Whether VSiN, the Vegas Stats and Information Network, is off to a splashing start after two weeks might be a matter of opinion. But the newly-created sports gaming media platform hit a big three-pointer on Sunday with its own version of Selection Sunday, featuring Las Vegas impresario Derek Stevens.
Stevens, majority owner of The D Las Vegas hotel and casino and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, punched in on his phone $11,000 on each and every matchup on the board just minutes after the opening lines for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament were released by the sportsbook staff at South Point.
Earlier in the week Stevens wired $352,000 into town.
On Sunday, he was the featured guest on the Selection Sunday Special, hosted by Brent Musburger, and bet using South Point’s mobile wagering app.
He splendidly wore a flashy sports coat that featured logos of his ventures, as well as VSiN and South Point.
On a remote camera in the sportsbook’s office, a cool and relaxed Jimmy Vaccaro sipped from a paper cup while being interviewed as over 41,000 viewers checked out Livestream feed in the final hour, not to mention the vast national coverage of the show on SIRIUS channel 215.
Stevens spoke in his usual enthusiastic terms rattling off his plays to Musberger, which consisted primarily of underdogs.
He was given the first crack into the lines set by the team of Vinny Magliulo, Chris Andrews and Richie Baccellieri. Vaccaro confirmed the lines were offered to the public only after Stevens placed his initial bet on a specific game.
Stevens selected only a handful of favorites on Thursday and Friday, tabbing Arkansas (-1 over Seton Hall), Wichita State (-6.5 over Dayton), UCLA (-17 over Kent State), Gonzaga (-22 over South Dakota State), Notre Dame (-7.5 over Princeton), West Virginia (-14 over Bucknell), Maryland (-1 over Xavier).
He also took favored Oregon (-15 over Iona), despite the impactful injury over the weekend to Ducks center Chris Boucher, who is out for the season following a knee injury.
Stevens tabbed both favorites in the low-seed play-in games, New Orleans (-1.5 over Mt. St. Mary’s) and NC Central (-2 over UC Davis). The Eagles have subsequently been bet up to a -3.5 favorite over the Aggies.
Stevens rounded out his picks by selecting his alma mater Michigan, which was a pick’em over Oklahoma State following their emotional tournament victory in the Big Ten. The line had moved to Michigan -2 following the first evening of betting.
Of the 32 games offered, the line moved against Stevens’ selection in just four games, including Notre Dame and Arizona. The other teams where the line moved against Stevens were his selections of VCU (took +3.5, now +4 against St. Mary’s) and the field’s biggest underdog Texas Southern, which opened +25 and moved to +25.5.
South Point had moved the line significantly on several more games following late Sunday wagering.
The biggest move came on Florida Gulf Coast, which opened +14 against Florida State, but the early slew of money streamed in on the Eagles, taking them down to just +11.5.
Florida opened -12 over East Tennessee State, but early money was extremely heavy on ETSU, driving the line down to -10.5.
Purdue opened as a 10-point choice over Vermont, but the Catamounts were adjusted to just an 8.5-point dog.
Minnesota was -3 on the opener against Middle Tennessee, but that line had already moved to a pick’em at many books after the sentiment on the significance of Akeem Springs’ season-ending Achilles injury continued to come to light.
Teams receiving a significant percentage of public spread money as of Monday morning included Wednesday play-ins NC Central and USC, as well as UNC Wilmington, Florida Gulf Coast, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, Rhode Island and Miami, Fla.
The top early recommendations here in the opening round are CREIGHTON, laying the short number against the Rams, and MTSU despite the now near pick’em against the Golden Golphers.
Stars Lonzo Ball of UCLA and Johnathan Motley of Baylor both received finger injuries during their conference tournaments, but were already listed as probable on Sunday night.