According to the guys at VegasWatch there is no way that Memphis should be a 2 point favorite for Saturday's game. By examining the odds to win the whole thing, and the odds for saturdays matchups, they found some interesting discrepencies:
I believe that the lines for Saturday's games are off. Let me explain.
There is a popular myth that the books always set the lines at a number that will receive split action on both sides, and make their money off the "juice". If one monitors the lines with any regularity, you realize this is simply not true. The books set the lines that will maximize their profits. A lot of the time, this means inducing the majority of people to bet on one side, while the books believe that side will lose over 50% of the time. This happens on a nightly basis throughout the season.
This weekend, however, is a different animal. To minimize risk, the oddsmakers do tend to set the line in a way which will draw split action for really big events, such as the Super Bowl and Final Four. The reason for this is if they guess wrong- if most people bet on one side, and that side wins- it is a devastating blow, since so much money is wagered on these games.
UNC and Memphis are the popular teams right now, since each played so well last weekend. But let's look back a couple weeks ago, and see where the oddsmakers had each of these teams ranked:
1t. North Carolina
Now, things can certainly change over the course of a couple weeks, but they can't change much. After all, each of these teams are 4-0 over that span. According to these rankings, a KU-UNC game would've been a pick'em two weeks ago, and now the Tar Heels are favored by 3. That is an enormous jump. This is pretty clear proof that the oddsmakers don't actually think UNC is three points better than the Jayhawks. But they know that if they'd set the line at UNC -1, or whatever it should be, they'd get a ridiculous amount of action on Carolina, and would be putting themselves at risk to lose a huge amount of money.
The same can be said for the other game- UCLA was two spots ahead of Memphis before the tournament, and now the Tigers are suddenly 2 points better? I don't think so.
Take a look at the whole article, its pretty interesting stuff.