Daily March Madness public money update: Ohio, UCSB public 'dogs

Ohio Bobcats guard Jason Preston (0) drives to the basket against Toledo Rockets guard Keshaun Saunders (24) during the first half at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.

March Madness is officially here, and with the NCAA Tournament getting underway we’ll be bringing you a special edition of our usual public money update each day. With an event this large betting volume will be off the charts, and the public can actually move markets this time of year. It’s important to keep track of what the heavy public sides are, whether you’re looking to tail or fade that movement.

Check out our March Madness hub to stay on top of everything that goes on. Also, be sure to check out our picks on the side and total for every single game in the tournament. But first, let’s dive into what we’re seeing in terms of public trends on Saturday:

Texas Southern +25 vs. Michigan

It’s not too often you see the public gravitate heavily toward a 16 seed, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the East region with this Texas Southern/Michigan matchup. Bettors are clearly skeptical of Michigan’s chances of winning a blowout without Isaiah Livers in the lineup. 73 percent of the money and 75 percent of the money are on Texas Southern and the points here, per DraftKings’ internal numbers shared with us.

There also could be a general skepticism of the Big Ten after Ohio State and Purdue were both shockingly upset on Friday. Purdue was a big public side on Friday, and after getting burned bettors are now rushing to fade the Big Ten it seems. But it’s not like Michigan played poorly in their one game without Livers, and we think all this is an overreaction. We’re taking the favorite in this #1/#16 matchup.

UCSB +7.5 vs. Creighton

Know what else the public loves? A 12 seed underdog. Everybody saw Oregon State pull off the outright upset by knocking off Tennessee in dominant fashion on Friday, and they’re looking to go back to the well with UCSB over Creighton. 74 percent of the bets and 73 percent of the money are on the Gauchos to cover this spread.

The last time bettors saw Creighton play, they were getting smoked by 25 by Georgetown in the Big East Tournament. They’ve now scored less than 60 points in back to back games, while UCSB has won 18 of their last 19. The Gauchos aren’t your typical Big West team, and they’ve got a lot of high major talent that has transferred into the program. We like them here as well. In fact, they’re one of our ‘March Madness best bets‘ for today.

Maryland vs. UConn over 129.5

Switching things up with a total now, the public likes the over in this #7/#10 matchup here in the East region. They might just see a total this low and think the over naturally makes some sense. 75 percent of the bets and 66 percent of the money are on the over 129.5 here. The under went 9-7 on the Friday slate, and that was even with a couple brutal beats sending games over.

Still, the public is never going to rally behind an under. Maryland and UConn both play at very slow paces, so they’re going to need to be efficient in their shot-making if they want to send this one over. The under is also 5-1 in Maryland’s last six games, so we’re fading the public again here and going under. 

Ohio +7 vs. Virginia

Easily the heaviest public side of Saturday’s slate is Ohio here in the West region. Bettors saw one #13/#4 upset yesterday with North Texas over Purdue, why not go for another one? There’s often a lot of hype (understandably so) around MAC teams in the NCAA Tournament. 76 percent of the bets and a whopping 87 percent of the money are on the Bobcats and the points in this one.

The buzz around Jason Preston has been palpable, so it’s not surprising they’ve turned into a trendy underdog. The public also probably still views Virginia as susceptible to an upset (again understandably), due to the very slow pace that they play at. We can’t say we disagree with them on this one.

Texas -8.5 vs. Abilene Christian

What’s this, a favorite? Indeed, the public isn’t only liking underdogs on Saturday. Bettors are instead laying the points with Texas over Abilene Christian in this #3/#14 matchup here in the East region. Texas finished the season red-hot with a Big 12 Championship run, so it’s not hard to see why everybody likes them.

72 percent of the money and 63 percent of the bets are laying the points with the Longhorns here. But that’s probably because they don’t know much about Abilene Christian, and how good their defense is. The Wildcats have the best defensive turnover rate in the entire country, so we think they’ll do enough to keep it close.

Pickswise is the home of March Madness Predictions. Check out all of our March Madness Picks, including daily March Madness Parlays throughout the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

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