Archive for the 'Basketball' Category

Buddy Heild Surprises Everyone—Even Vegas—in Oklahoma’s Tournament Domination

Mar. 27th 2016

Prior to the first leg of March Madness being played, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Oklahoma Sooners had a legitimate shot at making it to the Final Four. However, after defeating VCU en route to the Sweet Sixteen, people started to look at Oklahoma differently. When seeded in the West Anaheim bracket, with the top-seeded Oregon Ducks, most assumed that Oklahoma’s trail might end there, or even sooner. Vegas had them going off at 20:1 or worse for even the Elite Eight, not to mention the Final Four. Though after beating Texas A&M in the Sweet Sixteen, Oklahoma absolutely crushed the top-seeded Ducks 80-68 en route to the Final Four. And it wasn’t anywhere near as close as the score suggests. Led by Buddy Hield, Oklahoma is starting to look like the best team in the nation.

Hield wasn’t exactly an underrated player or anything. He was considered one of the top-five players in the NCAA this year, behind players like LSU’s Ben Simmons, who is considered a shoo-in for the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. However, after Buddy dropped 37 points on Oregon, a team with a good defense, many are starting to rethink their assessment of Hield, and certainly of the Sooners.

Buddy Hield opened up the game against Oregon on fire, and he never stopped his domination. He hit eight 3-point shots, which is Steph Curry-level greatness in a big game, and ended up dominating at the guard position for both halves. Another top-five player in the nation, Oregon’s Elgin Cook did everything he could to keep the game in reach, scoring 24 points. The Ducks had an 11-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s Elite Eight match-up, and they were the favorites to win. Vegas had them by 3 points, but by the time the first half was over, it was clear that Oklahoma was the better team. They led 48-30 at the half, and the Ducks simply couldn’t answer Hield’s relentless play. Apart from the points he scored, Buddy also rebounded well, grabbed loose balls, avoided making costly turnovers, and played tenacious defense.

Hield is an anomaly in college basketball today. He’s actually a senior, and he came back with the express purpose of leaving college as a National Champion. While the majority of top players in college leave after their freshman season, Hield stuck it out in Sooner Land, despite being a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year winner, deciding to finish what he started. And thanks to Hield’s impressive performance, Oklahoma is now in the Final Four and await the winner of the Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats match-up.

The moral of the story here is that the bookmakers don’t always have it correct as illustrated by the Vegas odds on the NCAA tournament prior to the elite 8. In fact, nobody gets it correct. There has never been a perfect bracket, and likely never will be. And especially in a down year like this where there’s no runaway favorite, the hottest teams get all the recognition as the best teams. Oregon was a hot team, winning 11 in a row. But, as was decided on the court of play, the Oklahoma Sooners were the better team, and Buddy Hield is the primary reason.

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Recapping March Madness 2015

Apr. 23rd 2015

For major television networks, thousands of gambling sites, and many satisfied gamblers, the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, AKA March Madness, went off without a real hitch. While there were the few proverbial upsets, and some great games that will go down in lure as some of the best to be played, it was basically just another successful year for the world’s biggest collegiate-level sporting tournament. Only since we’re experiencing more direct marketing and more media buzz every year since around 2003, this year’s March Madness was bigger in many ways: TV commercial spots, sports shows carrying coverage, social media exposure, etc.

Throw in Warren Buffet’s billion-dollar bracket challenge, and more people paid attention to this year’s tournament than ever before. Understanding how this year’s bracket played out might give one a better understanding about how to bet and what to expect going forward. So, without any more preamble, let’s get into the meat of this year’s freshly-finished March Madness.

Unexpected Surprises

As we see every year, with 64 teams playing in the NCAAB tournament, there are always a few upsets that really catch people off guard. For fans, these upsets are very exciting to watch and make March Madness worthy of focusing on; though for people who like to bet favorites, upset games are heartbreaking and result in lost funds. The first big surprise was number-seven Wichita State beating number-two Kansas. Not that a 7 vs. 2 is such a disparity to call upset, but most had Kansas penciled in for facing off against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Wichita State threw the dampers on that quickly. Not to be outdone, the surprise team of the tournament, Michigan State, knocked out UVA in the same round in the other side of the bracket.

