Articles

Copa Libertadores Group Betting Futures (2024 Season)

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Sunday, Mar 24, 2024

The Copa Libertadores group stage is back and will be starting on Tuesday, April 2nd for the 2024 season. This competition has a rich history of Argentinian clubs dominating with 4 of the 5 most winningest clubs being from the country, but in recent years Brazil has begun to dominate with Brazilian clubs winning the last 5 straight as well as 6 of the last 7 titles. Despite having just 3 different teams win the title in the last 5 years, there is still a lot of value to be found in the group betting as there have been many good teams from different countries, other than Brazil and Argentina, who have made it through the group stage and caused some problems in the knockouts as well. With the group stage now just around the corner, it is time to see who has some value to make it out of the group stage. Group Winners Group B: Group B is the group consisting of Sao Paulo -275, Talleres de Cordoba +400, Barcelona Guayaquil +550, and Cobresal +3300. Sao Paulo is the clear favorite to win this group at -275 but they are not a very dominant team so this is a steep price for them to win this group. Sao Paulo does have a very good defense that does not concede many goals, but their attack struggles to score goals, especially away from home. Leaning on their defense may be enough to qualify but they are going to struggle to pick up the points needed to win this group with that weaker attack. They won their group in Copa Sudamericana last season but they are going to be playing with much stronger competition here. Talleres has been on the rise recently as they finished in 2nd place last season in Argentina, behind River Plate who won the title, and they have a very good attack that is going to be able to bail them out of tight situations. Their defense has not been great to start the season but they did have one of the best defenses in their domestic league last season so they are going to be a very dangerous team in this group once they tighten up their defense. Talleres is a real threat to win this group with the talent they have and there is a lot of value in them here, Talleres to win Group B at +400. Group C: Group C is the group consisting of Gremio -175, Estudiantes +250, The Strongest +600, Huachipato +2000. Gremio is coming into this competition as the favorite to win their group, but this is not the same team that did so well in the Brasileirao Serie A last season. Gremio came up from Serie B last season and made an immediate impact in Serie A as they acquired some big names including stars like Luis Suarez. They came close to winning the domestic league last season and did finish in the top 3, but now Suarez has left for Miami as well as some of their other talented players leaving and they are not going to be as good as they were last year. This club is due for some regression after performing so well in their 1st season up from Serie B and they are going to regress this year with the talent they lost. They are also going to have the added challenge of having to play extra midweek matches in this competition which is not something they had to do last season, usually focusing on just 1 match per week. They do not have the depth to dominate in this competition while also maintaining standing in the domestic league. Estudiantes has been improving in Argentina over the last year as they finished 5th in the domestic league last season and they also performed very well in their Copa Sudamericana group. They finished in 2nd place of their Copa Sudamericana group last season, but they were actually unfortunate as they were tied for 1st with 14 points but lost the group on goal differential despite scoring 14 goals and allowing just 1 in their 6 group matches. Estudiantes is going to be focused on this competition as it has been a very long time since they last won it, last winning the title in 2009, and they have had success in this competition since they are 5th on the all time list with 4 titles. Estudiantes has the talent to win this group with Gremio due for some regression this season, Estudiantes to win Group C at +250. Group D: Group D is the group consisting of Botafogo -125, LDU Quito +150, Junior Barranquilla +800, and Universitario de Deportes +2000. Botafogo is the favorite to win this group and for good reason as they were one of the best teams in Brazil last season, coming very close to winning the title. They were a very good team and were leading the domestic league for most of the season, but in the final weeks of the season they really cracked under the pressure and blew their massive lead. They have a lot to focus on this season as they are going to be trying to recover from that monumental collapse at the end of last season while also trying to focus on going deeper into this competition. They have the talent to do well in this group but they do not have a lot of depth as they showed last season when they started to pick up injuries. They have not been in this competition in years either as the last time they were in Copa Libertadores was back in 2017 so there is a good chance the pressure will get to them once again. They do not have a walkover in this group either since they are in a group with LDU Quito who has a very good team. LDU Quito actually has more experience in this competition recently than Botafogo as their last appearance was back in 2021, but LDU Quito are also the defending champions of Copa Sudamericana as they won that competition last year. LDU Quito knows the grind of this competition much better than Botafogo does right now and that is going to help LDU Quito get through this group and even win it. LDU Quito to win Group D at +150. Group Qualification Group B: One team that has a lot of value to qualify from this group is Talleres at -138. Talleres was mentioned earlier as a potential threat to win this group outright so -138 is not a bad price at all for them just to qualify even in 2nd place. Talleres to qualify at -138. Group C: One team that has a lot of value to qualify from this group is The Strongest at +175. The Strongest is a club that has been very consistent over the last few years. They have not made it out of the Copa Libertadores group stage in the last 3 years, but they have made it to the Copa Libertadores group stage the last 3 straight seasons. Last season they finished last in the group but they are going to have a group with some weaker competition this time. Huachipato is a team they will have no problems with and even Gremio as well as Estudiantes could easily be defeated as they have not been dominant teams in recent times. The Strongest also has a huge advantage in their home matches since they are from Bolivia so teams have to play in a very high altitude that they are not used to, usually leading to weaker squads traveling for these matches. The Strongest to qualify at +175. Group E: One team that has a lot of value to qualify from this group is Bolivar at +100. Bolivar returned to Copa Libertadores last season after missing the year prior, but they surely made an impact as they qualified from their group in 2nd place. They have been a very dominant team in their domestic league over the last year and they managed to get out of a very tough group last season, even pulling off a win over Palmeiras, the group winner. Bolivar also has a big advantage in their home matches as they play in Bolivia in a very high altitude so teams that come to visit do not usually do well, just as Palmeiras lost there last year. Their strong home advantage gives them a big edge over the other teams in this group as those will be precious home points that will be very tough for even the best team in the group to take from them. Bolivar to qualify at +100. Group G: One team that has a lot of value to qualify from this group is Penarol at +100. Atletico Mineiro likely has this group locked up but the 2nd place spot is up for grabs as there is no clear 2nd best team in this group. Rosario Central has slightly better odds to qualify from this group, but they are not a very dominant team in their domestic league and they have a very weak attack that struggles to score goals as well. Penarol may play in a weaker domestic league but they dominate that league with a very potent attack that finds the net often. They also have a very good defense that does not concede many goals and that will take them far in this group stage when fighting for 2nd place. This is also a competition that Penarol will be highly focused on since they missed Copa Libertadores last season and they have had a lot of success in the competition as they are 3rd on the all time list with 5 titles as well as 5 times being the runners up. Penarol to qualify at +100.

