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Round 1 NCAA Tournament Gambling

It’s all about the Madness

Game on…sort of

Our appetizer arrived last night, with the Morehead State Eagles, who were listed as 3-point faves, crushing the dreams of the Alabama State Hornets in this year’s play-in game. The Eagles win and cover gets them a spot in the Big Dance and a date with….the top-seed Louisville Cardinals.

The full meal-deal begins tomorrow when the tourney tips off.

– The Duke Blue Devils begin March Madness 2009 with a tilt against the Binghamton Bearcats; Duke is listed at massive 21.5-point favorites and the Total is set at 138.5.

SPORTSBETTING.com players have been shy about laying the big points in this matchup, and while the starting five of the Binghamton Bearcats aren’t even household names in their own houses, beating them by 22 still poses a big task. So far the betting volume has been evenly split, with the Bearcats getting 47% of the action and Duke currently sitting at 53%.

Maybe the Bearcat backers are on to something. While Duke has, quite predictably, built up an impressive straight up mark the last 20 times they’ve been favored by 8 points or more (they’re 19-1 straight up in those games), they haven’t been a profitable bet against the number, only covering eight times (8-11-1 ATS).

The Over/Under of 138.5 is starting to see some betting action as game-time gets closer. The players at SPORTSBETTING.com have been partial to the “Over”, as 67% of all action has been tilted to a high scoring game.

However, one trend goes against the betting volume, as the lads from Durham have produced a mark of 6 unders and 14 overs the last 20 times they have been a favorite of -8 and above.

– Another first round matchup getting early attention is over in the West bracket.

The Memphis Tigers were one of the hottest teams going into last year’s tournament with a record of 33-1 and while this year’s squad has more losses, they aren’t far off last year’s pace at 31-3 (and are on a 25-game winning streak)

More importantly, Memphis is a very profitable 20-11-2 ATS heading into tourney action.

The Tigers open up against the Cal State Northridge Matadors listed as 19.5-point favorites.

How has this team fared when favored by a big chunk of points?

They’ve made their backers money, that’s how. When asked to lay 9 points or more they boast a mark of 12-6-2 ATS. Meanwhile, CS Northridge has only managed to cover eight times when they are a double-digit dog, going 8-12 ATS.

Looking at a Total play? A quick note, Memphis trends to the Under so far this year, with a record of 11 overs and 22 unders up to this point.

SPORTSBETTING.com is reporting lopsided action on Memphis in this one, as the Tigers have been a bettors favorite all year, and that continues. 79% of all the action wagered on this one so far is tabbed on Memphis.

– The Gonzaga Bulldogs are, more often than not, a solid tournament performer and they begin their 2009 March Madness journey with a contest against the Akron Zips listed at -12.5 with a Total of 132.

The ‘Zags are money when favored by 9-points and above with a record of 19-1 SU and 12-8 ATS and while the Zips are merely 4-16 SU in the last 20 games in the same situation, they are a sharp 13-6-1 against the spread.

Action has been pretty even, with Gonzaga getting a slight edge at 56% of the wagering action on this first round battle.

The Big Dance is about to begin…get your brackets in and keep handicapping those first round games.

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  1. After surviving Thusday’s near meltdown against Cal St, Memphis will hopefully use this wake up call to start playing the full .40 minutes of a game. I still like their chances for a National Championship, but the competition only gets tougher from here.