Today March Madness continues with a pair of Elite 8 matchups. You can track the latest odds and betting percentages for both games using our VSiN Betting Splits.

In the meantime, let’s examine where smart money is leaning for tonight’s NCAA Tournament doubleheader.


6:09 p.m. ET: Illinois vs Connecticut (-8.5, 155)

This East Region matchup will be played at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Illinois (29-8) is the 3-seed and just outlasted Iowa State 72-69 in the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, Connecticut (34-3) is the 1-seed and just crushed San Diego State 82-52 in the Sweet 16. This line opened with Connecticut listed as an 8.5-point neutral site favorite. The public isn’t scared off by the big spread and they’re rushing to the window to lay the points with the powerhouse Huskies. However, despite receiving 65% of spread bets we’ve seen Connecticut remain stagnant at -8.5. Every time this line rises to Connecticut -9 we’ve seen sharp Illinois +9 buyback, dropping the line back down to Connecticut -8.5. Essentially, we are seeing a sharp line freeze on Illinois, with sportsbooks reluctant to raise the line further off the opener for fear of handing out a better number to brave Illinois backers. Illinois is the top contrarian play of the day, receiving only 35% of spread bets. Ken Pom has Connecticut winning by six points (82-76), which provides actionable value on Illinois at the current price (+8.5). Those looking to go contrarian and take the points with the Fighting Illini would be wise to wait and/or shop around for a +9. Illinois has value as a “dog who can score” system match, as the Illini are averaging nearly 85 PPG, thereby keeping pace and opening up an opportunity for a backdoor cover.

8:49 p.m. ET: Clemson vs Alabama (-3.5, 164.5)

This West Region matchup will be played Arena in Los Angeles, California. Clemson (24-11) is the 6-seed and just upset Arizona 77-72 in the Sweet 16. Similarly, Alabama (24-11) is the 4-seed and just upset North Carolina 89-87 in the Sweet 16. This line opened with Alabama listed as a 3.5-point neutral site favorite. The public thinks this line is a bit short and they’re laying the points with Alabama. However, despite receiving 61% of spread bets we’ve seen Alabama remain frozen at -3.5. The line has even briefly dipped down to Alabama -3. On the other hand, we’ve never seen it rise to -4. Normally, if a team is getting such popular support you would see the line move in their favor. Reading between the lines, all movement and liability seems to be on Clemson plus the points, as the line has always stayed the same or moved slightly in favor of the Tigers. Ken Pom has Alabama winning by two points (83-81), which provides actionable value on Clemson at the current price (+3.5). Clemson has the better defensive efficiency (32nd vs 102nd), better free throw shooting (79% vs 77%) and takes better care of the ball (46th in turnovers vs 100th).