Gambling

2019 Masters Picks and Props

All plays are in the parenthesis and I’m also sprinkling a little on those second tier guys to win it all. Similar to the CBB conference tournament bets, I’m scaling the size of each bet based on how long the odds are. I’d recommend doing the same.

What a treat this weekend is going to be.

Picks: Individual Finishes

Rory McIlroy (Top 5: +155 / Win: +800)

I don’t know if I’ve ever bet on the favorite of a golf tournament, but there’s too much going Rory’s way to deny here. He hasn’t finished outside the Top 6 in any stroke play event this year. He has five straight Top 10s here at Augusta.

If you look at Rory’s career, he tends to stack wins on top of each other. He won 2 of 3 back in Sept. ’16. He won 2 of 3 in May ’15. He won 3 straight tournaments in ’14. He won 3 of 4 back in the late summer of ’12. Essentially, 10 of his 15 PGA Tour wins have occurred within a couple weeks of another win.

The point, of course, is that he won his last stroke play event.

Justin Rose (Top 5: +250 / Win: +1300)

If I’m being transparent, I don’t really love the number here for Rose, but I bet on him every year at the Masters and I’m not about to stop now. He’s got five straight Top 15s at Augusta. He hasn’t missed the Top 25 in over a decade. He won the Farmers a couple months ago and outside of a rough showing at the Arnold Palmer, Rose has been rock steady all year.

Jon Rahm (Top 5: +350 / Win: +1800)

Rahm hasn’t been at his best the past few weeks, but it’s hard to ignore that 68-65-69 he closed with last year. He’s got enough talent to win the whole damn thing, but we’ll see if he can keep his emotions under wraps.

Paul Casey (Top 10: +270 / Top 5: +550)

Casey is an auto bet here. He’s had four straight Top 15s at Augusta, including three in the Top 6. It’s just an added bonus that he comes in with three Top 5s in the last couple of months, including a win at the Valspar.

Matt Kuchar (Top 10: +340 / Top 5: +750)

Despite the bad pub recently, Kuch has been playing some of his best golf this season, which is why he’s #1 in the FedEx Cup standings. It helps that he’s been playing about every event available, but he’s won a couple of tournaments and added a few other Top 10s this year. He hasn’t missed a cut at Augusta since he started coming here regularly back in 2010 and he’s had four Top 10s in that span.

Xander Schauffele (Top 10: +350 / Top 5: +750)

Xander seems to fly under the radar. He didn’t have the sharpest March, but the guy has won four tournaments in about 2.5 years on the tour. He’s finished in the Top 6 of three majors in just seven tries and only missed one cut. He’s only played the Masters one time and he finished 50th, but he fares well in all the key numbers you look for when it comes to this event.

Patrick Cantlay (Top 20: +175 / Top 10: +475)

Well, this isn’t a pick based on course performance. Cantlay was the low amateur back in 2012, but didn’t return until last year and he missed the cut. But outside of a couple missed cuts, Cantlay has seven Top 25 finishes with four of those coming in the Top 10. He’s a solid player overall, but a good putting week will be necessary if he’s gonna push for another Top 10 this week.

Si Woo Kim (Top 20: +250 / Top 10: +700)

Hard to pass a guy up at this number when he’s finished in the Top 5 in three of his last five stroke play events. He’s gone MC, T24 in his first two trips to the Masters. A 68-71 weekend last year has to make you feel like he’s starting to learn how to make it around the course.

Gary Woodland (Top 20: +250 / Top 10: +700)

I’m not gonna lie to you, Gary has a terrible track record in this event. But he has six Top 10s this year and he ranks highly in every key statistic for having success at Augusta. Maybe he puts some things together this year.

Corey Conners (Top 20: +450 / Top 10: +1300)

Gotta ride the hot hand. Conners just won the Texas Open by two strokes after missing cuts in five of his previous six events. Conners has only made 5 of 13 cuts this season, but of the five cuts he made, he finished in the Top 5 on three occasions. It’s pretty much all or nothing for Conners.

