Bookmaker Gives Insight Into Thursday’s March Madness Games

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 18th, 2023
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Bookmaker Gives Insight Into Thursday’s March Madness Games

With the March Madness hitting full stride on St. Patrick’s Day, bettors are hoping for some lucky breaks.

Today’s slate of 16 games includes overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga’s quest to power through the bracket and win the title game April 4 at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The Bulldogs face No. 16 seed Georgia State in Portland.

As bettors look for insight, bookmakers are eyeing developments that could have an impact on the odds.

Kevin Hennessy, director of publicity for FanDuel Sportsbook, told its risk-and-trading team has traders who are “subject matter experts in college basketball.”

“We have ratings for each team that determine spreads, and the human element is key,” he said in an email. “Our traders keep an eye on injury reports, watch games, analyze stats, consume news and social media to manage our risk and make adjustment to our models.”

Louisiana Bookmaker Breaks Down Key Games

Casey Lewless, sportsbook manager at Penn National’s riverboat casinos in Louisiana, also applies knowledge of the game and other aspects in analyzing possible outcomes. Lewless also has experience in Nevada sportsbooks.

Lewless provided with the following analysis of some of Thursday’s key matchups.

Gonzaga vs. Georgia St. : Georgia State is one of the more inconsistent teams in the field. When good, they’re not bad. Gonzaga could name their number, but you risk being back-doored, say, being up 27 they pull the starters and Georgia State gets garbage baskets to beat you.

Memphis vs. Boise State: Tremendous styles clash here, as Boise State plays with a junkyard dog’s mentality and would like the game in the high 50s to low 60s. Memphis will be more athletic, but the coaching edge goes to Boise State. The Mountain West Conference was one of the best in basketball this year. I’m inclined to lean towards Boise State if the line grows.

Tennessee vs. Longwood: This is a true mismatch in every sense of the word. For the game it smells like another back door, maybe with Tennessee up 20 late, and a late basket or two will kill you. This might be one of those ugly 72-48 deals, so no telling an an over, but a late back door scares me on the side.

Iowa vs. Richmond: This is a battle of two teams that got extremely hot at the right time. Richmond’s four seniors decided to come back for one more run at this, and Jacob Gilyard at the point is a pest. Iowa doesn’t play great defense, and Richmond can give you four minutes of “what was that.” First instinct is over, but 151 is a lot. So I’ll lean to Richmond plus 10½. They won’t win but should cover.

Kentucky vs. St. Peter’s: A lot of talk in Blue Nation that there is unrest with coach John Calipari. St. Peter’s wants games in the 60s, and Kentucky wants to push the ball. St. Peter’s has no answer for Oscar Tshiebwe. Which style wins out? My guess is Kentucky’s, so I see over 131½, something like 78-61.

Arkansas vs. Vermont: First, though, there is something rotten in Denmark, as this line seems low at Arkansas -5. Vermont can score on just about anyone, and Arkansas’s 3-point defense is dicey at times. Rather than guessing at the plus or minus 5, the Hogs athletic up-and-down play, plus Vermont’s shooting, leads me to believe over 139 is low.

UCLA vs. Akron: UCLA could be headed back to at least the Elite Eight. The Mid-American Conference, let’s face it, is garbage, hence just one bid. UCLA has been waiting for this all year. I don’t like teams that make a big run like Akron did and then level off when they get to the Dance. UCLA can win by what they want, but the bench is weak, so maybe -13.

San Diego State vs. Creighton: As stated earlier, I’m not a fan of teams that get hot in their conference tourney, and that is Creighton. San Diego State struggles to score, beside Matt Bradley, who is sensational, and this just seems to be an ugly affair, as the total for the game is just 120. I’m going to go against everything I just said and take the first half over. Sometimes you just get a feel for it. For the game, I’ll likely take a pass but wouldn’t lay too many with SDSU.