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March 27, 2019

Sports betting with 'The Philly Godfather': Gonzaga won't cover and other Sweet 16 bets for Thursday's games

Throughout the football season, Steve Maltepes, known as “The Philly Godfather,” imparted his gambling wisdom on PhillyVoice readers. Now, with the NCAA Tournament underway, we'll take a look at where the smart money is going this March Madness season. Maltepes is one of the nation’s hottest sports betting experts who appears weekly on national radio and has his own website,

No. 1 Gonzaga (32-3) vs. No. 4 Florida State (29-7), Honda Center Anaheim, CA, 7:09 p.m. Thursday

Games 655 & 656 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Gonzaga minus-7.5 | Total: 146.5

What the line is telling you: We have Gonzaga winning the national tournament, but a 7.5-favorite may be a little too much over a big team like Florida State that ranks 10th in average height and 10th overall in effective height. We’re hoping the public drives the line up to 8-8.5 points. Gonzaga has had problems with big teams that are effective. The Bulldogs’ three losses have come against teams like St. Mary’s, Kentucky and Tennessee, and all three are in the top 50 in average height and effective height departments. Those teams were also top 25 in offensive efficiency and top 50 in rebounding and Florida State meets that criteria. The line is probably going to go up to 8. Gonzaga wins the game but doesn’t cover.

Bottom line: The smart money likes Florida State with the points and the under.

No. 2 Tennessee (31-5) vs. No. 3 Purdue (25-9), KFC Yum! Center Louisville, KY, 7:29 p.m. Thursday

Games 651 & 652 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Tennessee minus-1.5 | Total: 146.5

What the line is telling you: This line opened with Tennessee being a 1-point favorite with the combined total set at 146.5. Since then, we’ve seen a small half-point movement on the favorite, while there’s been no movement on the total. Tennessee is definitely the public team here and will garner the majority of the public’s money. We also have two-high scoring teams with a bunch of talent, so the total could start moving closer to tip-off. Both teams rebound well, but with a game like this, I like the better foul-shooting squad, which is Tennessee. Tennessee also commits less fouls.

Bottom line: The smart money likes Tennessee minus the points.

No. 2 Michigan (30-6) vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (28-6), Honda Center Anaheim, CA, 9:39 p.m. Thursday

Games 657 & 658 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Michigan minus-1.5 | Total: 126

What the line is telling you: Vegas opened this line with Michigan as a 2-point favorite with the combined total set at 126. The game is tight. Michigan has the better big men. The Wolverines play a disciplined style of defense, which ranked them sixth overall in personal fouls-per-possession. By contrast, Texas Tech is 193rd in the country in fouls per possession. Both teams are traveling a ton here, both 1,400 miles. Texas Tech is 0-4 against the spread anytime they’ve traveled over 1,400 miles, while Michigan is 1-0.

Bottom line: The smart money will take the better-coached team and that’s Michigan.

No. 1 Virginia (31-3) vs. No. 12 Oregon (25-12), KFC Yum! Center Louisville, KY 9:59 p.m. Thursday

Games 653 & 654 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Virginia minus-8.5 | Total: 119

What the line is telling you: Virginia is the more complete team. Oregon has played some great basketball in the tournament, but they’ve ranked 230th in defense when it comes to personal fouls-per-possession. Against a team like Virginia, which is ranked 14th overall in turnovers-per-possession. It’s going to be real difficult to stay within the Vegas number. Sports bettors definitely don’t trust this Virginia team, given their recent history and Oregon has become an underdog that the recreational sports bettor loves to back. By tip-off, the bets may go to the trendy underdog, Oregon.  

Bottom line: The smart money likes to go against the public here. Virginia minus-8 is what we like, with a small play on the over.

Betting lines are subject to change.

The Philly Godfather can be followed on Twitter @Phillygodfather & his website is

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