Money Shows For Butler
Connecticut Remains Favorite To Win NCAA Title
Tonight But Money Is Showing For Butler
Books Also Report Heavy Money Line Action
On Butler While Sharps Got Down Today On The Over
By Kelso Sturgeon
The NCAA Basketball championship will be decided tonight when two major basketball powers--Butler (28-9) and Connecticut (31-9)--get it on at Reliant Stadium in Houston in what figures to be a very competitive game involving two teams that have a long history of toughing it out to win. Connecticut is the favorite--at 3 1/2 points at some books and -3 at others. The total has moved upward to 129 1/2. The game will tipoff at 9:20 Eastern Time and will be televised nationally on CBS.
The question of the day is which will blink first? Figure that out and you have the loser and thus the winner.
--Here are the facts gleaned from a morning trip to several Las Vegas sports books and calls to three of the off-shore giants.
--Bookmakers in Nevada and off-shore say they are getting solid two-way action on the game, with the sharps taking underdog Butler and the 3 1/2 and the public all over Connecticut plus the 3 1/2. Betting has been light.
--For the first time in several years, the sports shops are getting heavy money line play on the underdog, with bettors taking +145 and +150 on Butler. There is little money line action on Connecticut at -165 and -170.
--Off-shore the books were hit with several big bets from the sharps on the over, which began the day at 128 1/2 and is now 129 1/2. Most of the big money got down at 128 1/2.
--Bookmakers say the game is an interesting matchup but that they expect lighter betting than usual on this championship game because it is rather easy to make a case for both teams.
That's the skinny. The rest is up to you.
I personally have strong feelings on the game and am releasing it as a 100-unit play, with an additional 15-unit bet on the total and then a 10-unit side/total parlay. The game is available on this website or toll free at 1-800-755-2255 for just $50, charged to your major credit card.
Forget Labels...Both Major Powers
In the opening paragraph of this column you will note I refer to both Butler and Connecticut as major powers--and they are just that. Trying to make this a Cinderella vs. Goliath contest of a 1/2mid-major' (Butler) facing a 1/2major power (Connecticut) is media-created foolishness.
Butler--the so-called mid-major--is playing in its second straight national championship game and in this same situation last year lost the title to Duke by a field goal, 61-59. The Bulldogs come into this championship game standing 13-0 straight up (SU) and 9-3-1 against the spread in their last 13 games. They are playing their best basketball right now. Butler's young coach Brad Stevens has taken his team to the NCAA in each of his four years at the school.
Connecticut--the 1/2 major'--has won two national championships (1999 and 2004) under coach Jim Calhoun, who is in his 18th NCAA Tournament and who has a record of 43-16 in the Big Dance. Connecticut is playing its best basketball right now and stands 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games.
Here is how the futures betting went on these teams for the 2010-11 season:
Connecticut opened at 40-1 and closed at 15-1.
Butler opened at 20-1 and closed at 60-1.
Thus we have two long-shots playing for the title. Here is how each reached the championship game.
Butler (Seeded 8th)
Butler (+2) 60, #9 Old Dominion 58
Butler (+8) 71, #1 Pittsburgh 70
Butler (+4) 61, #4 Wisconsin 54
Butler (+3 1/2) 74, #2 Florida 71 (OT)
Butler (-2 1/2) 70 #11 Virginia Commonwealth 62
Connecticut (Seeded 3rd)
Connecticut (-10) 81, #14 Bucknell 52
Connecticut (-4) 69, #6 Cincinnati 58
Connecticut (+2) 74, #2 San Diego State 67
Connecticut (-3 1/2) 65, #5 Arizona 63
Connecticut (+2 1/2) 56, #4 Kentucky 55
As noted earlier, I have a strong opinion on this game and invite you to join me in getting the money.
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