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Copa Libertadores Futures (2024 Season)

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Sunday, Mar 24, 2024

The Copa Libertadores group stage is back and will be starting on Tuesday, April 2nd for the 2024 season. This competition has a rich history of Argentinian clubs dominating with 4 of the 5 most winningest clubs being from the country, but in recent years Brazil has begun to dominate with Brazilian clubs winning the last 5 straight as well as 6 of the last 7 titles. Fluminense are the defending champions from the 2023 season and now with the 2024 season right around the corner, it is time to see who has the best chance of winning the title this year. To Win Outright Flamengo +350: Flamengo is coming into this season as the team with the best chance to win the title according to the oddsmakers. Flamengo is always a threat to win this competition as they have been one of the powers in Brazilian football over the last few years. Last season, they finished in 4th place in the Brasileirao Serie A, but they fizzled out of this competition in the Round of 16 against Olimpia. That exit has definitely left a bad taste in their mouths and they will be pushing to win this competition once again, making a much deeper run this season. Flamengo has been very good in the Copa Libertadores over the last 5 years as they have won the title 2 times and were the runners up 1 time in that span. This will be a competition they are focused on winning this year as they last won it in 2022 and they have not lost much talent from their team last season. They have actually improved in some key areas as their defense needed help and they have brought in some solid defenders in Leo Ortiz and Matias Vina to provide some depth when their squad is thin. They also picked up a defensive minded midfielder in Allan from Atletico Mineiro, as well as bringing in central midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz from River Plate. This Flamengo team already has a lot of potent attacking talent as well and they added to it with a young star in Matheus Goncalves. Flamengo struggled with their form last season to stay consistent but with the additions they have made for this season, they have been playing much better as they are ending their Carioca season very hot and great on defense, going into the Brasileirao in great form to start the season. Flamengo is going to be one of the dominant clubs in South America this season once again and they are a real threat to winning this title.  Palmeiras +400: Palmeiras is coming into this season as the team with the next best chance at winning the title according to the oddsmakers. Palmeiras is another team that is always a threat to win this competition as they have been one of the powers in Brazilian football over the last few years. Last season, they won the Brasileirao Serie A Title but they fell short in the Copa Libertadores semi final against Boca Juniors. Palmeiras is going to be more focused on this competition this season after getting so close last year, especially since they won the league title last season as well. They have the talent on their team to make a deep run here, but their depth will be an issue as they get deeper into the competition. They did add some depth in the transfer window but they did not bring in any talent that is going to have a big impact on the pitch for them. They are also going to lose one of their star players midway through the season as Endrick will be leaving for Real Madrid in July. Palmeiras has been in good form in their Paulista Serie A1 as the season is coming to an end soon, but their defense has been allowing quite a few goals in their matches. This defense has regressed from last season and although Palmeiras has the talent to get them deep into this competition, their defense is what will be their dagger when they go up against a stronger team with a good attack and better defense. There are better options in this competition this season as it is not going to be Palmeiras’ year to win the title.  Fluminense +600: Fluminense is coming into this season as the team with the next best chance at winning the title according to the oddsmakers. Fluminense finished last season in 7th place in the Brasileirao Serie A but they did go on a run in this competition out of nowhere, beating Boca Juniors in the finals and winning the Copa Libertadores Title. Their run last season did not really come out of nowhere as they were the best team in the Carioca that season and came into the 2023 season playing in such great form that it translated throughout the season, especially in this competition, but they are nowhere near that form coming into this season as they have been awful in their Carioca. It is also going to be very hard for them to repeat as champions since Palmeiras was the last team to do it in 2021-2022, and it does not happen often as the last team to do it prior to Palmeiras was Boca Juniors back in 2000-2001. Furthermore, that title win last season was the only Copa Libertadores Title that Fluminense has ever won in their club history. Fluminense did bring in a lot of players in the transfer window to try and keep their success this season, but a lot of the players they brought in were either older players past the age of 30 or very young players under 20 who do not have much experience playing at this level. It has really shown in the way they have been playing in the Carioca this season and their defense is simply not up to the same standard as it was last year which was good enough to get them to the finals. Fluminense is not going to have a lot of success in this competition this season and they are not going to repeat as champions this year. River Plate +600: River Plate is coming into this season as the team with the next best chance at winning the title according to the oddsmakers. River Plate was the best team in Argentina last season by far as they won the Liga Profesional de Futbol Title with an 11 point lead over 2nd place. They did not have a lot of success in Copa Libertadores though as they were knocked out by Internacional in the Round of 16. River Plate has had a lot of success in this competition in their club history as they are the 4th winningest club of all time, winning 4 Copa Libertadores Titles as well as being the runners up 3 times, but the last time they won the competition was back in 2018 as the Brazilians have been dominant in recent years. River Plate was actually the last non-Brazilian club to win the competition, but this is not the same team that won the domestic league last season. River Plate lost some major talent in the transfer windows and it has really reflected in the way they have been playing in the Copa de la Liga Profesional. They lost 2 key pieces in their attack with the departures of central midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz and center-forward Lucas Beltran. They also lost a lot of other talented players which they did not replace with players nearly as talented. River Plate is still going to a force in Argentina this season as they always are, but they do not have the talent to take on some of the stronger teams in this competition. River Plate does not have a good chance at winning the Copa Libertadores Title this season.  RecommendationThere are plenty of teams on the list to win this competition but Brazil has the strongest clubs in all of South America right now and with the recent domination of the competition by Brazilian clubs, in reality, these are the 4 best clubs with a real shot at winning. Of these 4 clubs, there is only 1 that is clearly above all others and they are going to have the motivation this season after missing out on winning any trophies last season. This team is refocused this season, they have the talent, they have the depth, and they have won the competition twice in the last 5 years. Flamengo at +350 is the best option to win the 2024 Copa Libertadores Title.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 03/24/2024

