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Don’t Expect Much From Orioles in 2016

Machado Orioles

After being a surprise division winning 96-win team in 2014, the Baltimore Orioles fell back down to earth in 2015 with 81 wins and a third place division finish. Expectations weren’t exactly high entering 2015 with +3300 odds to win the World Series, and they’re even lower this season.


Oregon Looks to Extend Win Streak to 10

Oregon Ducks NCAA March Madness

The Oregon Ducks silenced all of the critics that mocked their No 1-seed selection with a resounding 91-52 victory over Holy Cross Friday. The win was their ninth straight and the Ducks will look to hit double digits when they face Saint Joseph’s in the Round of 32 Sunday.

Shark Bites
  • Saint Joe’s is 9-0 SU and ATS in its last nine games as a dog of 6.5 or less.
  • Oregon has gone 4-1 ATS in five Round of 32 appearances in the last 20 years.
  • No. 1 seeds are 22-3 SU versus No. 8 seeds since 2005.

Many felt like the Ducks were undeserving of their No. 1 seed and that the selection had robbed the Spartans of one of the four top spots. That has quickly been forgotten as the Spartans were stunned by Middle Tennessee and the Ducks are still dancing.

The Ducks have been a pretty good wager during their winning streak, putting up a 6-3 mark against the spread in their last nine. Books have opened the Ducks as 6.5-point favorites which is notable as they have gone 7-1 ATS in the last eight games when they have been faves at that number or lower.

Saint Joe’s has been no slouch either, however. The Hawks have a modest four-game win streak entering Sunday’s Round of 32 contest, but have covered the spread in each game.

They were 3.5-point dogs versus Cincinnati in their tournament opener, but prevailed – by the skin of their teeth mind you - 78-76 after a final Bearcats’ attempt came a fraction of a second too late.

With the way these two teams are playing, this has the potential to be one of Sunday’s best games.

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Xavier Unbeatable in Round of 32

Xavier finds themselves in a familiar situation when they enter their Round of 32 matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers Sunday. The Musketeers have not lost a game in the second round of March Madness since 2007, going 5-0 SU since then (and 7-0 ATS dating back to 2003). Xavier will be facing a Wisconsin team that has won four consecutive games in the Round of 32 though.

Wisconsin has gotten to the tournament by getting back to defensive basketball. The Badgers are holding opponents to just 64.6 points per game this season, which has also made them go UNDER in nine of their past 10 games. Wiscy played in a ridiculously low-scoring game against Pitt in the first round when the two teams combined for 90 points.

Xavier easily cruised past Weber State in their first game of the NCAA Tournament by holding the normally explosive offense of Weber State to just 53 points and a 38.6 shooting percentage from the floor. Senior James Farr’s experience has played a big factor for the Musketeers recently, as the forward has averaged 18 points and 12.5 rebounds in the past two games.

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SFA Looks to Stun Another Favorite

Thomas Walkup Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks NCAA March Madness

Many people liked the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks to score an upset in their Round of 64 matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers and they did just that with a resounding 70-56 win Friday. The Lumberjacks will look to make a Sweet 16 appearance with a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Round of 32 Sunday.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in seven of Notre Dame’s previous nine games .
  • Stephen F. Austin has covered the spread in three straight games.
  • The last time a six seed lost to a 14 seed was 1997 (won six in a row).

The victory was the Southland Conference tournament winners’ 21st-consecutive win. Books have SFA as 1-point underdogs versus the ACC giants as the Lumberjacks bettors will look to make it back-to-back victories at the betting window during the NCAA Tournament.

Thomas Walkup paced the Lumberjacks with 33 points and nine boards in the victory against the Mountaineers and was a blistering 19/20 from the free-throw line.

Notre Dame won both straight and against the spread courtesy a 70-63 triumph over the Michigan Wolverines as 3-point faves in their Round of 64 clash.

The Irish haven’t been at their best after a victory in recent spots, however. They’ve gone just 1-3 both straight up and against the spread in their last four games after a win in their previous game.

With the Michigan State Spartans losing in the Round of 64, the Lumberjacks are the last team standing that ranks in the top 25 in both points per game and opponents’ points per game.

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Are the Sooners in a Bad ATS Spot?

While No. 10 VCU is considered by some to be a potential Cinderella team, the Rams are far from an unknown in the NCAA Tournament. VCU has been here before – they’re participating in their sixth consecutive tournament – and are a powerhouse in the Atlantic 10. Next up on the docket is a Round of 32 matchup with Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Shark Bites
  • Oklahoma has only had one game go UNDER in round 2 since 2001.
  • Virginia Commonwealth is 12-3 SU and 13-2 ATS in its last 15 games with a closing total of 147.0 or less.
  • The total has gone UNDER in three of Oklahoma's last four games with a closing total of 147.0 or less.

The Sooners, who opened as 6.5-point favorites, have been a traditionally awful play in this spot. Oklahoma is 0-8 ATS in its last nine when favored by 6.5 points or more. The Sooners triumphed against California State in the first round but failed to cover the -14.5 spread.

Meanwhile, the Rams are a phenomenal underdog play when facing large spreads. VCU is 8-0 ATS in its previous eight when labeled as dogs of seven points or more.