Props

Hole in One in Round 4 – +1400

My goodness, what an embarrassing number here. Three straight years there’s been a hole in one on Sunday at 16 and it’s happened a total of five times in that span.

Top Australian – Marc Leishman +300

Jason Day and Adam Scott have lower odds, but I don’t think either of them come in playing any better than Leishman, who’s a pretty consistent guy. Scott’s a former winner, but it’s not like he contends every year. Day’s had a few Top 10s, but Leishman has been there as well. Cam Smith is the other Australian player. He’s a decent player, but hasn’t looked very good since February.

 

 

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2019 Ivy League Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

Only the Top 4 make the field. Two day event on Yale’s home floor. The semis are on ESPNU. Championship game is on ESPN2 early on Sunday.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

Yale -165

Other Contenders

Harvard +425

Penn +425

Darkhorse Candidates

Princeton +1350

Unfortunately Irrelevant

None.

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

If nothing else, Yale probably maximizes the seed level based on their whole season, even if there isn’t a huge difference from a talent/potential level between them and Harvard and Penn. I think they could all pull an upset in the first round, but Yale is probably the only one that could get up to the 13 line.

Best Bet

Harvard +425

The Crimson have been banged up all year and Penn rates higher in the analytical rankings, but I think Harvard has proven itself to be the better, more consistent team  since Bryce Aiken has come back and they’ve been dealing with those injuries the whole time. AJ Brodeur is a great player, but so is Aiken and I’ll take the team with the dominant guard over the dominant big man.

Your -165 favorite has lost three of their last five.

2019 American Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 12 teams make the field, Top 4 get byes. Games are all played on Memphis’ home floor. Games start on Thursday and end Sunday.

First round is on ESPNU. Second round is on ESPN2 and ESPNU. Semis on ESPN2. Final on ESPN.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

Houston +105

Other Contenders

Cincinnati +220

UCF +450

Temple +600

Memphis +800

Darkhorse Candidates

Wichita State +1700

UConn +5000

SMU +5000

Tulsa +6000

USF +6000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Tulane +10000

East Carolina +30000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Houston, Cincinnati, UCF 

Temple is the closest right now to making the field and that would be a fun story with it being Fran Dunphy’s last year. The Owls have some talented guys and I can’t hate on them.

But it’s hard not to back Memphis here. The Penny factor is huge. Not just because he’s Penny Hardaway, but the resentment he seems to elicit from fellow coaches kinda makes me pull for the guy because most coaches kinda seem like assholes, if we’re being honest. The Tigers also never stop running, are always on the attack, and play with a bit of reckless abandon out there. Is it the purest form of basketball? Not really, but it’s entertaining as hell.

Best Bet

Wichita State +1700

I mean, it’s just staring you right in the face, isn’t it? The Shockers have had a down year like they were expected to after all they lost last year. But it’s starting to turn around. They’ve won 9 of their last 11, only dropping a close game at home to Memphis and a road game at Cincinnati. The team can’t shoot to save its life, but they’ve saved themselves by getting second-chance opportunities and taking care of the ball.

The draw sets up pretty nicely for them. They can only play one of the favorite (Houston) or the home team (Memphis). Their first round game should be no problem with ECU. They lost their only matchup with Temple, but that was back in early January. The season started to turn around a month later. Cinci would be a tough matchup in the semis, but the Bearcats have not been playing their best basketball at the end of the season. The Shockers have had convincing victories over both SMU and Tulsa recently.

It’s his worst team in a while, but Gregg Marshall has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the country and he’s accomplished a lot in March, especially at a mid-major program. Put a small amount on it and let it ride.

2019 Big West Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

8 of 9 teams make the field. Cal Poly was the odd man out and they fired Joe Callero, which was stupid. All games played in Anaheim. The field is reseeded after the quarterfinals, which can make things tough to predict. They start on Thursday and end with the Saturday night/Sunday morning 12 am EST, degenerate special.