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Mar 24, 2024

The Sunday sports card features NBA, NHL, and NCAAB action.The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. The New Orleans Pelicans travel to Detroit to play the Pistons at 3:10 p.m. ET as a 12-point road favorite, with the total set at 213.5 (all odds from DraftKings). The Los Angeles Clippers host the Philadelphia 76ers at 3:40 p.m. ET as a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 214.5. The Miami Heat play at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 6:10 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 203.Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Milwaukee Bucks are at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 231.5. The Minnesota Timberwolves host the Golden State Warriors as a 3-point favorite, with a total of 219. The Los Angeles Lakers play at home against the Indiana Pacers at 10:10 p.m. ET as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 241.The National Hockey League has 11 games on its slate. The Winnipeg Jets play in Washington against the Capitals at 12:37 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line road favorite with a total of 5.5. The Colorado Avalanche play at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on TNT at 2:07 p.m. ET as a -238 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New York Islanders are at home against the New Jersey Devils at 5:07 p.m. ET as a -122 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. Three NHL games drop the puck at 6:07 p.m. ET. The Carolina Hurricanes host the Toronto Maple Leafs as a -185 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Edmonton Oilers are in Ottawa to play the Senators as a -192 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Florida Panthers visit Philadelphia to play the Flyers as a -155 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 5.5. The Dallas Stars play in Arizona against the Coyotes at 8:07 p.m. ET as a -205 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning are in Anaheim to play the Ducks at 8:37 p.m. ET as a -225 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Two more games conclude the NHL card at 9:07 p.m. ET. The Seattle Kraken play at home against the Montreal Canadiens as a -162 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The Buffalo Sabres visit Calgary to play the Flames as a -112 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The college basketball schedule has 17 games, with 13 contests on national television. The second round of the NCAA tournament concludes with eight games on national television. Marquette is at home against Colorado on CBS at 12:10 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 147.5. Purdue hosts Utah State on CBS at 2:40 p.m. ET as an 11.5-point favorite with an over/under of 149.5. Duke plays at home against James Madison on CBS at 5:15 p.m. ET as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 148. Baylor is at home against Clemson on TNT at 6:10 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 145.Alabama hosts Grand Canyon on TBS at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 169. Connecticut plays at home against Northwestern on truTV at 7:45 p.m. ET as a 14-point favorite with an over/under of 135.5. Houston is at home against Texas A&M on TNT at 8:40 p.m. ET as a 10-point favorite with a total of 134.5. San Diego State hosts Yale on TBS at 9:40 p.m. ET as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 129.The second round of the National Invitational Tournament concludes with five games. Indiana State plays at home against Minnesota on ESPN2 at 2:00 p.m. ET as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 163. Wake Forest is at home against Georgia on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m. ET as a 9.5-point favorite with an over/under of 157.5. South Florida hosts VCU on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. ET as a 3-point favorite with a total of 143. Utah plays at home against Iowa on ESPN2 at 9:00 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 166. UNLV is at home against Boston College on ESPNU at 9:30 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 144.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 03/23/2024