Ten seeds have been very profitable against two seeds in recent years. Teams seeded No. 2 have gone just 1-4 ATS in the last five times that’s happened.

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All Signs Point to Villanova Advancing

Josh Hart Villanova

Villanova and Iowa will tip off Sunday’s March Madness action with the No. 2 seeded Wildcats looking to continue a stretch that’s seen No. 2 seeds go 13-3 (81.25%) vs No. 7 seeds in tournament play. Iowa opened as +6.5 underdogs, but they’ve been a complete stay away as far as spread bets are concerned as they’re just 1-8 ATS over their last nine games.

‘Nova is coming off a cakewalk of a win in the first round over UNC Asheville where their stifling defense held the Bulldogs to just 56 points. A first round win didn’t come easy for Iowa though, as they sneaked by Temple 72-70, sealing the deal with a buzzer beater in overtime.

Villanova has performed well as a favorite in the 6.5 range, going 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games in that spot. They’re also on a run that’s seen them go 20-3 SU after winning the previous game in a matchup — they last beat Iowa in November of 2013.

Another trend working against Iowa is their 1-4 SU and ATS record after consecutive ATS losses. They’re also just 1-4 SU in their last five games in the second round of the tournament.

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Syracuse Trending UNDER in Tournament

The Syracuse Orange come off their first round upset victory to face-off against another potential Cinderella in Middle Tennessee Sunday. If one thing has been constant with the Orange, it is that the UNDER cashes when it comes to March Madness. Seven of Syracuse’s past eight games in the NCAA Tournament have gone UNDER with an average combined score of 120.1 points.

Well, pretty much every bracket on the face of the planet got busted when Middle Tennessee topped Michigan State in the first round. The Blue Raiders were on fire as they hit 55.9 percent of their shots from the field including a ridiculous 57.9 from beyond the arc in their Round of 64 game. Four of the Raiders starters scored 15-plus points against the Spartans, with Reggie Upshaw's 21 points pacing the team.

After a tight first half against Dayton, Syracuse blew up their opening game of the tournament by outscoring the Flyers 40-23 after the break. Though the Orange scored 70 points, their offense was far from perfect, as they shot less than 40 percent. ‘Cuse has gotten this far on their defense, holding opponents to just 65.7 points per game on the season, but they will be facing an offense that has averaged over 80 points per game in their past three.

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Terps Have Lost Five in a Row in Round 2

Hawaii got a bit of a break in the first round and took advantage of an undermanned California team, but they won’t get any breaks on Sunday vs the No. 5 seed Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are currently on a run that’s seen them win seven straight game SU as favorites in March and will look to make Hawaii their eighth straight victim.

Those banking on Hawaii as this year’s Cinderella, take note —The Rainbow Warriors, which is either the best or worst team name in the tourney depending on your outlook, are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games following an ATS win. Also of note for those backing Hawaii — Maryland has lost five straight games in Round 2. Their last second round win came in 2003.

Conversely, Maryland has history working in their favor as No. 13 seeds have only beaten a No. 5 seed once since 2000. They opened as 6.5-point favorites — a number they’ve been successful at covering, going 7-2 ATS in their last nine in that spot.

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Raptors Own Series With Magic

In the wake of Cleveland’s deflating loss to Miami, the Toronto Raptors sit just 1.5 games behind the Cavs for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Next up on the docket for Canada’s lone NBA club is a home date with the floundering Orlando Magic. Home court advantage has been huge in this series, as road squads are a paltry 1-4 ATS in their last five matchups.

Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 5-2 in the Raptors last 7 overall.
  • The Magic are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
  • The Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. the Eastern Conference.

The Dinos have been fantastic north of the border as of late, going 14-2 in their past 16 at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto is historically rock solid versus the Magic, emerging triumphant in 12 of the previous 13 meetings between the squads.

Orlando’s defense, which was its major strength at the beginning of the season, has fallen off a cliff recently. The Magic are allowing opponents to average 109.6 points per game in their past 27, with four teams reaching at least 120 during that span. Three of Orlando’s last four opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field.

The good news for Magic backers is underdogs have been cashing when these two squads get together. Dogs have gone 4-1 ATS in the last five games between the Magic and Raptors. Orlando opened as 10-point underdogs at most shops.

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Mavericks are Ice-Cold ATS at Home

March has been mad for bettors of the Dallas Mavericks as of late, but they’ll have an opportunity to turn that ship around Sunday when they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to town. The Mavericks have managed to cover the spread in just two of their last six games. Dirk Nowitzki and company are also 0-5 ATS in their last five home games.

Shark Bites
  • The Mavericks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
  • The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings between the Blazers and Mavericks.
  • The OVER is 12-5 in the Mavericks last 17 games.

The Blazers are becoming one of the hottest OVER bets in the league, evidenced by the OVER/UNDER going 7-1 in Portland’s past eight contests. The OVER is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between the Western Conference foes in the Lone Star State.

Just how bad have the Mavs been at American Airlines Arena? Dallas is allowing an average of 111.4 points on 48.3 shooting during their five-game home losing skid.

Damian Lillard, who got clotheslined by Kendrick Perkins during Friday’s 117-112 victory over New Orleans, received a major scare but appears to be fine. The Oakland native regrouped, finishing with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

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