Memphis gaining love and Kevin

Apr 1, 2008 7:00 PM

Road to San Antonio by Mark Mayer |


For a team that complained about lack of respect, Memphis has sure received much love early on from the Las Vegas oddsmakers.

"Memphis was dominating in wins over Michigan State and Texas, which we’ve recognized," said Mike Seba, college basketball analyst at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the first source for Vegas lines. "Bettors tend to remember what they last saw. Memphis played Sunday. UCLA won on Saturday."

LVSC opened the game with Kevin Love’s UCLA Bruins a 1-point favorite, but Memphis went to -1 at the Hilton and -2 at some offshore books. Not that offshore books matter when it comes to Vegas wagers, but bettors do take notice of differing lines to see if it’s worth shopping for a better deal.

Saturday’s second semifinal matchup was spot on with North Carolina a 3-point favorite over Kansas. The Hilton totals for the two games were 134 (Memphis-UCLA) and 157½ (UNC-Kansas).

"Actually the lines were rather easy to figure," Seba said. "The tough lines are games like Davidson-Kansas. We opened it at Kansas -10½. The public bet it down to 9 and it closed at 10. Kansas was lucky to beat Davidson. That subpar effort impacted the UNC line."

LVSC opened UCLA as the slight favorite to the Bruins’ third straight Final Four appearance.

"That was certainly enough reason to make UCLA the favorite over a Memphis team that really hasn’t been this far in a long time," Seba said. "The Bruins beat Xavier like they didn’t belong, but as I said Memphis played the more recent game and the public remembers."

As for possible national title matchups Monday night, Seba came up with the earliest of lines.

"If Carolina plays Memphis, we would have UNC -1½," he said. "If it’s UNC-UCLA, we’d say Carolina -2½. Kansas vs. Memphis would be a pick’em, while we would open Kansas a 1-point favorite over UCLA due to having defeated the Tar Heels on Saturday."

While we wait until this epic Final Four matchups, there are games during the week that will keep bettors involved.

"It’s kind of neat to see a best-of-3 setup for the CBI final between Bradley and Tulsa," Seba said. "Granted they aren’t marquee teams, but we’re getting some action. And, the betting on women’s basketball is up. Connecticut has been a popular selection from what I’ve heard."

As for Final Four predictions, we’ll wait until Saturday. Check the website.

odds c/o LV Hilton