You can see the TV schedule below.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

UC Irvine -165

Other Contenders

UCSB +435

Hawaii +900

Fullerton +1050

Darkhorse Candidates

Long Beach State +2200

UC Davis +2500

Cal St. Northridge +3500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

UC Riverside +12500

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Irvine is the obvious pick with how dominant they’ve been. Anteater basketball can be dreadful to watch sometimes, but the offense has started to come along quite nicely. Their penchant for slowing things down and playing stingy defense doesn’t always make for the most entertaining basketball, but it could add some drama to the NCAAT. They nearly won a 4/13 matchup against Louisville a few years ago.

Fullerton and Long Beach would probably be the preferred alternatives just because they play fast and chaotic and they’ve got some of the best players in the league.

Best Bet

Long Beach State +2200

They’re worth like a 0.1 unit flyer. They’ve won their last five and they’re the only team that’s beat Irvine in conference play and they did it on the road. They proved it wasn’t a fluke because they nearly beat the Eaters again at home. I’m guessing most don’t know that Irvine/Long Beach is a big rivalry in those parts and that puts some added pressure on the heavy favorite should that matchup occur.

Obviously they’ve got their issues or they wouldn’t be 22-to-1. One of them being that they got swept by their first round opponent, Hawaii. But they’ve got one of the best scorers in the league in Deishuan Booker and the Finnish sniper Edon Maxhuni looks like he’s starting to heat up again.

2019 WAC Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

8 of 9 teams make the field. Cal Baptist isn’t eligible for the postseason, so they have to sit out. Standard bracket otherwise, with games starting on Thursday and finished by Saturday in Las Vegas. First couple rounds are on ESPN+ with the championship being shown on ESPNU.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

New Mexico State -230

Other Contenders

Utah Valley +410

Grand Canyon +500

Darkhorse Candidates

UTRGV +1700

Seattle +2500

CS Bakersfield +3500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

UMKC +10000

Chicago State +500000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

It’s a very strong Top 3 for the WAC, but New Mexico State is the pick. The Aggies are a legit team. They’ve won 15 in a row. They nearly beat Kansas in Kansas City back in December. They’re one of the best rebounding teams in the country. The Aggies have made six of the last seven tournaments.

Grand Canyon obviously has the Thunder Dan Majerle factor and with that comes the Thunder Dan Majerle Tan factor.

Best Bet

Utah Valley +410

Not only is NMSU the best team here, but they essentially get a bye with Chicago State.

But UVU has won seven straight and 10 of their last 11. Their last two losses have been to NMSU, but both of those were tight games and they should’ve won at home, but let it slip away. The Wolverines can shoot it all over the floor, but turnovers can be their downfall.

Grand Canyon’s not a bad option either, but they come in losing their last three and just haven’t been as steady as UVU. They also have a more loseable first round game against Seattle.

Speaking of Seattle, they’d probably be my pick for a darkhorse. They’ve won five of six heading in, but in order to win the thing they’d probably have to beat all three of the Top 3 and they’ve gone 1-5 against them this year.

 

2019 SEC Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 14 teams make the field, Top 10 get byes, Top 4 get a double bye. Starts on Wednesday, ends on Sunday. All games played on a neutral floor in Nashville, obviously an advantage for Van…haha, just kidding, Vandy is terrible.

You can see where to find the games below.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorites

Kentucky +185

Tennessee +215

Other Contenders

Auburn +500

LSU +625

Darkhorse Candidates

Mississippi State +1350

Florida +1750

Ole Miss +4500

South Carolina +5000

Arkansas +8500

Alabama +8500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Texas A&M +20000

Missouri +20000

Georgia +25000

Vanderbilt +75000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss

There’s a few decent options here, but I’d most like to see Arkansas probably., even though they’re the furthest from actually making the NCAAT. If I have to live with another mediocre high major team in the tournament, at least give me one that plays with an element of chaos. The Hogs create a lot of turnovers, they foul a lot, and they want to get out and play in transition.

