After a sluggish start to betting college basketball odds due to rule changes, professional gamblers from Billy Walters picks to the current experts are in the midst of one of the best handicapping finishes, which commenced long before March Madness 2016.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The First Four in the bracket picks is set and here are some betting news and notes as well as NCAA Tournament odds.
Tuesday, March 15
Fairleigh Dickinson-Florida Gulf Coast
Past Cinderella time FGCU is a hefty -6.5 favorite. A key metric says Dickinson is fairly lucky to be here as the fifth luckiest team of the 68 and 20th most lucky in the nation overall.
Florida Gulf Coast is 3-3-1 against the spread, but with a +4.1 margin of cover. They made the bracket of 68 despite the 182nd best offensive efficiency at 102.7. However, FDU has bar none the worst defensive efficiency in this tournament allowing 114.1, ranking a rancid 335 in the nation. In a surprise, 73 percent of the early betting is on Fairleigh Dickinson, a high number for an underdog.
Many consider this the best “play in” game in history with Wichita State laying -3.5 or -4. The Commodores are the most unlucky team in the Big Dance with a luck score of -.110 and sixth most unlucky team in the country overall.
Wednesday, March 16
Oddsmakers say it will likely be a Southern night as they are laying -3 to Holy Cross. Holy Cross had just five lined games but covered them all by an average of +15.8. That is the best in the nation among teams with five or more lined games. Though only 3-3 against the spread, Southern covered by an average of +4.1.
Holy Cross has the worst offensive efficiency of any team in the tournament getting just 97 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 297 overall. Southern’s is third worst of Big Dance teams getting exactly 100 to rank 244 overall.
Holy Cross has the third worst defensive efficiency in the tournament allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions, which is 217th in the nation. Holy Cross had a better strength of schedule ranking at 295 compared to 336 for Southern.
In the battle of teams inside the bubble, Michigan is a 3-point chalk. Michigan is without Caris LeVert, who averages 16.8 points per game on 4.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He has not played since Dec. 30. A stunning 97 percent of the early Sunday night betting was on the Wolverines.
Margin of Cover (MOC):. Renamed “sweat barometer” in Chad Millman of ESPN’s column, MOC is similar to scoring margin, but it is measured by how much a team covers or fails to cover the point spread.
Luck Factor (KenPom.com): A measure of the deviation between a team’s actual winning percentage and what one would expect from its game-by-game efficiencies. Most handicappers would consider the luckiest teams to be overrated and with a downside and the unluckiest to be underrated with upside. Rankings are out of 351 Division I teams.
Offensive and defensive efficiency: Points scored or allowed based on 100 possessions.
For bets of pro gamblers, check out OffshoreInsiders.com.