Wiseguys pick Saturday's NCAA games 

March, 25, 2011

An interesting thing happened late Thursday afternoon, East Coast time. All at once, across Las Vegas, the spread for the UConn-San Diego State game swung three points in SDSU's direction, from UConn minus-1 to SDSU minus-2. I got a lot of questions about it on Twitter, so I called a bunch of guys I know in Vegas to get the answer. "When that happens, it's a syndicate play," one bookmaker told me, referring to the bettors around town who are known to cooperate with each other.

It wasn't long before I heard it was actually one sharp in particular, a very well known wiseguy who recently has been in the spotlight. Since I couldn't confirm with him directly, I'll leave his name out of it, but if you follow the column or the betting world, you know who I'm talking about. Quickly, the rumor around The Strip was that this sharp was trying to manipulate the line: He actually loved UConn at plus-3 and was hoping to spend enough on San Diego State to get the game there so he could pull the trigger right before tipoff. I don't think it ever got there, so we'll never know for sure whether there was a buy back.