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 Friday April 3:
A Smart Decision
The Shaka Smart to Texas move is going to work out for everybody involved. Shaka Smart officially became the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns on Thursday night. Smart’s full court press defense and some excellent recruiting turned VCU into a perennial mid-major power house. Smart has probably turned down a lot of interview requests over the last few years, but Texas is a job that he couldn’t pass up.
The Longhorns recruit extremely well in one of the best basketball conferences in the country. It’s not a surprise to see that they went for a home run with this hire after years of Rick Barnes mismanaging talent. It will be interesting to see how the havoc defense works out in a conference with better athletes and more talented point guards. Once Briante Weber went down this season at VCU, the Rams were a much different team and the team’s dependency on one player was probably a bit of a concern for Smart. At Texas, he’ll have several players capable of stepping in and providing some high quality minutes.
The only loser in this is the VCU players. The VCU job will be an attractive one for some up-and-coming coaches and the Rams should have another excellent head coach. Some players left the meeting on Thursday night in tears and that’s the shame of college athletics, especially when coaches will sit in a player’s living room with his parents and make a lot of promises.
There were only three games on the NBA schedule on Thursday night, but two of them were very interesting. The Houston Rockets picked up another impressive win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets have been playing extremely well of late, but it’s a good time to throw some caution to the wind in this instance. The Rockets are a good team, but they’re very dependent on James Harden. If Harden wears down in the playoffs, it’s going to be very difficult for them to knock of the Warriors. They have some defensively-responsible bigs, but scoring comes from mainly one source. I’d be very skeptical of the Rockets moving forward.
The Golden State Warriors won a thriller over the Phoenix Suns by a 107-106 score with a buzzer beater from Harrison Barnes. This is a scary situation for the rest of the Western Conference. You would expect a buzzer beater from Steph Curry, not Harrison Barnes. The more guys willing to take shots late in games, the more dangerous the Warriors become. That’s a sign of confidence and this team has every reason to be confident. Golden State is still the favorite in the West and it’s truly hard to see anybody beating them. There’s not a ton of value on their future, but they’re the best team in the conference bar none.
By this time on Monday, the MLB season will be underway. The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs play on Sunday night with a big time pitching matchup between Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester. Lester had some dead arm problems in the Spring that set him back a little bit and it’s important to remember that Lester will be on a pitch count for this outing and probably the next couple of outings.
It’s that time of year where futures and win totals will start moving around because public bettors are developing a bigger interest in baseball. It will likely flame out in the middle of the season, but watch and see where the public is coming in on these lines because it will probably create value on the other side. Some sharper bettors have been waiting for Spring Training to end before making bets, but most MLB line moves are not going to be of the sharp variety.
Make sure to check out all of our baseball content from the offseason, including the MLB Season Win Total Series, our look at defensive metrics and totals, and the prop bets and futures articles.
A lot happened in the NHL last night. The Washington Capitals picked up two huge points in their quest to hold off the wild card contenders. In face, the win helped the Capitals leapfrog the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. That’s significant because avoiding the Rangers is probably a good idea for everybody in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals are also tied with the New York Islanders for second place in the division. The Islanders have dropped eight of 10.
The Boston Bruins moved into a tie with the Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators picked up a huge overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to make things very interesting in the Atlantic Division. Keep in mind that teams are going to have inflated lines when fighting for a spot in the postseason. There are a lot of things to be aware of at this time of the season and perception is undoubtedly one of them.
The NHL season has only eight days worth of games left to play. With things winding down rapidly, the playoff atmosphere is here. From a fan standpoint, that’s awesome.
Final Four Preview
Saturday’s two national semifinal matchups are going to make for some great television. The Duke Blue Devils take on the Michigan State Spartans and the Kentucky Wildcats face the Wisconsin Badgers. We have previews on both games and of course our final edition of Handicapping the Hardwood for the 2014-15 season.
There are a lot of interesting storylines to watch in these games. Wisconsin is the most efficient offensive team in a long time according to Ken Pomeroy. Kentucky has not played many efficient offensive teams this season. That’s true of their opponents in the NCAA Tournament as well. The Wildcats were fortunate to escape that game against Notre Dame with a win because of some questionable decisions from Mike Brey late.
For the Duke/Michigan State game, the Spartans are clearly at a talent disadvantage and they don’t have the same coaching advantage that they usually enjoy. It’s a hard spot to like Michigan State, but betting against Izzo is never an easy thing to do.
This is a great month for sports. MLB Opening Day is Sunday for two teams and Monday for the rest of the league. The Masters begin on Thursday. The Final Four is this weekend. The NBA and NHL playoffs are just a couple of weeks away. We’re less than a month away from the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight. There’s a lot to be excited about and we’ll have it all covered for you here at BangTheBook.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.