First big Super Bowl bet hits Vegas, now the wait for Gronk’s status


Super Bowl line now New England -4.5 at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas after a multi-million dollar bet on Philadelphia. Plus, the Gators go down while Auburn arises in SEC hoops…and Greg Peterson previews Michigan/Purdue Thursday in VSiN City. 

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Super Bowl Betting: You heard the early warning live on VSiN…then BIG money hit the board!
Jay Rood of MGM Resorts told Gill Alexander live Wednesday morning on “A Numbers Game” that there was a good chance a multi-million dollar bet was coming soon. Click here to see the clip if you missed it. 

Early Wednesday evening, confirmation from Rood by way of Gill Alexander on twitter (Click here to see that tweet). Soon many major media outlets were reporting the story. The first MONSTER bet to hit Nevada sportsbooks was on the Philadelphia Eagles plus the points. 

The markets had already signaled that something was going on when the MGM was the only prominent sports book to drop its line to Philadelphia -4.5. That’s in hopes of encouraging New England money to help balance risk. Elsewhere, Patriots -5 is the most common line. Offshore, a few shops are also dropping to New England -4.5. 

Market watchers believe public interest on the Patriots is waiting to learn the health status of star receiver Rob Gronkowski, who was knocked out of the AFC Championship game with a concussion. If the big guy is good to go, the Patriots become a much more attractive investment. If he CAN’T clear concussion protocol, we could see the line drop even further. New England is much less likely to perform like a juggernaut if he’s out of the lineup. 

Keep monitoring VSiN’s broadcasts and social media for all the big Super Bowl 52 news direct from the sports betting capital of the world. 

Sports Betting Industry: NBA lawyer suggests 1% “integrity” fee if betting is legalized in New York
Before we jump into basketball game recaps and Power Ratings, we wanted to make sure you had access to easy links covering this major story that broke Wednesday.

Brian Windhorst with an in-depth look at the league’s perspective for ESPN
Dave Tuley provides the betting industry perspective for VSiN

Extensive coverage will continue on VSiN programming and online throughout the winter and spring as we await the Supreme Court decision that could open the door for legal nationwide betting. 

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers make it 8 of 10 straight up and ATS with rout of Chicago
In the days leading up to Christmas, the Philadelphia 76ers were in such a swoon that many pundits were proclaiming “the process” dead. Years of losing…and all it got the franchise was young guys who couldn’t play together and win. Nobody’s saying that now.

Philadelphia coasted to a win and cover Wednesday night over the previously hot Chicago Bulls. That pushed the Sixers to 23-21 for the season, good enough for the #7 spot on the Eastern Conference totem pole. Philly is two games clear of the #9 spot, which belongs to Detroit. Below the Pistons are teams who’d have to sustain success for weeks just to sniff a shot at the postseason. At the moment, this maturing collection of talent very much has the look of a playoff participant. 

Philadelphia (-5.5) 115, Chicago 101
Two-point Pct: Chicago 44%, Philadelphia 53%
Three Pointers: Chicago 11/37, Philadelphia 16/32
Free Throws: Chicago 18/22, Philadelphia 15/20
Rebounds: Chicago 43, Philadelphia 48
Turnovers: Chicago 11, Philadelphia 14

Philadelphia won each of the first three quarters, carrying an 18-point lead into the fourth. A garbage-time stanza helped shrink the impressiveness of the boxscore. You can still see a stellar inside/outside attack, and a presence on the boards. 

The surging Sixers are 8-2 straight and ATS their last 10 outings. That includes road wins over Boston and Denver, with home wins over Toronto, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Detroit, and what had been a red-hot Chicago team (against the spread, anyway…still 20-6 ATS on its current run). This isn’t  a 10-game lull in the schedule the Sixers are exploiting in a way that could create illusions for handicappers. Philadelphia really is playing as well as 8-2 makes it sound. 

NBA: Updated estimate of “market” Power Ratings
Time for our weekly Thursday estimate of NBA “market” Power Ratings. As always, a quick disclaimer that NBA estimates are loose because of injuries to starters or unique schedule dynamics. We use a standard home court value of three points, then build a scale based on recent point spreads. 

88: Golden State  
86: Houston
83: Cleveland, Toronto, Boston, Oklahoma City 
82: Milwaukee, San Antonio 
81: Washington, Minnesota LA Clippers  
80: Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Denver, Portland
79: Charlotte 
78: Detroit, Utah 
77: Indiana, Dallas   
76: Chicago, New York, Memphis 
75: Orlando, LA Lakers 
74: Brooklyn 
73: Phoenix, Atlanta
72: Sacramento

Let’s see if Philadelphia nudges higher in upcoming matchups. Many of their recent victims are rated as superior by the market in this current snapshot. 

