NCAA Tournament Betting Recap: Did Action Go Sportsbooks’ Way?

Kevin Stott

Monday, March 28, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 28, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Here’s a look at this past weekend's college basketball action, along with an NCAA Tournament pick for a Final Four game for this coming Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The Sportsbooks always have the Math going for them as well as Human Nature but often things just end up falling their way and from a distance it would seem fading the Public and betting like the sportsbooks themselves would be a more profitable route in the Sports Gaming industry where it’s hard for the players to win in the first place. And that seemed to be the case in the NCAA Tournament again this weekend when things generally went the Sportsbooks’ way.

Let’s see where the money went and who profited from the eight (Sides and Totals) results and just assume the NCAA Tournament Futures marketplace was a very big win for the House this weekend with so many #1 seeds being eliminated. Here’s a look along with a pick for a Final Four game for this coming Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.


Oklahoma vs. Oregon
In the first Elite Eight game on Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners did sportsbooks a solid after the game opened a consensus Pick ‘Em and being bet up to Oregon -1 almost everywhere in the West Regional Final from Anaheim. So Ducks money and the Sooners won, edge sportsbooks. And the opening consensus Total here of 151 was bet up to as high as 152½ and was bet up everywhere (Over money), so the Oklahoma 80-68 final scoreline and 148 points scored putting it Under the Total was good for the House. They win. Again. And then toss in all of those Futures Book bets on Oregon (like mine) that won’t cash and there’s a little more profit for The Man although the liability for Oklahoma Futures bets is still out there, although probably extremely limited, depending on the sportsbook. Tonight (Sunday), Oklahoma is at +333 to win the NCAA Championship at Ladbrokes, but that will mean having to beat Villanova and North Carolina back-to-back. But it can be done. With Buddy Hield, anything can be done and if you (NBA) have a chance to draft him #1 and don’t, then shame on you.


Kansas vs. Villanova
In Saturday’s second game, the South Regional Final Regional Final from Louisville between the region as well as the Tournament’s #1-seed, Kansas, facing the #2-seed Villanova. And the NCAA Tournament Odds opened up with the Jayhawks as 3-point rock-chalk-Jay-chalks with Villanova getting the majority of the money in sportsbooks in Las Vegas, Offshore and Online with the number closing at 2. And with the Wildcats pulling off the upset over Kansas, 64-59, the Public seems to have done fair on the Side in this game.

However, the Total opened at 145 and was for the most part was bet up to 145½ and 146 at its highest, so the 123 actual points scored and the Under result were good things for the sportsbooks, as was the number of Kansas Futures Book bets that went down the Drain with the Villanova upset. Jayhawk bettors and fans can lay some of the blame on senior Perry Ellis who was 1-for-5 from the field and scored just 4 points and had just 5 rebounds in the loss but the Wildcats deserve credit for doing a great job boxing out Kansas and trying make the paint their own, even though outrebounded 32-28.


Virginia vs. Syracuse
In the second set of Elite Eight games, #2-seed Virginia was bet against for the most part after opening up as consensus 8½-point favorites over Syracuse and being bet down to (minus) 8 in most places. This means a small win for the General Public who made Syracuse their NCAA Tournament Pick, as they won outright, 68-62, in the Midwest Regional Championship Game from Chicago, stunning the world and the weekend as the #10-seed, and as a team the vast majority opined shouldn’t have even been placed in the Field of 68 by the Selection Committee. Many said the only reason the Orange made the Big Dance in the first place was because of legendary (and retiring) Head Coach Jim Boeheim.

The 71-year-old Boeheim had 0 points ad 0 rebounds for the Orange on Sunday. The Total opened at 122 and was bet up to 122½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Pinnacle) and 123 (MGM Mirage, Station Casinos), so the 130 points scored—74 in the 2nd Half—and 6 in the last 26 seconds sent this baby Over, another small but decent win for the players although it’s hard to imagine the handle(s) in this one rivaling the games featuring Big Dogs Kansas and North Carolina.


North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Sunday’s second game was the East Regional Championship from Philadelphia and saw its #1-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels become the only top seed to make to the Final Four with their 88-74 win over #6-seed Notre Dame. This game saw North Carolina open up as consensus 10-point chalks and then being bet down to 9½ in the majority of places, meaning the money that moved the lines was on the Fighting Irish and the Sportsbooks probably enjoyed that last 5 minutes in which the Tar Heels pulled away.

The Total opened at 156 and was bet down to 154 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), 153½ (Pinnacle) and even to 153 (MGM Mirage), so the 88-74 scoreline and 162 total actual points scored was also good for the Sportsbooks as the Over result cost the Under players their money and like almost always in basketball, the last 2 minutes of play was the story for the Side as well as the Total. Padded Walls are an absolute necessity when betting NBA or College Basketball as is a Nerf TV and a wife on another floor or quite possibly in another state. And in the end, as usual, the quirky results ended up being a good thing mostly for the Sportsbooks, including in the Futures Book marketplace where it seems any liability on Villanova (+260 to win NCAA Championship, William Hill), Syracuse (12/1 to win NCAA Championship, Ladbrokes) and Oklahoma (+333 to win NCAA Championship, Ladbrokes) would be only minimal while chances of getting hurt by the chalky Tar Heels (+120 to win NCAA Championship, William Hill) winning it all may hurt them a little bit more. But either way -and usually no matter what sport- the Futures Book marketplace is almost always a winner for the House and this College Basketball season will be no exception.

Final Four Pick for Saturday: Oklahoma +2½ at 5Dimes

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