If you are a sports betting enthusiast like all of us at BangTheBook.com are, then you probably start thinking about the betting impact of the day’s top stories. Not every top story has a relevance to betting, but you probably try to connect the dots anyway. In a new feature each weekday, we will take a look at the top six sports stories of the day in an article titled the Daily Six Pack. They say that an apple day keeps the doctor away. Well, we like to think that a six pack a day keeps the bookie away.
With that, let’s take a look at the six top stories for Wednesday April 8:
Spurring A Debate
The Golden State Warriors are still the class of the Western Conference, but the recent play of the San Antonio Spurs has certainly opened some eyes. The Spurs took a 31-point lead into the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night and cruised to a 25-point win. Oklahoma City scored 10 points in the first quarter and trailed by 19 after one. As mentioned before in the Six Pack, the Spurs are going to be a hot team to bet on entering the postseason, but I would have serious concerns about their ability to withstand the tempo of the postseason with so many older players.
One team not getting enough respect is the New Orleans Pelicans. They’re not going to upset the Warriors in the first round, but the Pelicans have shown a ton of heart this season. They won some big games with Anthony Davis out of the lineup and roared back in the third quarter to knock off the Warriors on Tuesday night. They may be a year or two away from being a serious threat to the rest of the Western Conference, but the Warriors would much rather see the Thunder than the Pelicans. A series with the Pelicans may take a little bit out of them.
Something for bettors to keep in mind the rest of the way is that non-playoff teams are just out there to have fun and that’s going to drive up the scores of games. Of the 12 teams in action on Tuesday night, nine of them scored 100 or more points. The totals markets may not adjust as quickly as they should, so overs could be very profitable.
NHL Playoffs Update
The Minnesota Wild officially punched their ticket to the postseason with a 2-1 win in Chicago over the Blackhawks. The New York Rangers secured the top overall spot in the league and will host the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get that far. The Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames both picked up enormous wins on Tuesday to get closer to securing a trip to the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings did the same in an ugly win over Carolina.
Two teams that suffered massive setbacks are the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins wasted a 3-0 first period loss in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators and the Kings lost to the awful Edmonton Oilers. The NHL season ends on Saturday and several playoff spots are still up for grabs. That means a lot of good hockey will be played this week.
A Giant Problem
The San Francisco Giants have all sorts of injury concerns already. After winning their first game on Monday night with playoff hero Madison Bumgarner on the bump, the Giants fell 7-6 to Arizona on Tuesday night, but lost more than the game. Matt Cain is now on the disabled list with a forearm strain and Jake Peavy was scratched from Tuesday’s start. Ryan Vogelsong started in Peavy’s place and did not pitch well.
The Giants are also worried about the health of Brandon Belt, who missed a portion of last season due to injury, and left the game on Tuesday night with a strained groin. The Giants don’t have much of a margin for error this season without Pablo Sandoval. Hunter Pence is also out until early May after suffering a fractured forearm in Spring Training.
While the offensive concerns are clear, the pitching staff concerns are coming to fruition. It’s an older staff and there’s very little depth behind Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit. The Giants don’t have the ability to withstand major starting pitching injuries and they’re less than one week into the season and have two starters on the disabled list.
The Giants will likely be undervalued with these injuries, but the long-term ramifications are much bigger.
The UConn Lady Huskies won comfortably, again, to take down their third straight women’s college basketball national championship. Geno Auriemma tied John Wooden with 10 National Championships. This is was a foregone conclusion and women’s college basketball needs somebody to step up and dethrone the Huskies.
It was laughable when Auriemma said that the men’s college basketball game was unwatchable, when it’s actually women’s college basketball that is unwatchable. All four #1 seeds made it into the Final Four, though there were a few more upsets than usual in the early rounds. Either way, UConn won and that closes the book on college basketball for the 2014-15 season.
NFL News and Notes
Wes Welker is visiting the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday to see if he wants to move back into the AFC East. Welker actually started his career with the Dolphins all the way back in 2004, but the organization failed to have enough patience with Welker and he went on to have a spectacular NFL career. Welker only caught 49 balls last season, but he could be a good veteran influence on Ryan Tannehill and a Dolphins offense that is on the cusp of being one of the better units in the AFC.
Legarrette Blount’s 2015 NFL season will start a week later than everybody else as he was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Former teammate Le’Veon Bell will miss the first two games of the NFL season from the same episode that got Blount suspended. Blount will be eligible for preseason games and offseason practices, so he will be ready to go in Week 2.
We’ve reached that time of the offseason where restricted free agents are starting to get offer sheets. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers presented an offer sheet to Detroit Lions RFA George Johnson and the Oakland Raiders did the same with Green Bay’s Sean Richardson. The chess match is on with the NFL Draft just over three weeks away.
NCAA Tournament Championship Futures Odds
William Hill Sportsbook took the plunge and opened up the first set of futures odds for next year’s March Madness champion. The Kentucky Wildcats, who are losing several players to the NBA, are favored at 8/1. The North Carolina Tar Heels are next in line at 9/1, with ACC mate Virginia checking in at 10/1. Maryland and Villanova are next at 12/1. Duke opened 15/1, with Iowa State, Kansas, and Michigan State at 15/1. Wisconsin is 30/1, but they are losing seven-footer Frank Kaminsky.
It’s never too early to try and find a team with long odds to make a deep run. The Texas Longhorns might be a good look at 75/1 with new head coach Shaka Smart and what should be another solid recruiting class.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.