The Oral Roberts story has been one of the best in the 2021 NCAA men's tournament, and bettors aren't ready for it to end.
There are four Sweet 16 games on Saturday. The highest ticket percentage of any team at BetMGM in the four games is Oral Roberts +11.5 over Arkansas. Of all the tickets BetMGM has written on that game, 74 percent are on the Golden Eagles.
There have only been two No. 15 seeds to make the Sweet 16. Florida Gulf Coast made it in 2013 and Oral Roberts is the second. Everyone loves a good Cinderella story.
Who are bettors taking for Saturday's games?
There has been some line movement in the other games at BetMGM. Here's a quick look at all four Saturday games (we've also broken down both regions that play today and have picks for the games and trends as well) and the betting patterns at BetMGM:
Loyola Chicago vs. Oregon State: There were a couple of reverse line movements in this game, in which a majority of the bets are on one side but the line moves the other.
Loyola Chicago opened as a 6.5-point favorite and moved to -7. That happened despite Oregon State getting 59 percent of the bets and 54 percent of the tickets. There was a similar move in the total. It started at 126.5 and despite 75 percent of tickets and 68 percent of the money on the over, the line moved down 1.5 points to 125.
Generally when that happens it indicates some sharp money on the less popular side, in this case Loyola Chicago and the under. There was a $306,000 bet on Loyola Chicago -6 to win $255,000 (the bettor "bought" a half-point, pushing the line from -6.5 to -6 but at -120 odds instead of the standard -110).
Baylor vs. Villanova: Bettors love the Bears.
Baylor is getting 73 percent of the money and bets in this matchup. The line has moved a full point from -6.5 to -7.5. Baylor has been a good team all season and looked great in dismantling Wisconsin in the second round last week.
The over has gotten 82 percent of the bets and 80 percent of the money, pushing that line from 139 to 141.5.
Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts: Oral Roberts has had the highest percentage of tickets for any team in the Sweet 16 round, though the amount of money bet on the Golden Eagles at +11.5 is a little lower at 66 percent. Still, it's the rare situation in which BetMGM will be rooting on a big favorite to cover.
There have been some larger bets on the under. While 69 percent of bets are on the over, and 52 percent of the money is on the under. That indicates a lot of small bets on the over and larger (maybe sharper) bets on the under. That line has moved from 159 to 158.
Houston vs. Syracuse: There is another interesting reverse line move in this game.
While 60 percent of the tickets and 69 percent of bets are on Syracuse, the line has moved the other way. Houston went from -6 to -6.5. Again, that's generally an indication that a highly respected player or two has taken the Cougars.
The under is the popular play on the total. The under is getting 63 percent of the bets and 55 percent of the money, yet the line has moved from 140 to 140.5.
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