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Two tickets were punched to the Final Four yesterday by No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Houston, and now the last two spots are up in the air in tonight’s Elite Eight showdowns.
No. 1 Gonzaga will take on No. 6 USC at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT on TBS, with No. 1 Michigan and No. 11 UCLA facing off afterward at 9:57 p.m. ET/6:57 p.m. PT on TBS.
In tonight’s opening matchup, undefeated Gonzaga is not a double-digit favorite for the first time this NCAA tournament. After opening as 9-point chalk, Gonzaga (-440 moneyline) is down to -8.5 against surging USC (+360 ML). The total has had a sizable shift, dropping from 155.5 to its current number of 153.
“USC won’t be intimidated by Gonzaga, and I think they can give them a good game,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “Both teams are 3-0 against the spread in the tournament. Now you’re getting 8.5 points on a very talented USC team, which should draw plenty of USC money. I’d be shocked if we needed anyone big in this one.”
Many William Hill bettors still think the Bulldogs will move to 30-0 tonight and cover while doing so. Gonzaga has generated 63% of the total number of tickets and 56% of the total dollars wagered among all spread bets vs. USC, along with 66% of the total number of tickets and 68% of the total dollars wagered for all moneyline bets.
The biggest wager in this West Coast clash, though, is on the underdog. A Nevada bettor placed $22,000 on USC +9 (-110) for a total potential payout of $42,000, which is the largest spread bet for tonight’s action as of now at William Hill.
There’s division on the total, however. While the over has the edge with 55% of the total number of tickets, the under has the advantage with 66% of the total dollars wagered.
The second contest has also featured spread movement in favor of the underdog. Michigan was originally displayed at -7.5 against UCLA. Now the Wolverines (-300 ML) are -6.5 over the Bruins (+250 ML). Meanwhile, the total has gone from 137 to 135.5.
“Michigan has overcome no [Isaiah] Livers and they looked awfully strong against Florida State,” Bogdanovich said. “UCLA is peaking at the right time though, and wouldn’t it be something if they beat Michigan and Michigan State in the same tournament? They were fortunate to beat Alabama, but UCLA has just been cashing tickets every game. I don’t think we’ll have a big decision one way or the other for this game either.”
The favorite here is receiving the majority of the betting action as well. Michigan has collected 64% of the total number of tickets and 67% of the total dollars wagered among all spread bets vs. UCLA, as well as 64% of the total number of tickets and 70% of the total dollars wagered for all moneyline wagers.
Each team has attracted a noteworthy wager to pull off the victory tonight. A $15,745 wager came in on Michigan ML -330 for a total potential payout of $20,516.20, whereas UCLA ML +260 landed a $4,000 bet for a total potential payout of $14,400.
There’s alignment on the total too, as the over has snagged 73% of the total number of tickets and 63% of the total dollars wagered.
In fact, one Nevada bettor is hoping for a pair of low-scoring affairs tonight. An $11,000 wager was put on both Gonzaga vs. USC under 153.5 (-110) and Michigan vs. UCLA under 136 (-110) for total potential payouts of $21,000 apiece.
Check out William Hill’s latest odds and trends for tonight’s Elite Eight games below.