Butler To Cover?

We’re kind of done with all the talk of Butler’s “improbable” run to the National Championship.

This is a team that was ranked in the Top 10 in some pre-season polls and flirted with Top 10 rankings during the season. They are a very good team and have been all year.

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But I get it, this is a great story and we all know how much the media loves “Cinderella” stories and “David vs. Goliath” scenarios...but the sports betting public needs to be careful, they need to cut through the bull, the hype and see a matchup for its merits, not to be overly influenced by the media’s point of view.

So what of this matchup?

Online sportsbooks currently have this line set with Duke -7.5 and the Over/Under is at 128. Reports from several sportsbooks has the Blue Devils as the early favorites of the sports bettors. Most are reporting betting action on Duke ranging anywhere from 60% to 75%.

Online sportsbook SPORTSBETTING.com was sitting with 68% of all the volume wagered on this game tipped to the Blue Devils, as of Monday morning. Sportsbook manager Brian Taylor stated, “since we put the line up on the Championship matchup right after Duke’s win Saturday night, the wagering split has stayed pretty consistently two thirds for Duke, one third on Butler”.

I asked Brian about the bigger wagers, the maximum limit bets that they have taken. “Interesting, but not overly surprising for us, of the big bets we’ve taken on this one, they’re split about 50-50, with the underdog getting their fair share. In fact, I’d say Butler has a small edge in terms of the volume from our big bettors”.

So do the underdog Bulldogs have a chance at the straight up win? What about covering the point spread?

Butler has been money for their backers when facing Top 20 teams, going 3-0 against the spread in the Tournament facing Michigan State, Kansas State and Syracuse and are on a 25-game winning streak. When you matchup the starting five for each team, the difference isn’t significant. However, that changes as soon as you hit the bench, where Duke has a clear edge. That said, I expect the starting five of the Bulldogs to chew up a ton of minutes, as the adrenaline keeps flowing.

Personally, when I look at the three top players for each side, Duke’s trio of Jons Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith are very good players, but might be getting a little too much attention, while Butler’s threesome of Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored aren’t getting the due they fully deserve (I realize that might sound strange considering the massive amount of attention all of these athletes have received the last week).

I like the matchups for Butler...I don’t think they’ll win the game. But to cash a ticket, they don’t need to. I think the line is inflated enough to provide real value on the underdog in this spot. If Butler can stay out of foul trouble and not have to rely on their bench in any appreciable way, they can keep this close right to the end.

This should be a great game. Enjoy the action.

Check the updated Duke vs. Butler odds.

By Kevin Taylor

SPORTSBETTING.com

Bet 2010 Final Four Odds

Posted: 4/5/10 3:21PM ET

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