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Mar 23, 2024

The Saturday sports card features NBA, NHL, and NCAAB action.The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. The New York Knicks host the Brooklyn Nets at 1:10 p.m. ET as a 7.5-point favorite, with the total set at 204.5 (all odds from DraftKings). The Orlando Magic play at home against the Sacramento Kings at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 216. The Atlanta Hawks are at home against the Charlotte Hornets at 7:40 p.m. ET as a 9-point favorite with a total of 215.Four NBA games tip off at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Washington Wizards host the Toronto Raptors as a 6-point favorite with an over/under of 231. The Boston Celtics travel to Chicago to play the Bulls as a 7.5-point road favorite with a total of 221.5. The Houston Rockets play at home against the Utah Jazz as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 226.5. The Phoenix Suns play in San Antonio to play the Spurs as a 9.5-point road favorite with a total of 229. The Denver Nuggets are in Portland to play the Trail Blazers as a 14-point road favorite with an over/under of 210.5. The National Hockey League has 11 games on its slate. Two NHL games drop the puck at 1:07 p.m. ET. The Winnipeg Jets visit New York to play the Islanders as a -130 money-line road favorite with a total of 5.5. The Boston Bruins play in Philadelphia against the Flyers as a -148 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The Minnesota Wild are at home against the St. Louis Blues at 2:07 p.m. ET as a -148 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The Nashville Predators host the Detroit Red Wings at 5:07 p.m. ET as a -162 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.Two NHL games start at 7:07 p.m. ET. The New Jersey Devils play at home against the Ottawa Senators as a -162 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Edmonton Oilers are in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs as a -135 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Florida Panthers travel to New York to play the Rangers on ABC at 8:07 p.m. ET, with both teams priced at -110 with a total of 6. The college basketball schedule has 15 games, with nine games on national television. Seton Hall is at home against North Texas on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. ET in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament. The Pirates are a 4-point favorite with an over/under of 135.5.The second round of the NCAA tournament begins with all eight games on national television. Arizona battles Dayton on CBS at 12:45 p.m. ET as a 9-point favorite with a total of 149.5. Gonzaga plays Kansas on CBS at 3:15 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 151.5. North Carolina faces Michigan State on CBS at 5:30 p.m. ET as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 140.5. Iowa State goes against Washington State on TNT as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 129. North Carolina State challenges Oakland University on TBS at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 146.5. Tennessee faces Texas on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 146. Illinois battles Duquesne on TNT at 8:40 p.m. ET as a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 148. Creighton plays Oregon on TBS at 9:40 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 146.

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Ohtani “Has a Lot of ‘Splaining to Do.”

