Sharps and public betting on revenge in big college hoops grudge match

The biggest of the Big Monday games is seeing some movement in Las Vegas. Covers checks in on where the action is with Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US, which operates dozens of sportsbooks around Vegas and more than 100 statewide.

No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers at No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks – Open: -4.5; Move: -5; Move: -5.5

Three weeks ago, these Big 12 rivals met in Morgantown, with West Virginia dealing Kansas an 85-69 drubbing as a 3.5-point home favorite. That ended the Jayhawks’ 18-game winning streak (6-10 ATS), which dated back to a season-opening 103-99 loss to Indiana on a neutral court.

The Jayhawks (22-3 SU, 7-15-1 ATS) are coming off a pair of tight road victories, 74-71 over Kansas State to push as a 3-point chalk, and 80-79 Saturday laying 4.5 points at Texas Tech. In fact, Kansas is one of the worst spread-covering teams in the nation, at 330th among 335 Division I teams.

West Virginia (20-5 SU, 11-9 ATS) is on a 5-1 stretch (4-2 ATS) that started with the win over Kansas. The Mountaineers rolled Kansas State 85-66 Saturday as an 8.5-point home fave.

William Hill shops opened at Kansas -4.5 on Sunday afternoon, moved it to 5 early Monday and to 5.5 by late morning in Vegas.

“That’s probably a combination of public and sharps on the favorite tonight. Money definitely drove that line up,” Bogdanovich said. “Maybe it was just a little short to begin with.”

The Jayhawks surely have the revenge factor in hand, but there’s more to this matchup than that, Bogdanovich said, and he expects both teams to have their A-game.

“Kansas is playing for first place,” he said, noting the Jayhawks can maintain their one-game lead over Baylor with a victory tonight and perhaps even end up with a two-game edge, as the Bears are at Texas Tech. West Virginia could tighten up the conference race with an upset tonight.

“Both teams will be motivated. Both of them are fine schedule-wise and health-wise,” Bogdanovich said, noting tonight is a good night for both pro and college hoops. “A full slate of NBA, a decent slate of college. We’re gonna write some business tonight, and this will be the biggest-bet college game for sure.”

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.


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