The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 easily made up for a somewhat-lackluster opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. We’ve got two #1-seeds (Gonzaga and UNC), a #3-seed (Oregon), and a surprise #7-seed (South Carolina) in the Final Four after some crazy finishes this past weekend. Fading the public has continued to be profitable throughout the tourney and it looks like there may be another opportunity in the Final Four.
South Carolina vs. Gonzaga (Saturday 6:05 pm ET)
South Carolina continues to shock to college basketball world but they opened +6.5 around the market against Gonzaga in the Final Four. After stunning upsets over Duke, Baylor and Florida, bettors are putting their faith behind the Gamecocks as they’re getting 66% of early betting tickets. At each of our 7 contributing sportsbooks, South Carolina is getting more than half the spread bets:
This should be alarming for informed bettors since trendy underdogs, especially in the NCAA tournament where games get a lot of wagers, have not been successful. This year alone, underdogs getting at least 60% of spread bets have gone just 1-7 ATS which includes Xavier getting crushed by Gonzaga in the Elite 8.
In terms of line movement, Pinnacle has not moved off of Gonzaga -6.5 but CRIS and Heritage have both moved to -6, as have Sportsbk and SIA. The move at CRIS and Heritage to -6 would indicate some sharper money, but square books like Sportsbk and SIA moving to -6 would indicate public money on South Carolina. This may be another great chance to take the Zags and lay the points, but be sure to monitor the odds, %’s, injuries and factors that could move the line by Saturday night.
Oregon vs. North Carolina (Saturday 8:45 pm ET)
In the other Final Four matchup, UNC opened -4 at CRIS and -4.5 around the rest of the market. Since opening, almost the entire offshore market is at UNC -4.5 but there are a few Nevada sportsbooks offering UNC -5. The VERY early betting tickets were pretty split but the line was increasing towards UNC. Although betting percentages are still closer to 50/50 right now, it’s clear that some sharper early money was taking the Tar Heels at -4.
UNC is the biggest title liability at William Hill US, getting 53% of remaining dollars. They took a $50,000 bet on UNC at +400 on March 24 but Gonzaga is still attracting the highest number of title tickets.
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