College Basketball Marketwatch Edition 3 2008-09

March Madness Edition – Round 2 (Saturday)
3/21/2009  11:01 AM EST
By The Team at 

Back by popular demand, SportsInsights is pleased to bring our Members a March Madness Edition of our popular Sports Marketwatch publication.  Note that we’ll be publishing editions of the March Madness MarketWatch through the end of the Tournament.

Welcome to the Sports Marketwatch – March Madness Edition, where SportsInsights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the sports marketplace. If you want to know what is really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketwatch! 

The staff at speaks directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding.  We’ll look at what’s in store for the upcoming NCAAB games.

Sports Marketplace – March Madness

Recapping Round 1 – Friday

Our selections came back to earth a bit, as we went 1-2 ATS (against the spread) on Friday.  Utah State was our lone win, covering the spread, despite losing by one point.  Pleasecheck out our article on “betting against the Public” during the Final Four Tournament.  In particular, we noted that betting against the Public works particularly well during sporting events that get lots of attention – as in March Madness! Let’s see what today’s sports marketplace has in store for us.

2009 March Madness Games to Watch: 43 = 57.1%


Sports MarketWatch – Sports Marketplace

UCLA +2.5 over Villanova

Offshore sportsbook risk managers circled this game because very heavy — and very steady — streams of “Public money” have been landing on Villanova.  This is expected to be the best game of the day — and it is currently the most “heavily-bet” game of the day.  The line opened at UCLA +1.5 but the barrage of bets on Villanova (almost 8 out of every 10 bets!) has moved the line to UCLA +2.5.  This might not seem like a lot — but the extra point of line value has a lot of significance when the point spread is so low (and the game is expected to be a barn-burner).  The location of this game makes this seem like a home game for Villanova — but even so, the point spread shows that UCLA might have been favored on a neutral court.

Both of these teams have the potential to go far in the Tournament.  Earlier in the season, UCLA stood at 14-2 and was rated among the nation’s best teams.  UCLA struggled in Round 1, so we like “buying” UCLA at a recent low.  On the other hand, Villanova had a good season in the highly-rated (and potentially overrated?!) Big East Conference.  We’ll “sell” Villanova and the Big East at this recent peak in “conference perception.”

UCLA +2.5  

LSU +11.5 Over North Carolina

This game falls into a strategy we highlighted in our “betting against the Public” article during March Madness.  The Public is getting their money down on the powerhouse NC squad at a rate of about 75% when you factor in all bets.  The game is being heavily bet during the NCAAs and the line is staying steady in the NC -11 to -11.5 range.  We like the double digit points on a quiet, under-the-radar, LSU team.  We also like “selling” the powerhouse NC team at a recent high after their blowout win in Round 1.  Let’s “bet against the Public” and take the side of the longer-term winners: the sportsbooks.

LSU +11.5

Gonzaga -10.5 Western Kentucky

People have very short memories — and that is something we can sometimes use to our advantage when we seek value in the sports marketplace.  Gonzaga is one of the hottest teams in the nation, going 19-1 in its last 20 games.  At 27-5 (14-0 in West Coast Conference), they have one of the nation’s best records this season.  They also have “tournament experience” — so you would think people would like this team with the “interesting-sounding name,” right?  You would be wrong: #4 Seed Gonzaga struggled in Round 1 and actually trailed at the half before pulling away at the end of the game.  At the time of this writing, more than 75% of point spread bets are taking Western Kentucky and the double-digit points.

Western Kentucky, a #12 Seed, upset #5 Seed Illinois and sports fans are hopping on their bandwagon.  “Smart money” is fading the Public bets and has actually pushed the line from the opener of Gonzaga -10.5 down to -11 at CRIS.  You can still get -10.5 at most sportsbooks.  We hate giving that many points but believe there is value in grabbing the hugely-talented Gonzaga Bulldogs after their first-round scare.  Let’s “buy low” and “sell high” (selling W. Kentucky after their first round upset).

Gonzaga -10.5

Games to Watch (43)

UCLA +2.5  
LSU +11.5  
Gonzaga -10.5

It should be another exciting NCAA Tournament for the sports marketplace.  Keep Sports Marketwatch picks handy and your browser pointed to for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools.

We’ll be back soon with a new edition of the Sports Marketwatch – March Madness Edition.

Enjoy the games!

The Team at