March Madness For Real as NCAA Tournament Continues to Set New Record Handles

Kevin Stott

Saturday, March 25, 2017 9:40 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 25, 2017 9:40 PM UTC

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament continues to amaze, racking up handles well beyond the NFL’s Super Bowl for sportsbooks and this year is no different, with Offshores seeing more action both in Sides, In-Game and Futures Book wagering. 

Let’s see how a couple sportsbooks did Thursday, who they feared Friday and what teams may hold some exposure in the Futures Book at popular offshore

Sharps Have Decent Thursday with Sides Jayhawks, Musketeers, But Stumbe with Totals

After a roaring start last week in the first two rounds, sportsbooks continue to do record-setting business in the NCAA Tournament as we watch the Sweet Sixteen turn into the Elite Eight as most Brackets continue an arc resembling Milli Vanilli’s career and March Madness bounces toward April and the Final Four in Phoenix.

In Thursday’s two Midwest Regional Sweet Sixteen games, Kansas rolled to a third straight 30-plus point win, easily covering ATS in ousting Purdue, 98-66 (KS -5) while Oregon bounced another Big Ten Team, Michigan, 69-68 (PK) to set up a Kansas-Oregon Midwest Regional Final at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Saturday (TBS, 8:49 p.m. EDT; KAN -7, 157, BetOnline). In the West Regional, top-seed Gonzaga held off West Virginia, 61-58 (GONZ -3) with 11-seed Xavier (4-0 ATS L4 Sweet Sixteen) upsetting Arizona, 73-71 (AZ -8), setting up what should be a thrilling Gonzaga-Xavier Western Regional Final at the SAP Center in Sacramento Saturday (TBS, 6:09 p.m. EDT; GONZ -8, 145, BetOnline).



“We did pretty well on Thursday. Not much Sharp action on the sides, but the two we did have a bit on (Xavier, Kansas), did cash for them,” said’s Scott Cooley of Thursday’s slate “But they [Sharps] loved the over in the Gonzaga game and the under in the Purdue game, so both of those turned out well for us.”

On Friday, BookMaker was pulling for UCLA with Cooley commenting, “We’ll be pleased if Kentucky comes through and wins big. The public is all over UNC and Florida,” with Dave Mason of BetOnline reporting via Twitter the Sharps were backing the same sides at his shop.



 Offshores Seeing Betting Increases Over Last Year, More Futures Book Action

Offshore sportsbooks are again doing record-setting business with the popularity of sports gambling and March Madness continuing to rise yearly. “Our handle has been great throughout the tournament thus far, said’s Cooley. “Last year was great as well, but this is the highest ever. We’re up almost 5 percent at this point in the tournament.”

And Futures Book betting also continues to rise in popularity, handle, and almost always, hold as more mainstream media cover sports gambling and some of the political correctness erodes. “Futures betting has been increasing steadily for the past five or so years,” Cooley said. “As the media has focused more and more on the futures market, the public betting has got in on the fun.”

Cooley said his shop was in a good spot in terms of Futures Book exposure. “At this point, we’ve deflected a lot of our big liability,” he said. “The Tar Heels (+600 to win NCAA Championship, BetOnline) would sting just a bit, and Gonzaga (10/1, BetOnline) is in that boat too, but not as much.”


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