March Madness grinding down to 32: Why betting on the Murray State Racers in the next round is the smart play
The starting 64-team field has been sliced in half and now we're down to 32.
On Saturday and Sunday, 16 more March Madness games will cut the field down even further and we'll end up with what's called the "Sweet 16." However, what we're looking for is "sweet money," which means identifying matchups we think can produce a profit.
The epic upset everyone is talking about is St. Peters College upsetting mighty Kentucky 85-79 in the first round as 19-point dogs.
St. Peters (#15) has instantly become the darling of the tournament, which may provide some betting value by taking the other side. That means taking Murray State (#7) in the next matchup. No doubt, sentiment will be with the Peacocks, but the smart money is probably on the Racers, who are listed as 8.5-point favorites according to Spreads.ca. The Over-Under is set at 130.
OPINION (courtesy of Pointspreads.ca):
Murray State (31-2) is a truly dominant team. St. Peters (20-11) is a marginal Cinderella team off the biggest win in its history, but is nowhere in the class of the Racers.
It's no fun being the bad guy in the room cheering against a great sports story like St. Peters, but if you're hosting the basketball-watching party, it's always better to end up as a winner when the buzzer sounds.
The Peacocks will have trouble recreating the same magic that carried them to a huge win on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Racers played a sloppy game in the opening round, winning a lackluster 5-point victory (non cover) against the San Francisco Dons, which isn't exactly in the class of the Kentucky Wildcats. Casual observers will jump on the dogs in this next game. However, basketball is a game of zigging and zagging and ups and downs, and we look for both teams to revert to expected pre-tournament form in this matchup where one team lost 11 games against an opponent that lost just 2 games during the entire season.
Laying -8.5 is a reasonable proposition here. In fact, the Peacocks' big upset over Kentucky likely means Murray State won't be taking this opponent lightly. Bet the Racers to win, cover, and advance into the Sweet 16.
Tipoff is set for Saturday at 7:45 pm ET in Indianapolis.