by AAA Sports

Friday, Mar 22, 2024

The old gambling joke goes like this:“Hey, you look awful. What’s going on?“I just lost $1,000 betting on basketball.”“Maybe you should bet on football instead.”“That’s even worse. I lost $2,000 on the NFL.”“How about hockey?”“Hockey???!!!??? I don’t know ANYTHING about hockey.”-So it goes with one Ippei Mizuhara, who in one fell swoop has just pissed away perhaps the best job in the world and may have made himself persona non grata in two countries because, as he says, “I’m not a very good gambler.”As the longtime interpreter, confidante, and apparent BFF of the No. 1 baseball player in the world, new Dodger Shohei Ohtani, Mizuhara got to travel the world and hang with Ohtani. Just be a human English-to-Japanese dictionary (and vice versa) a few times a day, and cash team checks that amounted to a reported $500,000 a year.But what Mizuhara apparently did with a lot of that money, plus a substantial chunk of change that he didn’t have, is what reportedly dragged him into a pile of mud that is also getting Ohtani dirty. Details aren’t confirmed, but reports indicate that some $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account was withdrawn to cover Mizuhara’s financial obligations to an illegal (sports betting is not legal in California) gambling outfit.From there things get foggy. Ohtani’s lawyers say the cash was stolen but don’t say by whom or how. And it doesn’t help that both Ohtani and Mizuhara have changed their stories – first saying that Ohtani was aware of the huge gambling debt and then retracting those statements. This raises the question of why an illegal book would extend that much credit to someone like Mizuhara who was clearly not a whale – unless it had collateral. Did we mention that Ohtani’s new contract with the Dodgers will earn him $70 million a year through 2033?Then there’s this – Ohtani, a notoriously private person, picked this past week – just before the sh*t hit the fan regarding his interpreters’ gambling ineptness -- to announce that he has just gotten married. What the blushing bride’s connection to all of this is is uncertain, but one thing IS certain: Spouses cannot be compelled to testify against their husband or wife, so there’s that.As of now there is no evidence that Mizuhara placed bets on baseball, so the suits at MLB can breathe easy for the time being. But what will they do if he did wager on MLB games, and Ohtani’s hands are not that clean? Is Rob Manfred ready to play Bart Giamatti to Ohtani’s Pete Rose, and ban the superstar for life? And if not, why not? You have to wonder if DraftKings will place odds on THAT happening.So many questions, so many conflicting answers, most notably what was Ohtani’s involvement – if any – in his interpreter’s activities? Was Mizuhara a place-holder for Ohtani and now ready to take the fall for the player who was set to become the face of Major League Baseball? Will the Dodgers circle the wagons around their new superstar? How much do the feds care about an activity that may at some point in the not-too-distant future be legal in California? Did Mizuhara steal from Ohtani? How? Will Mizuhara and Ohtani change their story a second time, or stick with what they have?The boiling cauldron will no doubt heat up even more as the Dodger plane sets down in Los Angeles after the team’s two-game season-opening series in South Korea. As Ricky told Lucy, Ohtani “Has a lot of ‘splaining to do.”

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 03/22/2024

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Mar 22, 2024

The Friday sports card features NBA, NHL, and  NCAAB  action.The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Boston Celtics travel to Detroit to play the Pistons as a 13-point road favorite, with the total set at 224 (all odds from DraftKings). The Oklahoma City Thunder play in Toronto against the Raptors as a 15-point road favorite with an over/under of 228. Three NBA games start at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Miami Heat host the New Orleans Pelicans as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 204.5. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in Minnesota to play the Timberwolves. The San Antonio Spurs play at home against the Memphis Grizzlies as a 6-point favorite with an over/under of 218.  Two NBA games begin at 10:10 p.m. ET. The Golden State Warriors are at home against the Indiana Pacers as a 5-point favorite with a total of 237.5. The Los Angeles Clippers visit Portland to play the Trail Blazers as a 12-point road favorite, with an over/under of 217.5. The Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers at 10:40 p.m. ET as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 224.The National Hockey League has four games on its slate. The Carolina Hurricanes play in Washington against the Capitals at 7:07 p.m. ET as a -198 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The Dallas Stars play at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:07 p.m. ET as a -198 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Colorado Avalanche are at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 9:07 p.m. ET as a -345 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Seattle Kraken are in Arizona against the Coyotes at 10:07 p.m. ET, with both teams priced at -110 with a total of 5.5.The college basketball schedule completes the first round of the NCAA tournament with 16 games on national television. Florida Atlantic plays Northwestern on CBS at 12:15 p.m. ET as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 143. Baylor battles Colgate on truTV at 12:40 p.m. ET as a 14-point favorite, with a total of 138.5. San Diego State faces UAB on TNT at 1:45 p.m. ET as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 139. Marquette goes against Western Kentucky on TBS at 2:00 p.m. ET as a 14.5-point favorite with a total of 158. Connecticut challenges Stetson on CBS at 2:45 p.m. ET as a 27-point favorite with an over/under of 146. New Mexico faces Clemson on truTV at 3:10 p.m. ET as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 152. Auburn battles Yale on TNT at 4:15 p.m. ET as a 12.5-point favorite with an over/under of 140. Florida plays Colorado on TBS as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 158.5. Nebraska battles Texas A&M on TNT at 6:50 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 147. Duke goes against Vermont on CBS at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 12-point favorite with a total of 132.5. Purdue plays Grambling State on TBS at 7:25 p.m. ET as a 26.5-point favorite with an over/under of 138.5. Alabama challenges Charleston on truTV at 7:35 p.m. ET as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 173. Houston faces Longwood on TNT at 9:20 p.m. ET as a 24-point favorite with an over/under of 128. Wisconsin plays James Madison on CBS at 9:40 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite with a total of 145. TCU goes against Utah State on TBS at 9:55 p.m. ET as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 150.5. Saint Mary’s battles Grand Canyon on truTV at 10:05 p.m. ET as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 131.