SEC Basketball: South Carolina upsets #20 Florida to make swamp waters even murkier
There are no great teams in the SEC this season. There are four that are unanimous top 40 in computer ratings. There may be twice that many who will be on the NCAA tournament bubble for another five weeks. 

Given the fact that they’ll be beating each other up between now and then, it’s still very difficult to figure out who’s going to win this conference, or how many teams will be dancing. 

Let’s run our standard computer rating recap for the possible Dance entries to assist those of you considering futures bets. These were the numbers from Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, and ESPN’s BPI entering Wednesday evening’s action. We’ll calculate the average ranking for you, then toss in Joe Lunardi’s most recent “bracketology” assessment as of publication deadlines…

Florida: 23-15-23 (average 20.3) (#5 Dance seed)
Auburn: 18-34-22 (average 24.7) (#4 Dance seed)
Tennessee: 34-28-19 (average 27.0) (#5 Dance seed)
Kentucky: 33-21-34 (average 29.3) (#5 Dance seed)
Arkansas: 43-39-41 (average 41.0) (#9 Dance seed)
Missouri: 36-44-45 (average 41.7) (#10 Dance seed)
Texas A&M: 44-38-44 (average 42.0) (#9 Dance seed)
Alabama: 58-50-54 (average 54.0) (#10 Dance seed)
LSU: 56-61-58 (average 54.7) (out)
Georgia: 67-62-80 (average 69.7) (out)
Ole Miss: 78-72-77 (average 75.7) (way out)
South Carolina: 80-66-89 (average 78.3) (way out)

We’ll see in a moment that South Carolina might make a nice jump after upsetting Florida. 

There’s general agreement about how these teams cluster between the computers and Lunardi. But, the computers wouldn’t have Alabama as a safe bet right now (you typically have to be top 45-50 to get in because so many auto-bids go to teams much further own in the computers). Nobody below Alabama has a resume that impresses the computers. Right on top of the Tide, Texas A&M has been sinking fast lately, and may fall out of consideration if they keep losing. 

Feels like six teams are a safe bet, but with the possibility that not even the eventual league champion will be seeded to reach the Sweet 16. What happens in the pack of mediocrity in the middle will determine whether it’s a banner year for bid volume, or the latest sign that the league is drifting even further from national relevance.

South Carolina (plus 10.5) 77, #20 Florida 72 
Two-point Pct: South Carolina 38%, Florida 55%
Three Pointers: South Carolina 11/21, Florida 6/23
Free Throws: South Carolina 18/22, Florida 18/23
Rebounds: South Carolina 34, Florida 34
Turnovers: South Carolina 10, Florida 12
Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: South Carolina 80-66-89, Florida 23-15-23

Standard upset of Florida. When the Gators don’t make their treys, they become mortal very quickly. Here, they lost long-range scoring by 15 in a game they only lost by five. Scoring on 1’s and 2’s was a 54-44 win for Florida…in line with the market price. 

South Carolina shot much better on treys than on deuces, suggesting this was more of a “lucky” win than an earned one. Though, credit to the Gamecocks for avoiding turnovers and maintaining their composure down the stretch. SC made its last four free throws of the game to seal the win. 

Not a shock that Florida was a bit flat off the nationally televised road upset of Kentucky this past Saturday night. The Gators had been 5-1 ATS their last six entering Wednesday’s action. For now, a bump in the road rather than a red flag regarding SEC championship hopes. Florida is 6-2 in conference play, which is tied with Auburn after this next result. 

#19 Auburn (plus 2) 91, Missouri 73 
Two-point Pct: Auburn 46%, Missouri 44%
Three Pointers: Auburn 14/32, Missouri 11/30
Free Throws: Auburn 23/26, Missouri 18/22
Rebounds: Auburn 31, Missouri 40
Turnovers: Auburn 10, Missouri 21
Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: Auburn 18-34-22, Missouri 36-44-45

Wow…those are the stats of a home game, not a road game. Auburn won inside and outside. Auburn played clean while forcing a ton of turnovers. Auburn dominated a host that had knocked off Tennessee in its prior home outing, and also had double digit league wins over Georgia and South Carolina on its resume. On this night, the visiting Tigers looked like the best team in the SEC, while the host Tigers looked much more like a pretender than a real SEC or Dance threat. 

