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NCAA Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Akron vs. UCLA, Iowa State vs. LSU Among 4 Sharpest Early Bets

NCAA Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Akron vs. UCLA, Iowa State vs. LSU Among 4 Sharpest Early Bets article feature image
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Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Greg Gard Head Coach of the Wisconsin Badgers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The NCAA Tournament bracket is set and we’re just three short days away from four days of non-stop college basketball action.

Most casual college basketball fans and recreational bettors spend the next two days focusing on their brackets, trying to pinpoint their sleepers, upsets, Final Four teams and eventual national champion.

But remember, NCAA Tournament odds are up and open for betting, meaning the market’s sharpest bettors are already tearing these games apart by jumping on the best early values while the masses worry about filling out their brackets.

With this in mind, I turned to our college basketball betting tools to pinpoint the four games already landing professional betting action.

NCAA Tournament Picks & Predictions

*Odds and betting data as of Monday morning

Vermont vs. Arkansas Pick

Thursday | 9:20 p.m. ET | TNT

It’s only Monday, but the early Vermont vs. Arkansas betting trends are already setting this game up as classic case of sharps vs. squares.

Sixty-three percent of spread tickets have landed on Arkansas to this point, but every other data point suggests that wiseguys have already taken a position on Vermont.

First, despite attracting just 37% of the spread action, 74% of the actual money wagered has come in on the Catamounts, suggesting that the biggest bets are backing the underdogs.

Second, Action Labs’ Bet Signals, which track and report professional betting action in real-time, are reporting two steam moves on Vermont.

Steam refers to sudden, uniform line movement across the market that is often the result of bettors with the respect and resources to move odds getting down on the same side of the same game at multiple sportsbooks, all at once.

And finally, line movement doesn’t lie, so it’s not at all surprising to see that Vermont has dropped from +6.5 to between +5.5 and +5, depending on the sportsbook, as oddsmaker react to the influx of smart money.

PRO Report Pick: Vermont +5.5


Akron vs. UCLA Pick

Thursday | 9:50 p.m. ET | TBS

While Vermont vs. Arkansas is shaping up to be a classic showdown between sharps and squares, pro and recreation bettors are aligned on Akron vs. UCLA.