The biggest upset of this year, however, was the Kentucky Wildcats losing a very highly contested game to the Wisconsin Badgers. While both teams were #1s in their respective brackets, Kentucky had amassed a regular season record of 36-0, seeking to become the first team in decades to win the championship with an undefeated record. After Kentucky’s slim two-point victory over #3 Notre Dame the game before, Wisconsin had renewed confidence entering the match, sure that the Wildcats were not immortal. Marked as the biggest upset in the last decade, Wisconsin’s win really shook things up.

A Gambler’s Paradise

While some gamblers might end up getting hit with a bad upset loss occasionally, betting on the March Madness tournament is truly a gambler’s paradise. It’s almost impossible to say how much money is exchanged during the tournament because of so many outlets, but estimating it as north of $10 billion is fairly safe. In paid brackets alone, where people aren’t betting game-to-game but are rather trying to perfectly predict the entire tournament, fans spend $3 billion. And it is estimated that per gambling sites, live hubs like AC and Vegas, etc, that number more than doubles. Plus you have to include all the wagers regular folks make between friends, at work, through social networking sites, etc. $10 billion is most likely a low-ball estimate. Needless to say, March Madness is a great time of the year for a gambler.

On the first day alone, there are 16 games to bet on. And up until the Final Four, you will always have at least four games to spread your wagers out over. Betting point spreads, O/U, straight wins, proposition bets, etc – there are dozens of different ways to approach March Madness.

How the Final Four Played Out

Barring a few upsets, the Final Four played out just as many predicted. Even we, your humble online gambling resource, hit three out of four Final Four teams with our in-house prediction. The Final Four played out with Kentucky vs. Wisconsin, and Michigan State vs. Duke. The Blue Devils, led by Coach K, dismantled the Spartans, beating them by 20 points, 81-61. Seeing as the Spartans had rolled through Georgia and UVA en route to Duke, no one expected them to get blown out of the water like they did. Anyone taking Duke to cover did well, as they were favorites, but the action was about even with many taking the Spartans to cover. On the other side of the bracket, Wisconsin and Kentucky fought it out until the final 30 seconds, when the Badgers pulled away. The vast majority of the action was on Kentucky, but those who took the upset were well rewarded.

In the championship game, Wisconsin and Duke battled it out in an instant classic game that saw dozens of lead changes, tons of action, and Duke’s freshman squad come to life in a very unexpected way, scoring every second-half point for the Blue Devils. Duke pulled it out and won by 5, after Wisconsin’s shooting went cold late, and Coach K won his 5th National Championship.

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Can Anyone Take Down the Kentucky Wildcats in March Madness Tournament?

Mar. 16th 2015

The Kentucky Wildcats are going to enter the NCAA March Madness tournament with a perfect record in the regular season. The extremely talented Kentucky team was only challenged four times this season. Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia all made the Wildcats sweat, but they were still able to find a way to get the victory. All four of those teams have a very good chance of making the NCAA March Madness Tournament, so Kentucky has faced some tough competition during their perfect regular season.

The Kentucky Wildcats were able to easily secure their perfect record because they are an extremely deep and talented team. They have 10 players that can potentially get drafted by the NBA in the next few years. One college basketball team is rarely able to amass this level of talent on the same team. Having so many talented players allows Kentucky to win even when a few players have bad games.

The NCAA March Madness tournament has been known for being completely unpredictable. Connecticut was the 26th ranked team entering the tournament last year, and they were able to take home the championship. This level of unpredictability will most likely not occur this year. The number of teams capable of winning the NCAA March Madness tournament this year is very small because the Kentucky Wildcats are too talented. Even if Kentucky has a bad game, there are still only a handful of teams that can beat them.

The odds of Kentucky winning the NCAA March Madness tournament in Vegas are currently +105. This means that a $100 bet will only win an additional $105 if Kentucky wins the tournament. Florida was the favorite heading into last year’s tournament with +550 odds. When you compare the odds between the last two tournaments, it is easy to see why the underdog teams may struggle in the NCAA March Mardness college basketball tournament this year.

Wisconisn, Duke, Arizona, Virginia and Villanova may be the only teams with a realistic chance to defeat Kentucky this year. While Wisconsin is currently only the sixth ranked team in college basketball, they may have the best chance at stopping Kentucky. The Wisconsin Badgers currently have the second best odds to win the NCAA March Madness tournament at +650. The Wisconsin Badgers have the best offense in college basketball, so they should have no problem matching baskets with Kentucky. Wisconsin’s defense also matches up well with the Wildcats. The Badgers usually only get hurt by penetrating point guards, but that is the one thing Kentucky lacks. Duke and Villanova also have great offenses, but their defensive struggles can easily be exploited by the talented Kentucky team.