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Look Toward the Pac-12 For Your Women's Futures Bet

by Vegas Writer

Thursday, Mar 21, 2024

Quick, without using Google, name five men's college basketball players off the top of your head.Now name five women.Something tells me you've seen names like Caitlin Clark, Cameron Brink, JuJu Watkins, Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese regularly more than you have any other college basketball names.And don't think for a moment bettors haven't taken an interest, particularly with Clark's Iowa Hawkeyes, any prop they can find on the WNBA-bound sharpshooter - once the NCAA Women's basketball tournament is over - and futures on who will win what might be the most popular season in history."We've had bettors coming into our property asking for lines on women's games all season," said one manager of an off-Strip property. "The interest in women's basketball, especially in this town with the rise of the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA and the UNLV Lady Rebels, has been tremendous."Thus, I'm here to tell you that South Carolina, LSU and Iowa aside, there's good reason to invest in the overall best conference in women's basketball: the Pac-12.The league had its final conference tournament at the MGM Grand Garden, and now rests its hopes on one of seven teams to send the conference out in style, with a national championship before it's disbanded forever.No. 1 USC, No. 2 Stanford and No. 2 UCLA gives the league three teams seeded one or two, which is a Pac-12-era record.The Pac-12 leads all conferences with six ranked teams, including three in the top six of the latest Associated Press Top-25 poll: No. 3 USC, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 UCLA, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 17 Colorado and No. 21 Utah.So which team can win it all?It's hard to argue against Stanford and Tara VanDerveer, the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history. The Cardinal has the talent with Cameron Brink, Kiki Iriafen and Hannah Jump. You give me a team like this 15-1 odds, and I'm going to be holding a ticket with hopes I can get it in the Final Four and hedge back.Then there's USC at 40-1, which is ludicrous, considering this is a Top 5 team, a No. 1 seed, and is bolstered by arguably the best overall player in the game. Clark can fire at free will, and Brink is a defensive power, but Watkins is the future. And after seeing what she did in the Pac-12 Tournament (outside of the title game), she will be on a mission here. When she did have an off game, in the Pac-12 championship, a group of grad-transfers and upperclasswomen who have been there led the way. Coach Lindsay Gottlieb has the coaching smarts to get this team to the final weekend, and with a 40-1 ticket, I'm a buyer.I also wouldn't mind holding a ticket with UCLA at 40-1. The Bruins' seeding and final ranking before the tournament would have been higher had they not lost to the Trojans in the semifinals. They're still dangerous, with Lauren Betts, Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice. Coach Cori Close is an adjustment wizard and can get her girls to compete against any team in the nation.Take your pick among the other Pac-12 teams if you want longer odds: Oregon State (100-1), Utah (150-1), Colorado (250-1), Arizona (2000-1).Fact is, you'll have nothing but value in your hand with a futures ticket on Stanford, USC or UCLA - any of which can win the whole thing - and legitimate longshots with any of the other five, all of which give you presentable opportunities to hedge at some point.By the way, I'm betting you still haven't come up with five men's college basketball names.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB and MLB Previews and Odds - 03/21/2024

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Mar 21, 2024

The Thursday sports card features NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association has seven games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The New Orleans Pelicans travel to Orlando to play the Magic as a 2-point road favorite, with the total set at 208.5 (all odds from DraftKings). The Sacramento Kings play in Washington against the Wizards as an 11-point road favorite with an over/under of 237. Two more NBA games start at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Houston Rockets host the Chicago Bulls as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 216. The Milwaukee Bucks play at home against the Brooklyn Nets as a 9-point favorite with an over/under of 222.5. The Dallas Mavericks are at home against the Utah Jazz at 8:40 p.m. ET as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 238.5. The Denver Nuggets are at home against the New York Knicks at 9:10 p.m. ET as an 8.5-point favorite with an over/under of 209. The Phoenix Suns host the Atlanta Hawks at 10:10 p.m. ET as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 227.5. The National Hockey League has 11 games on its slate. Five NHL games drop the puck at 7:07 p.m. ET. The Ottawa Senators play at home against the St. Louis Blues as a -130 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Boston Bruins are at home against the New York Rangers as a -135 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The Carolina Hurricanes host the Philadelphia Flyers as a -238 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Detroit Red Wings play at home against the New York Islanders as a -112 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Winnipeg Jets are in New Jersey to play the Devils as a -125 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The Florida Panthers are at home against the Nashville Predators at 7:37 p.m. ET as a -192 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Edmonton Oilers host the Buffalo Sabres at 9:07 p.m. ET as a -218 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. Two more NHL games begin at 10:07 p.m. ET. The Anaheim Ducks play at home against the Chicago Blackhawks as a -122 money-line favorite with a total of 6. Two games conclude the NHL card at 10:37 p.m. ET. The Vegas Golden Knights are at home against the Seattle Kraken on ESPN as a -192 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning visit San Jose to play the Sharks as a -375 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The college basketball schedule has 16 games in the first round of the NCAA tournament on national television. Michigan State battles Mississippi State on CBS at 12:15 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 130.5. BYU faces Duquesne on truTV at 12:40 p.m. ET as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 142. Creighton plays Akron on TNT at 1:30 p.m. ET as a 12-point favorite with an over/under of 141. Arizona goes against Long Beach State on TBS at 2:00 p.m. ET as a 20-point favorite with a total of 163.5. North Carolina challenges Wagner on CBS at 2:45 p.m. ET as a 25-point favorite with an over/under of 133.5. Illinois plays Morehead State on truTV at 3:10 p.m. ET as an 11-point favorite with a total of 146.5. Oregon faces South Carolina on TNT at 4:00 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 133.5. Nevada battles Dayton on TBS at 4:30 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with a total of 136.5. Texas battles Colorado State on TNT at 6:50 p.m. ET as a 2-point favorite with an over/under of 133. Kentucky goes against Oakland University on CBS at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 161.5. Gonzaga plays McNeese State on TBS at 7:25 p.m. ET as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 149.5. Iowa State challenges South Dakota State on truTV at 7:35 p.m. ET as a 16-point favorite with a total of 135.5. Tennessee plays Saint Peter’s on TNT at 9:20 p.m. ET as a 21.5-point favorite with an over/under of 130.5. Texas Tech goes against North Carolina State on CBS at 9:40 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite with a total of 145.5. Kansas faces Samford on TBS at 9:55 p.m. ET as a 7-point favorite with a total of 154. Drake battles Washington State on truTV at 10:05 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 137.5.The Major League Baseball regular season continues with the final game of the Seoul Series in South Korea. The Los Angeles Dodgers play the San Diego Padres on ESPN at 6:05 a.m. ET. The Dodgers turn to Yoshinosu Yamamoto as their starting pitcher to face the Padres’ Joe Musgrove. Los Angeles is a -198 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5.

