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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 03/21/2023

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2023

The Tuesday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, and NCAAB.The National Basketball Association has six games on its docket. The Orlando Magic host the Washington Wizards at 7:10 PM ET as a pick ‘em (all odds from DraftKings). Two more NBA games tip off at 7:40 PM ET. The Atlanta Hawks play at home against the Detroit Pistons as a 12.5-point favorite, with the total set at 238. The Cleveland Cavaliers visit Brooklyn to play the Nets as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 218.5. The New Orleans Pelicans are at home against the San Antonio Spurs at 8:10 PM ET as an 11-point favorite with a total of 234.5. The Boston Celtics play in Sacramento against the Kings at 10:10 PM ET as a 4.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 238.5. The Los Angeles Clippers host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:40 PM ET as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 236.5. The National Hockey League has 13 games on its slate. Seven games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The Carolina Hurricanes visit New York to play the Rangers, with both teams priced at -110 with an over/under of 6. The Washington Capitals play at home against the Columbus Bluejackets as a -250 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Florida Panthers are in Philadelphia to play the Flyers as a -170 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New Jersey Devils are at home against the Minnesota Wild as a -175 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The Buffalo Sabres host the Nashville Predators as a -140 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Boston Bruins play at home against the Ottawa Senators as a -275 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Tampa Bay Lightning are in Montreal to play the Canadiens as a -255 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Toronto Maple Leafs travel to New York to play the Islanders at 7:37 PM ET as a -130 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. Two more NHL games start at 8:07 PM ET. The Winnipeg Jets host the Arizona Coyotes as a -255 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The St. Louis Blues are at home against the Detroit Red Wings as a -135 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5.          The Dallas Stars play at home against the Seattle Kraken at 8:37 PM ET as a -165 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. Two more games conclude the NHL card at 10:07 PM ET. The Calgary Flames are in Anaheim to play the Flames as a -205 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Vegas Golden Knights visit Vancouver to play the Canucks as a -140 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The college basketball schedule has four games in tournament action. Two games begin at 7 PM ET. Oklahoma State hosts North Texas on ESPN in the quarterfinals of the NIT. The Cowboys are a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 124.5. Southern Utah battles Eastern Kentucky on ESPN2 in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational at the Ocean Center in Daytona, Florida. The Thunderbirds are a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 157. Oregon plays at home against Wisconsin on ESPN at 9 PM ET in the quarterfinals of the NIT. The Ducks are a 4-point favorite with a total of 134.5. Charlotte faces Radford on ESPN2 at 9:30 PM ET in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational in Daytona Beach. The 49ers are a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 127.5.

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Why Is March Madness So Different From 10 Years Ago?

by Wayne Root

Monday, Mar 20, 2023

Where are the -25 point spreads?Ten years and before, there were an abundance of favorites laying 25 to 32 points. We seldom see those numbers. In order to give some order to that, let’s look into it to understand why. It might actually have you betting less favorites.  Playing for Blue Bloods Very few great players from our “Blue Blood” teams stick around. The hit the ranks of the NBA. Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina first come to mind. Because of the NBA rules, they can’t enter until their sophomore year so they leave just as fast as they came.  One and DoneThen there are other “One and done” players that the coach thought he was safe in recruiting and the player departing altered the team chemistry. Players that were unheard of at the start of the season.   Transfer Portal The transfer portal has players arriving or leaving as soon as their season is completed. Because it only takes one or two good players to turn a team around, they get to choose a Power 5 team or in the case for college basketball, a very good Mid-Major. More importantly, they can handpick where to go to be starting. Who wants bench time at a Top 25 school? Better Coaching The coaching has definitely been elevated. The coaching is better with younger and brighter. Additionally, during the interview, I assure you that the AD  wants to know if any players will follow the incoming coach. Mid Majors The Mid Majors are incredible. Its not hard to get two great players which is 40% of the starting five. The players are calling the teams to see what’s offered instead of a coach going to them. NIL is Gold The NIL is paying the players. Let’s face it, cash is king. But as a player that’s not in the top 50, why would that ballplayer give up a few hundred thousand by being a 6th man at Duke or Kentucky and make nothing? That’s an easy recruiting tool for the small school coaches to use.  Team Chemistry The chemistry is so much better when players are performing as a team instead of star athletes selfishly playing their own brand of ball that one season. With everything the small schools have, getting players to stay is a great opportunity for these coaches to go deep in March.  Absolutely!!Any idea where Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina are at this point? OUTI love the scouting reports that indicate: Four Seniors

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Sweet 16 Venue Numbers Examined

by Kyle Hunter

Monday, Mar 20, 2023

As always, the NCAA Tournament delivered with great drama through the first weekend. We have a #15 seed in Princeton in the Sweet 16. We also have a team from Conference USA (Florida Atlantic) that is about to head to Madison Square Garden for their next game. The Sweet 16 tips off on Thursday evening. The Thursday matchups are fantastic, and the Friday games are solid as well. I wanted to take a look at the venues for the Sweet 16 matchups. Are there any numbers from previous games played here that might help us as we handicap these games?ThursdayT Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, Nevada) Postseason games played at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas have gone 23-12-1 to the over in the last 36 games. The average postseason game played here has gone over the total by an average of 5.26 points. That’s a solid margin for a 36 game sample. There has been some talk in the past about the rims at T Mobile being soft. Arkansas/UConn and Gonzaga/UCLA will square off here. These are two must see games. I would argue that this location has the single best games of the week. Madison Square Garden (New York City, New York)Madison Square Garden has been one of the best under venues in the country. The under is 162-123 in the last 285 college basketball games played here. Postseason games at Madison Square Garden with a total of 127.5 or higher are 44-28 to the under. Those games have stayed under the total by an average of 3.55 points per game. In the last 310 college basketball games played at MSG, the 1st half under is a whopping 185-125 (59.7% unders). Florida Atlantic takes on Tennessee in an unexpected matchup at MSG, and the other game pits Michigan State against Kansas State.FridayYum Center (Louisville, Kentucky)The numbers for the Yum Center are a little more tricky to decipher. The under is 171-131 in games played here since 2006, but most of these have been home games for Louisville. That means the data could be more about the Louisville team than the facility itself. In neutral court games played at Yum Center the under is 12-16. That’s a small sample size, and most of those games have finished close to the total. The two matchups here are San Diego State/Alabama and Princeton/Creighton. T Mobile Center (Kansas City, Missouri)Not to be confused with the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, these are the games at T Mobile Center in Kansas City. The under is 29-18 (61.7% unders) in games played at this venue. All the games played here have been neutral site games. For a good while this looked like a wash for over/unders, but the under has hit in 12 of their last 14 games played here. Is it statistical noise or is this an under venue? It’s a bit early to judge this one too much with a fairly small sample. Still, the under has cashed by an average of 2.94 points in this 47 game sample size. It will be Miami/Houston and Xavier/Texas in the two games played here on Friday evening.

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