The Virginia Cavaliers have the third best odds to win the NCAA March Madness tournament at +950. Virginia is capable of beating any team because of their defense. If Virginia’s relentless defense is able to force bad jump shots from Kentucky, then they have a great chance of winning. Virginia’s methodical offense will slow the game down, so the Kentucky offense will get less opportunities with the ball. The first team to 60 may win the game, but that is the exact style of game Virginia wants to play. Arizona also has a great defense that can stop Kentucky’s offense, but the Arizona offense might have to play a perfect game to win.

There may not be that many teams with a realistic chance of winning, but the NCAA March Madness tournament should still be fun to watch. The early round upsets will still occur, and we should see a championship game between two great teams.

Check out our page for current vegas odds for March Madness.

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UK UCONN Head to March Madness Championship After Huge Final Four Upsets

Apr. 7th 2014

March Madness 2014 has culminated with the lowest-seeded combination ever to play in the National Championship Game. The 2014 pairing of #7 seed Connecticut and #8 seed Kentucky takes place Monday night, 9:10 PM at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. We pointed out in our Final Four update that the Vegas odds on the surging Kentucky Wildcats would provide a lot of value. And that underdog wager made many sports gamblers extremely happy, as Kentucky narrowly edged by the favored #2 seed Wisconsin Badgers 74 – 73 to advance to the championship game.

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March Madness Final Four Set as 3 of 4 Lower Seeds Advance

Apr. 2nd 2014

Three of the four Elite Eight underdogs scored upsets and advanced to the March Madness Final Four. #4 Michigan State appeared to sleep-walk through a 60 – 54 loss to #7 UCONN in the Eastern region, and #8 Kentucky kept the possibility of an all-SEC championship game alive with a stunning victory over #2 Michigan in the Midwest. #2 Wisconsin edged #1 Arizona by a single point, 64 – 63 in the West. And in the Southern region, Florida was the only Elite Eight favorite that won. They had a relatively easy time against the #11 Dayton Flyers, the Cinderella darling of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. One team from the American Athletic Conference, one team from the Big Ten and two squads from the SEC remain with hopes of being crowned the 76th March Madness champion.

No ACC Team Left?

The usually basketball-strong Atlantic Coast Conference was conspicuously absent from the Elite Eight. And the SEC is well represented, with half of the final four spots laying waste to the allegation that the conference is only dominant in football. The Florida Gators were the #1 overall seed headed into the tournament, and they get the UCONN Huskies for a 6:09 PM EST tipoff on Saturday, April 5. At 8:49 PM that same night, the Wisconsin Badgers and Kentucky Wildcats go head-to-head, with coach John Calipari hoping for a return to the championship game that delivers the same victorious outcome his team achieved in 2012. The Huskies most recently won the tournament in 2011, and Florida went back-to-back with titles in 2006 and 2007. Wisconsin’s only March Madness championship came way back in 1941, so the Badgers are guaranteed to play strong and hungry against Kentucky.

Quiet Second Half Costs the Spartans

The March Madness 2014 championship game will be held on Monday, April 7 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and will be aired by CBS. UCONN was led by Shabazz Napier, who torched Michigan State for 17 of his 25 points in the second half. The East Regional’s most outstanding player helped the Huskies overcome a nine point second-half deficit for the victory at Madison Square Garden, as the Spartans scored just 29 points in the final 20 minutes. With the victory, UCONN became the first #7 seeded team to make it to the Final Four since 1985, when the March Madness tournament was expanded to a full 64 teams. Against Michigan, a quiet pair of 19-year-old identical twins made big shots and big plays when they counted for Kentucky, just as they have throughout the Wildcats tournament run.

Harrison Twins Identically Big for Kentucky

Aaron and Andrew Harrison combined for 20 points and just 3 rebounds in the game. But Aaron’s NBA range three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left on the clock cemented the huge win over a favored Michigan team. His brother Andrew had five of his game-high six assists after the break, as the two brothers have been taking turns making game-changing plays during this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Florida was able to end Cinderella’s dance thanks to 23 points from Scottie Wilbekin, as the Gators rolled past everyone’s favorite underdog to reach the Final Four for a fifth time. The victory gave UF its 30th straight win and a 36 – 2 overall record that topped the previous school record of 35 wins tallied during the 2007 National Championship season.