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Betting Over/Unders in Round 1 of March Madness

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024

BETTING THE UNDERSThere are rumors about betting unders in the first rounds of the March Madness tournament and I don’t necessarily disagree. I offer a few ideas one must consider: HUGE ARENAS The totals seem to fly over throughout the tournament due to expert marksmanship from the three point line. However, look at the difference from playing in your 8000-10,000 seat home areas to the monstrous domes they play their first games in. Can you imagine any team shooting their 3-point shots and connecting on 35 to 40 percent? They might get accustomed to the cannaverousdomes by the second halves. It’s doubtful that teams will have success right off the bat. NERVES BY THE PLAYERSSecondly, the nerves the players are presented with are real. Their touch is affected. Their aim and launch is unstable or unsure. They will be instructed to slow the game down until their nerves are settled. BETTING FIRST HALF UNDERSI love betting every game’s first half UNDER the posted total. It’s my understanding that by betting the unders in every game the past 42 years, you have only two losing years. My experience in the past decade is extremely positive so I continue. WILL ALABAMA CONTINUE TO SCOREAlabama boasts the highest-scoring attack in the nation but is far from a shut-down squad on the defensive end. The combination surely appeals to NCAA Tournament first-round opponent Charleston, which has won 12 consecutive games. The scoreboard figures to get a lot of work on Friday when the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide (21-11) face the No. 13 seed Cougars (27-7) in a West Region first-round game at Spokane, Wash.COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON Both teams love to hoist 3-point shots. Charleston ranks third nationally with an average of 30.6 attempts per game, with the Crimson Tide fourth at 30.3. The Cougars aren’t in the same locale as Alabama’s 90.8 points-per-game average but are tied for 34th at 80.5.THE BAMA TOTAL IS 173.5The total is set at 173.5. Simple math has both teams needing to score 87 points each. Bama might hold up their end so consider if Charleston will falter a bit. Additionally , College of Charleston is playing an elite SEC program. That in itself, will cause many shots to fall wayside. With all the ingame betting, I would use that as my barometer in deciding to bet the over. ODDSMAKERS ADJUSTED LINEThe game can definitely go over but remember that with the pregame hype and rumors to bet the over in this game, the oddsmakers have taken note and made more adjustments. Again, that needs to be added to the above list to consider. Good Luck,Wayne Allyn Root

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Selection Committee Choice of Virginia Should Open Our Eyes in NIT

