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 Tuesday April 7:
Devil With A Blue Dress On
The Duke Blue Devils were hardly a Cinderella team, but they were the belle of the ball at the Big Dance. Mike Krzyzewski has more hardware to add to his office and the trophy case in Durham after a 68-63 win over Wisconsin in the national championship game.
A few thoughts occurred to me during the game. Even though only 131 points were scored, these two teams were a joy to watch on the offensive end of the floor. It was clear how well-coached these two teams were and watching closely made me appreciate Coach K even more. Bo Ryan had an experienced, veteran team that he had the opportunity to coach up for three or four seasons. Krzyzewski inherited a team full of youngsters plus Quinn Cook and they were fundamentally sound and very disciplined throughout the night. In the face of early adversity due to foul trouble, the Blue Devils never panicked. With a nine-point deficit in the second half, they never panicked.
Listeners of Handicapping the Hardwood heard me say this, and I’ve said it to my podcast co-host Kyle Hunter, but I believe Tyus Jones will be the best NBA player out of Duke’s “Big Three” freshmen trio of Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Jones. Jones was terrific throughout the tournament and it was his development as a player that led Duke to this point. You could see how much Jones was growing up when Duke won at Virginia earlier this season. Winslow probably has the highest upside, but Jones excels in so many different facets of the game, including things that don’t end up in the box score. All three will probably jump to the NBA, and rightfully so, so it will be interesting to see how Duke responds.
A lot of credit goes to the officials, who called a good game outside of a couple questionable out of bounds calls late. The one that appeared to tip Justise Winslow’s finger and go out of bounds that was not overturned was a huge call in the game, but the referees probably did not get that camera angle and cannot be faulted for that. They also missed a Duke player stepping on the baseline. Other than that, the game was called pretty well and the players decided the outcome. Bo Ryan would disagree, but he’s standing up for his players, and that’s fine.
Overall, it was a pretty exciting tournament this season. There was no Cinderella team, though some moments certainly captivated the national audience. The beautiful thing is that we can do this all again in about 11 months.
The Value of Situational Handicapping
How many people fell into the trap of betting the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday? If you did, it’s time to re-evaluate the way that you handicap games. This was a horrible spot for the Trail Blazers. They were flying cross-country for one game before heading back home thanks to the January snowstorm that blanketed the Northeast. Portland was a 6.5-point dog and they were inside the number one time over the final 28:48 of the game.
Everybody knows that the Nets would not be favored by that much under regular circumstances. Portland got off to a quick start and faded in a big way in the second half. For a team playing so well, especially late in games, over the last few weeks, this was inevitable. The Brooklyn Nets actually got lucky that the game was postponed to this point in the season.
Usually these Six Pack blurbs don’t focus solely on betting, but this was the only NBA game last night and it has to be discussed. It’s not enough to simply bet on the matchups, justifying wagers by saying things like “this is the better team” or “this line is too high”. There has to be a process. A lot of factors have to be considered with every game. In this game, the unique scheduling scenario that led to travel for Portland was a major contributing factor. As it turned out, the oddsmakers failed to account for it enough. But, bettors need to understand the intricacies of the game that they are playing. It was a perfect, albeit unique, situation to remember what’s important when betting on any sport.
Tuesday Morning Quarterback
Opening Day is not just another game in the minds of many people. That’s why everything about the game gets put under a microscope. The “woe is me” crowd is out in full force for fans of the teams that lost on Monday. The Indians won’t score a run this season. Masahiro Tanaka’s arm is going to fall off. The Colorado Rockies are going to win the World Series. David Price is your AL Cy Young winner. Max Scherzer is a bust. Cole Hamels tanked to help out his future team.
All the hot takes are out there after the first full day of baseball action. That doesn’t mean that fans should abandon all concerns because some of them are very real. Others, not so much. There are a few things to focus on and be aware of moving forward. Two teams with big steam were losers on Monday. The Chicago White Sox were steamed against the Kansas City Royals and the Miami Marlins had one of the bigger line moves of the day against the Atlanta Braves. What do these two games have in common? The White Sox had a lot of positive PR during the offseason and the Atlanta Braves had negative PR because they are rebuilding.
There’s a lot of money to be made early in the season thanks to overreactions, either on a game-by-game basis or as an overreaction to what happened in the offseason. These will keep coming. The Rockies have already been bet again after blowing up Kyle Lohse on Monday. The Cubs line has moved down. The Padres line has also come down a bit. Teams that had a lot of good PR in the offseason are seeing line moves again on Tuseday. We’ll see what happens. For now, keep your bankroll management concepts in mind until we find out who some of these teams really are.
Tiger on the Prowl at Augusta
Tiger Woods was happy with his 11 practice holes at Augusta National on Monday. The media was there to follow along with Tiger and practice round pal Mark O’Meara on his trip around the course. Woods also did extensive work driving and chipping at the range. It was the third time that Woods hit the course at Augusta since arriving early last week and the expectation is that Woods will hit the course again on Tuesday.
At least nobody can criticize his work ethic. The mental part of the game is still going to be a hurdle when the crowds show up on Thursday. Woods will be playing for the first time since February 5 when he lines up his first tee shot and he will be ranked 111th in the world with that first backswing.
Look for a more in-depth preview of the Masters later today.
There were five games on the ice last night, with no bigger outcome than the Winnipeg Jets’ 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. It was a very even game between both teams as the Jets moved to within two points of the Wild and picked up a one-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the final wild card spot. The Kings fell 2-1 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks inched closer to clinching a playoff spot, while the Wild failed in their first opportunity to do so.
With their overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to snap their nine-game winning streak, the New York Rangers moved three points ahead of Montreal with a game in hand for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The final four playoff spots in the East have not been decided and there are some big games on tap for Tuesday night with major playoff implications.
One of those games with major playoff implications is in Chicago between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks. Check out our game preview.
Aaron Hernandez will be going away for a long time in all likelihood. The judge in the murder trial against Hernandez heard closing arguments early Tuesday morning and a verdict should come by the end of the week. Hernandez is accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. I’ve stayed away from the story because it has very little relevance to the sports world and the betting world. But, as the historic trial nears a close, it’s worthy of a brief mention.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.