We’re a few days from the start of the Sweet 16 bracket of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, which means the odds for the Sweet Sixteen are officially out and beginning to move. Most of the lines are still at where they opened but a couple have seen the slightest of movement downwards. I thought I’d take a look at the odds, courtesy of Odds Shark, and make some early predictions on where the lines might head as we move closer.
No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 3 Connecticut – The Aztecs opened as one point favorites, but the line has since swung to Connecticut. The Huskies are now 1 to 1 1/2-point favorites. I’m not surprised by this given SDSU’s escape against Temple and UConn’s ease of victory against Cincinnati and Bucknell. The Huskies have been rolling and momentum is on their side, so most people bet on the streak. I think the line could swing another point or two by tipoff. My money is on SDSU to win it all, so needless to say I won’t be betting on UConn.
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU – Florida opened as a 2 1/2 point favorite and the line has stuck at that thus far. The Cougars have ridden the Jimmer-train thus far and I’m curious to see if folks throw a few more bucks down on this one-man team. I think Florida is easily over-looked but a little more hype could bring this line down a little bit.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Arizona – Duke opened as a nine point favorite and it’s mostly stuck to that, although it’s down to 8 1/2 at Sports Interaction. Duke almost blew their game with Michigan after destroying Hampton. I still think this Duke team is one of the favorites but it’s really hard to get in the mind of gamblers for this game. It’s easy to bet one Duke, but I don’t know how much that Michigan game scared people.
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Butler – Wisconsin opened as a 4 1/2-point favorite and the line has come down to 4 points. I’m not surprised people are putting money on everybody’s favorite Cinderella from last year. The Bulldogs have won both their games courtesy of late game insanity. Although they may not win this, people seem ready to think they’ll hang close again. I could see the line coming down maybe another point. If you’re looking to get in on this game I’d recommend sooner rather than later.
No. 2 UNC vs. No. 11 Marquette – UNC opened as a 5-point favorite and the line has since dropped to 4 1/2. I don’t think anybody really knows what to make of the 2010-2011 UNC Tarheels. They’ve got a ton of talent but they’re relatively young, which can make for an inconsistent team. I think people sense that and are willing to drop a few bucks on Marquette to cover, if not win.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Richmond – The Jayhawks opened as 10 1/2 point favorites and the line remains the same today. The Spiders snuck by Vanderbilt and dominated Morehead State, which doesn’t really tell us much about their upcoming matchup with Kansas. KU has cruised to victory thus far and I’d honestly think people would follow that, but Richmond remains a tempting pick. I actually think the line goes up to maybe 11-ish in the coming days.
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky – Ohio State opened as a five point favorite and is inching up into 5 1/2 points at several sports books. I think this line is only going to go up as more people let the decimation of George Mason sink in.
No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU – Florida State is a 4-point favorite in this game, but what kind of prediction can you really make with a pair of double digit seeds? What’s interesting to note is VCU may be in line for the George Mason path to the final four thanks to FSU’s beatdown of Notre Dame. I actually think this line comes down a point or two as more people bet on VCU.