#8 Kentucky Showing Real Value as an Underdog Wager?

As predicted here in our last March Madness post, Frank Kaminsky was huge for Wisconsin. The seven footer stroked 28 points, 6 of those in overtime, to give Wisconsin the edge and the victory against Zona. The long-range shooting big man had 3 three pointers and added 11 rebounds, scoring inside and outside seemingly at will. Coach Bo Ryan earned his 704th career victory with that W. The Vegas odds on March Madness 2014 will no doubt show Florida as a huge favorite to win it all this year. But savvy risk takers see some real value in the #8 Wildcats, who will be showcasing a very attractive money line in their upcoming game against the powerful Badgers.

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Elite 8 Teams Decided

Mar. 29th 2014

It’s Miller Time for March Madness

Quick! When was the last time that a pair of brothers coached in the same Elite Eight NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? The answer is, never. But Archie and Sean Miller, head coaches of the Dayton Flyers and Arizona Wildcats respectively, will pull off that feat this year. Dayton flew past another lower-ranked seed, with the #11 Flyers beating #10 Stanford 82 – 72 this past Thursday. Sean is the senior of the two brothers, and he piloted his #1 seed Arizona Wildcats to a 70 – 64 victory versus an SDSU team that kept hanging around the entire game. Dayton has joined the Elite Eight for the first time in 30 years, behind depth balance and defense. Four players scored in double figures against Stanford, with eleven Flyers scoring altogether.

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2014 March Madness – Sweet Sixteen Set, Cinderellas in Place

Mar. 24th 2014

6 days and 52 games later, the Las Vegas odds on March Madness 2014 reveal the carnage that lays in the wake of the incredible upsets we have seen so far this year. The #11 Dayton Flyers continue to soar, and after knocking off #6 Ohio State in the first round, they probably would’ve been content if they lost to powerful #3 Syracuse. However, after a one point victory over OSU, they scored a two point win over the Orangemen. And as luck would have it, or destiny, #10 Stanford edged #2 Kansas in another huge upset, which puts Stanford and Dayton head-to-head in what will probably be a great game. In another upset that delivered a Sweet Sixteen spot, #8 Kentucky edged #1 Wichita State 78 – 76 to send the previously undefeated Shockers home in shocking fashion. UK gets #4 Louisville Friday, March 28 in Sweet 16 action.

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Payne Drops 41 and March Madness Upsets Rampant with Dayton Beating Ohio State

Mar. 21st 2014

The bracket bashing of March Madness has begun. No doubt Friday morning hopeful bracketologists everywhere were throwing their picks in the trash bin, as a record 4 of Thursday night’s 16 games reached overtime. And yes, there were upsets galore, delivering the ecstasy and agony that is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Things got started quickly, as a big upset began March Madness in the very first game of the round of 64 after play-in games closed out Tuesday and Wednesday. Following the 11th seeded Dayton Flyers upending of 6 seed Ohio State 60 – 59, who many felt were over-seeded, only 19% of the brackets filled by CBS Sports basketball prognosticators remained in play for perfection. There were 15 lead changes in the rivalry, and the two schools are separated by barely 75 miles.

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2013 NBA Draft – Noel 1st to Cavaliers

Jun. 21st 2013

If the Cleveland Cavaliers stay in the number one spot in the 2013 NBA Draft, pretty much everyone on the planet figures they are going to take Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel. He is a legitimate seven footer who can anchor a professional team for many seasons, but he is probably not the best all-around player available in this year’s National Basketball Association draft. He impressed scouts by playing incredibly hard throughout a miserable Kentucky season this year, and his shot blocking ability is second to none.

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NBA Finals Game 3 Puts The Heat in Hot Water

Jun. 13th 2013

LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are known as The Big Three, and they were predicted to bring multiple championships to Miami. But it was an uncelebrated three “no name” players for the San Antonio Spurs that have the Heat in hot water after game 3 of the NBA finals. The championship series now stands at 2 games to 1 in favor of the underdog and veteran Spurs team, with game 4 in San Antonio Thursday promising an all out effort by the Heat to get fired up and tie the series at 2 games apiece.

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