Offshores Seeing Slight Handle Increases Over Last Year

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Kevin Stott

Saturday, March 18, 2017 2:55 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 18, 2017 2:55 PM GMT

The first two days of the Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament is always one of the most exciting, busy and heaviest bet periods on the yearly betting calendar. Let’s look at which teams hurt and which helped BookMaker.eu and BetOnline on Friday, and see who they fear as liabilities in their Future books.

More money will be wagered during the first four days of this NCAA Tournament than on the Super Bowl, with sportsbooks suddenly facing a barrage of hundreds of millions of dollars on schools with strange nicknames like Terrapins, Jackrabbits, Fighting Irish and Blue Raiders. With the sheer number of NCAA Tournament games on Thursday and Friday (32)—not to mention the also ongoing NIT and CBI tournaments and their games—this approximate 37-hour period of time is Heaven Time for Hoops junkies and college basketball gamblers and a period of much work for sportsbook managers, oddsmakers, professional gamblers, writers and sports media-folk. Whoever tagged this “March Madness” certainly got it right.

 

“The action has increased almost 5 percent through the First Four and first day compared to late year,” BookMaker.eu Spokesman Scott Cooley said when asked about the volume at his sportsbook early on in the Big Dance. “And we’re expecting that number to jump as we get through the full tournament.”

Over at BetOnline on Thursday, Sportsbook Brand Manager Dave Mason was tweeting how his shop needed Xavier—now 22-4-1 ATS in the Big Dance the L13 years—with about 65% of his players on Maryland (-2) and BoL and Mason won that round with the Musketeers defeating the Terrapins, 76-65 to advance to meet FSU in the West Regionals Saturday in Orlando.

BookMaker.eu didn’t fare as well on a couple of random First Round games, with Tournament underdog darlings Middle Tennessee State and UNC-Wilmington bringing good results for that Offshore book’s players. “We needed Virginia this morning and didn’t get them to cover,” Cooley said, “but the Sharp moneyline losses on Wilmington helped offset some of that. We’ll be rooting for Minnesota.... [We] had a boatload of smart guys on the Blue Raiders.”

BetOnline Sportsbook Brand Manager Dave Mason—who said his handle was also up a little compared to the this period last year— also said the players did well with MTSU, saying “‘Zona and MTSU were bad for us,” but reported positive results for the House from Princeton and Xavier. In Friday’s first wave of games, Mason said BoL players were “...all over Michigan” in the Wolverines game against Oklahoma State, eventually won (but not covered) by Michigan, 92-91 (OK ST-2½, BetOnline).

 

2017 March Madness Futures

When asked which teams his sportsbook had some exposure in their Futures Book, BookMaker’s Cooley said North Carolina (+580 to win NCAA Championship), Wichita State (+5000) and Rhode Island while BoL’s Cooley said that Duke (+600) was one team his sportsbook was concerned with along with Michigan and Saint Mary’s (+9000).

“We have the most liability on Duke winning the national championship,” he said. “Wiseguys popped them all season, and especially when the Blue Devils weren’t playing well and had some value. Once the field was set, we saw some underdog action on Michigan and Saint Mary’s to win.”

 


Free Second Round Pick: Villanova -5½Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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