College Basketball Marketwatch Edition 2 2009-10

Sports MarketWatch
12/1/2009  5:00 PM EST
By The Team at 

Welcome to the Sports Marketwatch – NCAA Basketball 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 which ones the Sharps are pounding.  Let’s look at what’s in store for the upcoming NCAAB games.

Sports Marketwatch – NCAA Basketball Edition

Well, there’s no two ways about it.  Marketwatch had a rougher than rough inception to the college basketball world, missing both games by a combined total of 1.5 points.  Fresno State controlled the first half and was in position for the win until they gave up four free throws in the last 20 seconds.  They were the difference for the Bulldogs, and for us, as Fresno State missed the cover by falling to San Diego State 62-58.  In our other game, Purdue’s Kelsey Barlow missed both his free throws with 17 seconds left.  A clutch defensive stop secured the one point victory for Purdue, but the free throws he couldn’t sink basically sunk our hopes of covering the 2-point spread, as the Boilermakers beat the Vols 73-72.

2009 NCAA Basketball Games to Watch: 0-2, 0%*

Wake Forest +11 over Purdue – 7:00pm EST

In the first of two Big Ten-ACC Challenge installments, the Demon Deacons travel to Purdue on the heels of a disappointing home loss to a suddenly very impressive William & Mary team.  Wake Forest lost two high-profile players – point guard Jeff Teague and forward James Johnson – to the NBA last year, and they took a lot of points with them.  Yet their roster is still loaded with experience, with seniors at the point guard, shooting guard and center positions, and sophomore forward Al-Farouq Aminu will likely be once again considered a lottery pick come season’s end.  They’ll have their hands full with a Purdue team who can adjust to multiple styles and paces, but they certainly won’t be flying to Indiana as lambs heading to slaughter.

Purdue opened as an 11-point favorite at both CRIS and Pinnacle and are getting the lion’s share of public support.  Not only have they received 53% of spread bets, but also 83% of moneyline and 69% of parlay wagers.  The sharp money, as is often the case, appears to be fading the public.  Instead of growing, the line has dropped to Purdue -10.5 almost across the board.  This is relatively significant in a game with two nationally recognizable teams, and it will ultimately be one of the more heavily-bet games of the night.  We’ll jump on the reverse line movement and take the points.  Over at BetPhoenix, you can still capitalize on the extra half-point.

Wake Forest +11 (BetPhoenix)

Michigan State +2 over North Carolina – 9:00pm EST

Roy Williams threw Carolina fans under the bus for weak attendance against Nevada, but he probably won’t have a problem filling the seats tonight, as Michigan State comes to town for a re-match of last year’s national championship game.  The Tar Heels took the trophy handily, winning 89-72 in what resembled a road game in Detroit.  This year, though, it’s the Spartans who can boast the veteran star-power, as Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan replace Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough in the national spotlight.  Two weeks ago, this might have been a match-up between Top 5 teams.  Then Carolina lost to Syracuse, Michigan State lost to Florida, Blue Devils and Wolverines everywhere celebrated, and the game lost a bit of its luster.  Don’t worry, though.  It won’t lack for intensity.

Perhaps because of the Sparty’s fresh loss and homecourt advantage, Carolina opened as 3-point favorites at both Pinnacle and CRIS.  At the time of writing, Sports Insights proprietary betting percentage data shows public bets split right down the middle, with 50% going each way.  Typically an ideal situation for bookmakers, since they can just take the juice with negligible risk, one wouldn’t expect much line movement in this heavily bet primetime game.  Yet the line has dropped a full point and a half at a couple of sportsbooks and is down to UNC -2 across the board.  The bookmakers want to make it more appealing to bet on the Heels, but when the lines speak, we listen.  Play on Izzo and his boys to get some revenge tonight in Chapel Hill.

Michigan State +2

Games to Watch (0-2)
Wake Forest +11
Michigan State +2

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It should be an exciting night of college action in 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.

Tonight is a Tuesday edition simply because of a relative dearth of games on the schedule yesterday.  We’ll be back next Monday with a new college basketball edition of Sports Marketwatch.

Enjoy the games!

The Team at