Since 2005, the under has hit at a 61.5% clip in first four play in games.

Our Action Network internal data, led by Sean Koerner, has this total projected at 147.5.