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 Monday March 23:
Did Anything Else Happen This Weekend?
March Madness dominated every headline this past weekend as sports fans flocked to watch the best tournament in the world. This year’s event has not disappointed with upset wins, impressive individual displays, great performances, and some surprises.
The Sweet Sixteen, or Sweet 16, field is set as all eight games are determined for Thursday and Friday. Wichita State and Notre Dame open the fun in Cleveland on Thursday night. North Carolina and Wisconsin follow from Los Angeles. The focus shifts back to Cleveland for West Virginia vs. Kentucky. The late game with a 10:17 p.m. tip-off from Los Angeles is between Xavier and Arizona.
There aren’t any Cinderella teams in this set of games, even though #6 seed Xavier is a bit of a surprise participant. The Musketeers benefited from Georgia State’s upset win over Baylor last week. There are two double-digit spreads for the Sweet 16 round, including Xavier’s game against Arizona and Kentucky against West Virginia.
On Friday, UCLA goes up against Gonzaga. The Bruins, one of the last teams in the field, are the only double-digit seed to make the Sweet 16. That game will be in Houston. Louisville takes on NC State in Syracuse in the second game and that could be beneficial to a Cardinals team that is accustomed to playing in Syracuse. It is being held at the Carrier Dome, so the Cardinals do have an advantage in that regard. Duke, one of three #1 seeds in the Sweet 16, takes on Utah in Houston. Finally, Michigan State battles Oklahoma in the Carrier Dome in a 7 vs. 3 matchup.
There are a few interesting developments in this bracket. Duke is only favored by 4.5 against Utah, which is a rather small number. Michigan State was badly under-seeded as a 7 and they are favored against Oklahoma, a 3 seed. The Gonzaga/Iowa line was a terrible number off of the results of the first game for both teams and Gonzaga covered comfortably. Here, they are a bigger favorite off one of the most dominating performances of the tournament so far. It will be interesting to see the line movement on these games.
Not Exactly A Shocker
Wichita State dominated Kansas and it was great to see. I’m not a Wichita State fan or a Kansas hater, but this is what the tournament is made for. These two Kansas schools had not played since 1993. The athletic departments at both schools refuse to back down on a scheduling agreement and it gives off the appearance that Kansas is ducking Wichita State. Maybe they should. The Shockers clearly wanted it more and Gregg Marshall coached circles around Bill Self.
Kansas was banged up. There’s no question about that. It was a flawed Kansas team from the start and their class of freshmen failed to live up the expectations. Regardless, the Shockers did what they needed to do and once again put themselves on the college basketball map.
Wichita State is going to get a lot of love off of that win and they opened a pick ‘em against Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. Notre Dame is a much different team than Wichita State is used to seeing. Keep that in mind as you consider your play on this game for Thursday.
The Mavericks Soap Opera
Here we go again. Rick Carlisle blasted his team’s effort level after Sunday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. Carlisle probably lost the team a several weeks ago after he and Rajon Rondo had words. The veterans on the team came out to the media after the game and basically sided with Rondo, citing that he was an experienced player that knows what he is doing. Carlisle called his team an embarrassment following Sunday’s game and that won’t sit well in the room.
The Mavericks put forth a fight in the third quarter after a spirited rant from Carlisle, but it’s clear that the Mavericks are fade material going forward. There’s no respect for the head coach in that locker room and the Mavericks are a very experienced team that knows how to play the game. This is a toxic situation and it will be interesting to see how owner Mark Cuban handles everything.
The Mavericks will make the playoffs, but they’re not a team I’d back in any capacity. That being said, the oddsmakers likely have this same philosophy towards the team right now, so lines may be underpriced. Nevertheless, stay away instead of trying to get too cute with their games. You never know what kind of effort you’re going to get and those are not teams to back in the NBA.
As The NFL World Turns
Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, unveiled his plans for a two-team stadium in Inglewood, CA on the land that he already owns. Kroenke is a billionaire, so he doesn’t need any other team to help him finance the project, but he could use another tenant to help cover some costs. Nothing seems imminent about a move of the Rams that would require a league vote, but Kroenke is doing some Grade-A posturing to get the city of St. Louis to act.
Currently, the owners are in Phoenix for the annual meetings and New York Giants owner John Mara suggested that there “will be one or two teams playing in L.A. next year.” Of course, that’s rather vague because the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have also expressed their desire to move into the Los Angeles market.
The multi-billion dollar business of football is certainly cutthroat and the fact that Kroenke has land and his plans already laid out would suggest that the cities of San Diego and Oakland had better move fast on what they want to do.
For now, this isn’t a betting situation to watch, but it will be interesting to see what happens with these franchises if they are scheduled to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. How will that impact free agency? Will players demand trades to avoid living in Los Angeles or Orange County? It will have far-reaching implications.
MLB Spring Training Update
The latest blow to fantasy baseball players is that Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to miss Opening Day and possibly more time with a shoulder injury. Ryu, the Dodgers #3 starter behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, received an anti-inflammatory injection last week and then suffered more soreness during a throwing session and was shut down. He’s going for further evaluation and could miss significant time.
Miguel Cabrera played his first Grapefruit League action after offseason foot and ankle surgery. He looked fine. The Colorado Rockies released Jhoulys Chacin, an odd move for a team with no starting pitching depth. Chacin does have a bad arm, though, so it’s likely that Chacin may need some medical care. Clayton Kershaw and Rafael Betancourt were hit in the face with line drives over the last three days. Stephen Strasburg skipped a start with a “tweaked” ankle.
It’s the time of Spring Training where regulars are playing a lot more and pitchers are starting to get focused on the season. Keep it tuned to BangTheBook this week and next week for some thoughts entering the season including a look at futures odds, player prop bets, and more.
Brad Keselowski picked up the win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at California from the Auto Club Speedway and made history in the process. Keselowski, who was in the 15/1 range to win, only led one lap on Sunday. It was the final lap. A series of cautions allowed Keselowski to jump into the lead and pick up the second win of the season for Ford. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch led 99 of the race’s 209 laps and finished second and third, respectively.
The NASCAR boys head back East now for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Kurt Busch won last season as Chevrolet finished 1-2-3 with Jimmie Johnson in second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third. Johnson led 296 of the 500 laps at the one-mile track.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.