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April 05, 2019

Sports betting with 'The Philly Godfather': Virginia and Texas Tech are the way to go in Final Four

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 in the Final Four. Maltepes is one of the nation’s hottest sports betting experts who appears weekly on national radio and has his own website,

No. 5 Auburn (30-9) vs. No. 1 Virginia (33-3), 6:09 p.m. Saturday

Games 803 & 804 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Virginia minus-5.5 | Total: 131

What is the line telling you: The oddsmakers opened this line with Virginia being a 5-point favorite and the combined total set at 130. Early in the week, we saw a slight half-point move on the Cavaliers. But there are still a bunch of 5s in the market. The total also saw a a half-point uptick, with some books making it a full 1-point move.

Auburn has become an immediate fan-favorite. The recreational, average sports bettor likes Auburn, giving it 65- to 70-percent of the tickets placed to be on Auburn. They like the points.

Virginia ranks 216 spots better than Auburn in rebounding and the Cavaliers are the much better free-throw shooting team. Virginia doesn’t turn the ball over as much as the Tigers. The Cavaliers also have the better big men. They rank 103 spots better than Auburn in effective height. Virginia has the ability to shut down opponents in three-point shooting. Virginia loves to slow the ball down.

Virginia is just too strong here. Auburn ranks 349th in the country in two-point distribution. Auburn is 7th in three-point distribution and Virginia is ranked 4 th in three-point distribution. Auburn has been playing great basketball. But once again, the Tigers are going to have to shoot lights out.

If Auburn has a bad shooting night, they could get killed here.

Bottom line: The smart money likes Virginia minus-5 and we like the over here a little.

No. 3 Texas Tech (30-6) vs. No. 2 Michigan St. (32-6), 8:49 p.m. Saturday

Games 801 & 802 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Michigan St. minus-2.5 | Total: 132.5

What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers are begging for Michigan State money here with that short line that they opened up with. The Spartans are only a 2.5-point favorite after coming off that huge emotional win over the No. 1 seed Duke. They’re playing a team that the average fan really doesn’t know anything about.

When it comes to three-point shooting, both of these teams are evenly matched. Both also cover the three-point well. Texas Tech is ranked 18th in the country and Michigan State is ranked 37th. This game is a coin flip, and anytime a game is a coin flip wise guys like taking the underdog. The key numbers in college basketball are 3, 5 and 7. The market could slide to 3, and come game day, the market will be all over Texas Tech.

What Michigan State’s been through takes a lot out of you. It takes a lot out of you. It drains you.

This will be a tough matchup for Michigan State. When it comes to opponent’s effective possession ratio, Texas Tech is great on defense. It’s ranked 15th in the country. Texas Tech disrupts what other teams are trying to do. They’re very athletic, and they a great big man.

Bottom line: The smart money is going to be all over Texas Tech here come tip-off time. By game time, the total could drop to 130, 129. The sharp money likes the under. 

Betting lines are subject to change.

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

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