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 March 10:
An Olympic-Sized Tragedy
We begin with sad news in today’s Six Pack. Camille Muffat, a gold medal winning swimmer for Team France in the 2012 Summer Olympics, was among the dead from a helicopter crash during the filming of a popular European reality show. Other casualties included bronze medal winning boxer Alexis Vastine and sailing champion Florence Arthaud.
The helicopters collided in Argentina while filming the show Dropped, a show similar to Survivor, but with bigger names, generally athletes. This loss comes two months after Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle died in an avalanche while skiing in the Alps. Berlack and Astle were hopefuls for the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Ski Team and were expected to participate in the World Cup this year.
Condolences to all of the families involved.
Can I Have This Dance?
The Wofford Terriers, Manhattan Jaspers, and Northeastern Huskies all secured their place in the NCAA Tournament with conference tournament victories on Monday night. Wofford knocked off upstart Furman, who won three games in three days as the lowest seed in the SoCon to make it to the championship game. Manhattan beat top-ranked Iona to take the tournament as a 5/1 futures bet, as suggested on last week’s Handicapping the Hardwood with Adam Burke and Kyle Hunter. Northeastern topped William & Mary for the Colonial’s auto bid into the field.
Tuesday night’s college basketball card features four conference tournament championship games. BYU and Gonzaga rematch in Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference crown and Wisconsin-Green Bay takes on Valparaiso for the Horizon League golden ticket. The Summit League auto bid is up for grabs between North Dakota State and South Dakota State and Robert Morris will take on St. Francis for the Northeast Conference bid.
The ACC Tournament gets underway on Tuesday afternoon. Check out Monday’s Handicapping the Hardwood for thoughts on the conference tournaments that begin on Tuesday and Wednesday and tune in for Wednesday’s show with nine more conference tournaments discussed.
If you listen to Cole Ryan’s excellent Betting the Buckets podcast, the phrase “Calendar Crunch” will be plenty familiar to you. Handicapping the schedule is as important, if not more important, than looking at the matchups in the NBA. Yesterday, 12 of the 16 NBA teams in action were playing their third game in four nights. Of the eight games on the card, five went under the total and the ones that stayed under did so by an enormous margin.
This time of the season in the NBA, it’s extremely important to pay attention to the schedule and isolate the teams that are in compromising scheduling spots. You’re going to be able to make money on these teams, whether you play the total or the side. A lot of teams are going to have an eye towards the offseason as well, so keep that in mind when you’re handicapping. It’s so much more than just lining up the teams side by side and making judgments
Stunning San Francisco News
Linebacker Patrick Willis announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday and things are certainly looking bleak in San Francisco right now. Jim Harbaugh left to coach in the college ranks and Jim Tomsula is already facing a lot of adversity just a few months into the job. Willis’s retirement wound up overshadowing rumors early in the day that the 49ers were looking to trade Colin Kaepernick.
Frank Gore is also rumored to be leaving the 49ers for the Philadelphia Eagles, though Gore seems to have some cold feet according to sources. Gore was reportedly close to Harbaugh, so it seems unlikely that he will return to San Francisco.
There are additional backfield problems for the 49ers. Fullback Bruce Miller was arrested on allegations of spousal battery. Miller was an all-conference defensive end at Central Florida and transitioned to fullback at the NFL level. He’s been an integral part of the 49ers offense and now his future with both the team and the NFL is in jeopardy. An investigation is ongoing after Miller was arrested in Santa Clara last week.
Bill O’Brien: Quarterback Whisperer?
The Houston Texans have the best player in the NFL in J.J. Watt, but there’s not a lot of excitement for the offensive side of the ball right now. The Texans released Andre Johnson on Monday, the same day that they opted to go with Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer at the quarterback position.
The Texans have had a revolving door of underachieving quarterbacks since Matt Schaub suddenly lost it and started receiving death threats from fans on his front lawn. Brian Hoyer did a fine job leading the Cleveland Browns offense and the team to a 6-3 record before it all fell apart when starting center Alex Mack went down for the season.
O’Brien is considered one of the top quarterback mentors and coaches in the league, so there’s some hope that he can turn the ingredients that Hoyer and Mallett provide into a decent dish, but the Texans have a long way to go on the offensive side of the ball.
In talking with my Gridiron Gambling Report co-host Cole Ryan via email yesterday, we assessed what the AFC South could look like entering next season. The consensus opinion we both held is that the Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that could be worth a look in the win totals market. The Texans seem to be going backwards offensively right now and Jacksonville has a ton of cap space available. With the Titans a year or two away in all likelihood with Marcus Mariota, the Jaguars have a head start after using Blake Bortles last season. The Jaguars added Julius Thomas via free agency to give Bortles a bona fide weapon in the passing game. They are a team with a high ceiling if they spend right.
It’s wise to avoid Houston in any futures market discussion. Unfortunately, they are about the only team capable of challenging the Indianapolis Colts, but these offensive decisions don’t seem to line up with an improved record. That being said, there’s plenty of offseason left and a lot of things can change.
MLB Spring Training Update
Another day and another round of injuries. The Cleveland Indians, who are expected to be a contender in the American League, may lose some of their starting pitching depth. Gavin Floyd, a free agent signing that was guaranteed a rotation spot entering the season, is going to have an MRI on his surgically-repaired elbow. Floyd has missed significant time over the last two seasons with elbow and shoulder problems.
Devin Mesoraco, who had a tremendous season for the Reds last year, is on the shelf with a concussion. Concussions can be very tricky for catchers. We’ve seen Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers have a lot of side effects and he even missed some time on a couple different occasions last season with concussion-related symptoms. This is a situation that should be closely monitored because the Reds are a team that can boom or bust and there’s not a lot of middle ground.
Former first overall pick of the Houston Astros, Mark Appel, was unable to make his scheduled relief appearance after experiencing the always scary “forearm tightness”. Appel is not scheduled for an MRI, but that could obviously change in a hurry. Appel was at Double-A Corpus Christi for a while last season and he could make his MLB debut in August or September of this season if he progresses nicely and stays healthy.
Tuesday will be a big day for the Rangers and Phillies. As mentioned in yesterday’s Six Pack, Yu Darvish and Cliff Lee face the possibility of Tommy John surgery. We should have an answer on Tuesday if that will be the case.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.