The Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA Tournament is upon us. Thursday features four games: Gonzaga vs. Florida State, Michigan vs. Texas Tech, Virginia vs. Oregon and Tennessee vs. Purdue, with tickets to the Elite Eight on the line in each one. The Bulldogs (-8), Wolverines (-1.5), Cavaliers (-8.5) and Volunteers (-1.5) all are favored in the latest 2019 NCAA Tournament odds, but are they the smart plays? Before making any 2019 March Madness picks or filling out a second-chance NCAA bracket, you’ll want to know who the “sharps” are backing. To bookmakers everywhere, sharps are professional bettors and betting syndicates who see a mistake in a line and pounce on it by making a large wager, also called “sharp money.” Sharps risk so much that they can quickly affect a point spread.
SportsLine tapped into its Las Vegas sources to see who the sharps are backing for Thursday’s 2019 Sweet 16 games. Here’s what they learned: wiseguys pounded the under in Michigan vs. Texas Tech, which opened at 127.5 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and then plunged to 126.
“We saw some sharper groups take the under in that game and we moved that number down,” John Murray, race and sports director at the SuperBook, told SportsLine. “Texas Tech and Michigan are both excellent defensive teams. They’re both extremely well-coached and value possessions.”
In fact, Texas Tech and Michigan are arguably the two best defensive teams in the entire country. According to KenPom, the Red Raiders lead the country defensively in points allowed per 100 possessions (85.5), while the Wolverines are No. 2 (86.0).
Sharps also know these teams like to play at a slow pace. Michigan ranks 341st out of 353 teams in possessions per game. Texas Tech is not much faster, ranking 265th. In essence, this will be a matchup of teams that don’t give up many points per possession and don’t have many possessions to begin with.
In addition, the under has cashed in both of Texas Tech’s 2019 NCAA Tournament games and in four of Michigan’s last five contests.
The pros are also all over one side of Tennessee vs. Purdue and Virginia vs. Oregon. They also have a strong opinion on the total for Cavaliers vs. Ducks, and what they’re picking might shock you.
So who are the pros pounding on Thursday? And which side should you back in Tennessee vs. Purdue and Virginia vs. Oregon? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams Vegas wiseguys are hammering in the Sweet 16, and see which side of Tennessee vs. Purdue is getting the big money, all from pros who make their money picking college basketball.