by Vegas Writer

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024

Virginia's humiliating loss in the First Four was embarrassing to the ACC. It was also very embarrassing for the Selection Committee.You think about the end of the season, how Virginia played in those four games it didn't get to 50 points, and then the First Four game against a very good Colorado State team. I'm not taking anything away from the Rams, but that was an embarrassing loss for the Cavaliers.Only 14 points in the first half just does not make a league like the ACC look all that competitive. It also looks as if the Selection Committee dropped the ball.Anyone who says it's an indictment on Tony Bennett and the style of play he coaches, well, it is not. His style of play can still win by defending better and taking care of the basketball. Also, not giving up second shots, choosing the shots they want, not the shots your opponent wants you taking.And if you look at this roster, Virginia missed in recruiting. Some of the great Tony Bennett teams had really good players who bought in and executed at a ridiculously high level on offense and defense. This team was just not talented enough. And that is a reflection of some potential recruiting mistakes, and maybe even NIL issues.Tony Bennett hasn't forgotten how to coach, that system can work. But the game Tuesday night was definitely not a great reflection on both the Selection Committee and the ACC.Having said that, there are teams like Wake Forest, Indiana State, Oklahoma and St. John's - all of which were probably more deserving - look extremely attractive if still playing in the postseason. Two of them opted into the NIT, that being a very angry ACC-team in Wake Forest and Indiana State.Pay close attention, as the anger of both teams could be fueled by knowing they could have turned in a better showing than the Cavaliers.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB and MLB Previews and Odds - 03/20/2024

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024

The Wednesday sports card features NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Cavaliers host the Miami Heat as a 2.5-point favorite, with the total set at 202 (all odds from DraftKings). The Indiana Pacers travel to Detroit to play the Pistons as a 9.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 232.5. Two more NBA games start at 7:40 p.m. ET. The Boston Celtics play at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN as a 9-point favorite, with a total of 223. The Sacramento Kings play in Toronto against the Raptors as a 10.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 232. The Oklahoma City Thunder are at home against the Utah Jazz at 8:10 p.m. ET as a 15-point favorite with a total of 231.5. Three more games conclude the NBA card at 10:10 p.m. ET. The Golden State Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies on ESPN as a 9.5-point favorite with an over/under of 217. The Phoenix Suns play at home against the Philadelphia 76ers as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 220. The Los Angeles Clippers are in Portland to play the Trail Blazers as an 11-point road favorite, with an over/under of 215.5. The National Hockey League has three games on its slate. The Toronto Maple Leafs visit Washington to play the Capitals on TNT at 7:37 p.m. ET as a -142 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Dallas Stars are at home against the Arizona Coyotes at 8:07 p.m. ET as a -285 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Los Angeles Kings host the Minnesota Wild on TNT at 10:07 p.m. ET as a -148 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The college basketball schedule has four tournament games on national television. Montana State battles Grambling on truTV at 6:40 p.m. ET in the first four round of the NCAA tournament at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, as a 4-point favorite with an over/under of 135. Seton Hall plays at home against Saint Joseph’s on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 146.5.Villanova is at home against Virginia Commonwealth on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET in the first round of the NIT as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 131. Colorado challenges Boise State on truTV at 9:10 p.m. ET  in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 140.5.The 2024 Major League Baseball regular season begins with the Seoul Series in South Korea. The Los Angeles Dodgers play the San Diego Chargers on ESPN at 6:05 a.m. ET. The Dodgers give the ball to Tyler Glasnow to pitch against the Padres’ Yu Darvish. Los Angeles is a -192 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5.The final game of this two-game series starts at 6:05 a.m. ET on Thursday. The Dodgers turn to Yoshinosu Yamamoto as their starting pitcher to go against the Padres’ Joe Musgrove. Los Angeles is a -166 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5.

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MLB Futures Wager: Atlanta Braves to Win the 2024 World Series

by Al McMordie

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2024

With the Major League Baseball season starting tomorrow, in Seoul, South Korea, with a two-game series between the Dodgers and Padres, it's time for my annual MLB Futures prediction.  This season, I'm going to go with the Atlanta Braves.  In my opinion, the Braves were the most accomplished team in MLB last year.  Obviously, they didn't win the World Series but they had an amazing campaign in 2023 that included a League-best 104 wins, an MLB all-time team record (tied with the 2019 Twins) 307 home runs, the best overall player in the game (Ronald Acuna), a first baseman that led MLB with 54 of those HRs, and an ace that had 281 strikeouts at a time when it's hard to reach 200 in a season.  Not needing more than some tweaks in the off-season, the Braves added veteran LHP Chris Sale to their rotation and all indications are -- based on the Spring he's having -- that Sale is 100% and ready to contribute in a big way.     It's hard to believe that despite winning 104 games, the Braves will not be the team that most people will have their eyes on as we begin the 2024 season.  That distinction will belong to the Dodgers and it's not even close.  Although there will be pressure on the Braves to go deeper into the post-season come October, it pales in comparison to the microscope that Freddy Freeman, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and new arrivals Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be under in Tinseltown.  In the NL East division, the Phillies will once again keep the Braves honest over 162 regular season games.  But at the end of September, almost everyone expects that Atlanta will be Division Champs once again.  While the Dodgers and Padres should be formidable, there are so many questions to be answered with the changes both teams have undergone, it's hard to tell where they will end up.  But it's steady as she goes for the Braves -- as long as they can stay healthy.  Take Atlanta at +550 (at MGM Sportsbook) to win the 2024 MLB World Series.  As always, good luck...Al McMordie.

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