SEC estimated “market” Power Ratings: Florida 83 at home…82 on the road, Auburn 82, Kentucky 80, Tennessee 80 at home…78 on the road, Texas A&M 80, Arkansas 78, Missouri 77, South Carolina 76, Mississippi State 76, Georgia 76, LSU 75, Alabama 74 (Sexton playing hurt), Vanderbilt 74 at home…72 on the road, Ole Miss 73.

Things can get murky in here from game-to-game as well. Depending on the year, the bubble usually falls around 77 or 76 on this scale. Alabama will jump back into the high 70’s when Sexton is playing at 100%. For now, the SEC is a league of potential Dance spoilers, and a potential NIT winner depending on which decent team is snubbed.

ACC Basketball: Miami survives Louisville in overtime in clash of potential ACC spoilers
While Wednesday night’s Miami/Louisville game didn’t include a ranked team, it included two who are unanimous top 35 choices by the major computers. (And, Sagarin of USA Today had it as a battle of top 25 teams in his numbers!)

Miami (-3.5) 78, Louisville 75 (in overtime)
Two-point Pct: Louisville 51%, Miami 42
Three Pointers: Louisville 5/22, Miami 6/22
Free Throws: Louisville 16/25, Miami 22/31
Rebounds: Louisville 38, Miami 49
Turnovers: Louisville 11, Miami 14
Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: Louisville 35-18-32, Miami 29-25-21

Tight affair. If you didn’t watch, underdog Louisville led most of the second half. An uncalled offensive goaltending on a follow-up dunk allowed Miami to force overtime. Hopefully you dog bettors got the hook. Neither showed an ability to pull away from the other. A game like that shines more impressively on the visitor because of home court advantage. So, Louisville may be better able to knock off ACC contenders from this point forward despite the loss. 

ACC estimated “market” Power Ratings: Duke 87, Virginia 86, North Carolina 83, Clemson 81 at home…80 on the road, Florida State 80, Miami 79, Louisville 78, Syracuse 78, Virginia Tech 78, Notre Dame 77, NC State 76, Wake Forest 74, Boston College 74, Georgia Tech 73, Pittsburgh 63.

College Basketball: “Running the Floor” with Greg Peterson

#25 Michigan at #3 Purdue (7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN)
Opening Line: Michigan -12.5
Offensive Efficiency: Michigan #55, Purdue #6
Defensive Efficiency: Michigan #18, Purdue #4
Rebound Rate: Michigan #117, Purdue #48
Percent of Shots are 3s: Michigan #70, Purdue #98
Free Throw Shooting Percentage: Michigan #321, Purdue #80
Pace: Michigan #334, Purdue #174

Purdue might be the most balanced team in the nation, as the Boilermakers rank in the top six in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Purdue is one of the top 3-point shooting teams while also having multiple 7-foot players down low.

Michigan is one of the slowest teams in the country and has a style on offense which emphasizes 3-point shots and layups. When Michigan is getting clean looks, this offense is highly efficient. Free throw shooting has been a problem. Michigan is 321st in the nation in free throw shooting percentage, which could bite the Wolverines in the butt if this game is close as Purdue ranks 80th in this category.

Michigan also is far from a solid rebounding team in comparison to most top 25 teams. Given Purdue’s size, Michigan will need to get the Boilermakers’ 7-footers in foul trouble to help alleviate this disadvantage.

To spring an upset, Michigan must slow down the pace. Fewer possessions means that there could potentially be less regression to the mean if Michigan can get off to a solid start and Purdue struggles out of the gate. 

BYU at #16 St. Mary's (11:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
Opening Line: St. Mary's -8
Offensive Efficiency: BYU #47, St. Mary's #3
Defensive Efficiency: BYU #37, St. Mary's #133
Rebound Rate: BYU #65, St. Mary's #19
Percent of Shots are 3s: BYU #238, St. Mary's #241
Free Throw Shooting Percentage: BYU #89, St. Mary's #26
Pace: BYU #291, St. Mary's #345

This game has the makings of a low scoring showdown with both BYU and St. Mary's being two of the slower teams in the country. St. Mary's actually has a style that yields a lot of points per possession as it ranks third on offensive efficiency and 133rd on defense, which is significantly below many NCAA Tournament contenders. There may not be a lot of rebounding chances due to this combination, the fact that neither team emphasizes treys, and the projected slow pace.

BYU does not have one facet of the game in which it hangs its hat on, but uses overall balance to pull out victories. BYU ranks between 35th and 50th in the country in offensive and defensive efficiency. This allows BYU to win both high scoring game in the 80's and lower scoring games in the 60's.

St. Mary's has the advantage on the glass and will look to utilize that to get second chances on offense and limit those opportunities to BYU.

An interesting showdown because the favorite has a highly efficient offense but a defense that doesn't always get the job done.

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