Las Vegas sports betting sees big bets on college basketball in Arizona (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire)
Thirteen months ago, a customer at one of MGM Resorts’ many Las Vegas Strip outlets bet $500 on Oregon State, at odds of 200 to 1, to win the tournament. of 2021 Pac-12 hoops at T-Mobile Arena.
The Beavers had abandoned their regular season finale, at home to rival Oregon, after winning three in a row. They entered the league tournament at 14-12 overall, 10-10 in the Pac-12.
Nothing spectacular or special from any angle or metric. OSU then beat UCLA, 83-79, in overtime, again the Ducks (75-64), and then Colorado (70-68) to win the event and earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
In the NCAA, OSU beat Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Loyola-Chicago before pulling out against Houston in the Elite Eight. But let’s go back.
Five hundred dollars, at 200-1 – somebody won $100,000.
“Somebody did us pretty good,” says BetMGM trading director Jeff Stoneback. “Lost six figures on Oregon State, which went (to win in) the Sweet 16, to one. But talk about a turnaround; the Beavers have won three games this season, and only one in the Pac-12 .
Bettors are crazy about cats
At South Point, sports betting manager Chris Andrews and his team released their Pac-12 odds on Monday. Interest swirled, but he didn’t stop for a nanosecond when asked about his store’s biggest liability at next week’s NCAA Tournament.
“Arizona, definitely,” he said. “Oh my god yeah. We got a lot of Arizona money, a ton of money, on the Wildcats to win it all. Arizona is our biggest handicap.
With a new coach, former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, and an almost entirely new roster, No. 2 Arizona forged a 28-3 regular season. His only pocks are road losses against Tennessee, UCLA and Colorado.
Their selflessness, leading the nation with an average of 20.1 assists, is part of the Wildcats’ excellence. They’re also No. 5 in 2-point shooting, at 57.8 percent, and boast top-10 defensive efficiency, allowing a meager 0.890 points per possession.
“We also have some money from Arizona State, at 50-1, but nothing crazy,” Andrews said Tuesday. “That’s about the only one, but 50-1 isn’t that outrageous. Also, we have two locations in Mesquite, near the Arizona border, so we’ll get money from the Arizona of these guys.
“Also, we took some money off Xavier to win the Big East. But, again, nothing crazy.
No win of 200 against 1…. Again
An Oregon State-like windfall hasn’t been secured so far in 2022, as the favorites have served in eight of the conference’s first 11 tournaments.
Bellarmine (10 to 1 odds at South Point) in the Atlantic Sun, Delaware (8-1) in the Colonial Athletic Association and Wright State (5-1) in the Horizon League were the longest shots to win their tournament crowns.
The elite leagues have just begun their postseason events, and the consensus in Vegas indeed seems to favor Arizona as the top team in terms of money, tickets, and attention.
This interest is heightened at BetMGM, whose properties line the Strip and almost surround T-Mobile.
Stoneback expected Arizona to have five times the money of any other Pac-12 team. Ultimately, the Wildcats could garner as much as 75% of total Pac-12 tickets written, he says, compared to the rest of the league combined.
Vegas’ odds on Arizona winning the Pac-12 tournament ranged from -130 to -175. If the Wildcats face an opponent whose fans don’t travel well, it won’t shock Stoneback to see a 100-1 advantage in favor of Arizona.
“Our future chances might be a little higher on other teams, because of the money we’re getting on Arizona,” Stoneback said. “But we stay roughly at market price. We don’t really stray from it, just to make a bargain for professional bettors, or whatever.
“We just did it and hope it works out well.”
Sun devils, musketeers sink
Oregon State was 150-1 at Circa Sports and 500-1 at South Point, but it showed its stardust allowance was extinguished a year ago in a loss of 14 points against Oregon on Wednesday.
A doctor buddy who did his undergraduate work at Arizona State asked me to take a term ticket on his alma mater on Tuesday, and I found odds of 110 to 1 at Circa on the Sun Devils.
Alas, ASU 2022 wasn’t OSU 2021 either. On Wednesday, the Devils led by 17 with less than 14 minutes left but lost when Stanford’s James Keefe recovered a stray ball and sank an eight-foot pitch at the buzzer .
In the Big East on Wednesday, Xavier withered late in regulation against Butler and lost to the Bulldogs in overtime.
Thus, Andrews and South Point were relieved of any concerns about the conference’s eventual liability to both Arizona State and Xavier. Again, it’s good to be home.
Conference Tournament Betting Trends
Among the big boys, keep an eye out for Texas Tech, which is 20-11 ATS this season and a 7.5-point favorite against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament late Thursday night, according to DraftKings. The Red Raiders are about +275 away from winning the Big 12 tournament, at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.
In the SEC, Alabama’s games have gone from 20-10-1 to “over” this season. Crimson Tide’s total against Vanderbilt is 151 for Thursday’s tilt inside Amelie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
Additionally, Texas A&M games are 20-10 at “over,” and the Aggies-Florida total Thursday at noon ET is 134.5 at Amelie.
In the mid-majors, South Point has Toledo the -110 favorite to win the Mid-American. The Rockets are 22-8 ATS, just behind Middle Tennessee’s stellar 21-7-1 at home.
Toledo is a 16.5-point favorite against Central Michigan at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.
In the Big West, at the first event of the new Dollar Loan Center in the South Vegas foothills, UC-Irvine is the 3-to-1 favorite over South Point.
The Anteaters, whose games have been 15-6-2 against the underdogs this season, take on UC-Santa Barbara, and the game has a 125.5 total. Ten of UCSB’s last 14 games have finished “under”. The Gauchos are second in the nation in their last three games, with 55.4% shooting. The game is a pick ’em.
Long Beach State, one of the best coverage teams in the nation at 18-9, is a 5-point favorite on Thursday against Cal State Bakersfield, whose 6-16-2 ATS record is one of the worst in college hoops. .
Better bet? Conference or NCAA tournaments
Many professional and expert bettors are relishing the next few days when there will be up to 50 games on the menu.
For Stoneback, this is the best week in Las Vegas for college basketball, especially since patrons were able to attend one of five conference tournaments held in the city.
“If you like betting on college basketball and you like going to college basketball games, and you’re a college basketball fan,” he says, “this is Utopia week, more than next week.”
Next week, however, the NCAA Tournament begins, with 16 first-round games Thursday and Friday, and eight second-round games each Saturday and Sunday.
Andrews says the great paradox is that conference tournaments offer such exceptional play, but the real betting starts next week with the NCAA.
“Definitely an appetizer,” he says of the conference tournaments. “I’ve been saying that for years. Basketball is great, but betting isn’t fantastic. Maybe it’s just because our numbers [power ratings and point spreads] are pretty solid at this point.
“But the next phase, when we go into the NCAA tournament, you have a lot of matchups that never happened. This is when the betting gets really crazy.
Read also: Can I bet on college sports in my state? | Big Ten Tournament Odds | Big 12 Tournament Odds | SEC Tournament Odds