Another option is their opening round opponent, Florida. I pretty much hate the Gator offense, but they guard their asses off and I can at least respect that. If Jalen Hudson can keep up on this upward trajectory, they become a much more dangerous team. Big if, though.

I wouldn’t hate to see Alabama because they have so much raw talent, but the offense can be pretty brutal at times.

Best Bet

Auburn +500

The Tigers have been rough lately in the SEC Tournament, but they come in playing better than they have recently. They were the 1 seed last year, but were on a slide heading in. This year they’ve won 6 of 7 and the draw sets up perfect for them.

Their opening round is against Missouri or Georgia. Please. They then would get South Carolina, who has one remotely impressive win away from Columbia this year. In the semis they would get LSU, Florida, or Arkansas. Not saying any is easy, but they’re better than Florida and Arkansas and LSU is just chaos right now.

We’ll see how the other side of the bracket shakes out, but Auburn is capable of taking out either of the two favorites.

2019 A-10 Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 14 teams make the field, Top 10 get a bye, with the Top 4 getting a double bye. Games start on Wednesday and conclude on Sunday.

The first round is on ESPN+, second and third rounds are on NBCSN, semis are on CBSSN, and the championship game is on CBS.

THE BRACKET

a10.jpg

THE ODDS

Favorite

VCU +100

Other Contenders

Dayton +350

Davidson +460

Darkhorse Candidates

St. Bonaventure +925

Saint Louis +2000

George Mason +2850

Rhode Island +4000

Duquesne +9000

St. Joseph’s +10000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

La Salle +22500

UMass +22500

Richmond +30000

GW +75000

Fordham +75000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: VCU

It has without a doubt been a down year for the league, but Dayton and Davidson are still about the same quality of team that you see on the current bubble, they just missed some opportunities early in the year.

You’re not going to get a ton of points with either team because of their slower pace, but they both move the ball really well and have two of the better halfcourt offenses out there. Plenty of good guards and wings to choose from on either team. Obviously both have been in the tournament quite often in the past decade or so, which doesn’t hurt with the average fan.

Best Bet

VCU +100

I mean it just seems highly unlikely that the Rams lose before the championship. They’re likely to play Rhode Island in their first game, who they just beat by 34. Their semi matchup is likely either the Bonnies or GMU. They beat the Bonnies by 30 on the road in their only matchup. They just beat GMU by 35 on the road like a week ago.

Does any of that make you nervous? At that point, you can hedge them in the final to guarantee a profit or you can just roll with them because they’ve clearly differentiated themselves as the best team in the conference.

Davidson and Dayton are decent enough, but they’ve both proven that they’re untrustworthy. Davidson has lost multiple times to teams in the “Unfortunately Irrelevant” category. Dayton has lost multiple home games to middling teams in the league.

2019 Big Ten Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 14 teams make the field, Top 10 get byes, Top 4 get a double bye. All games played on a neutral floor in Chicago. Starts on Wednesday and is the last game played on Sunday before the selection show.

First three rounds are on BTN, with the semis and championship game being played on CBS.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

Michigan State +190

Other Contenders

Purdue +250

Michigan +350

Wisconsin +650

Darkhorse Candidates

Maryland +1550

Indiana +3300

Penn State +5000

Iowa +6000

Minnesota +6600

Ohio State +10000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Nebraska +15000

Illinois +30000

Rutgers +30000

Northwestern +30000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota (probably)

The Big Ten has been a little crazy over the last few weeks with some of the mid-level teams arguably playing even better than the Top 5.

Ohio State is currently playing themselves out of the field thanks to Kaleb Wesson’s suspension and it might be for the best in terms of the NCAAT. They’ve never been the most entertaining team to watch and they didn’t pick up a single victory over the Top 5 in the league.

Indiana certainly has the program cache and the starpower to make things interesting. From a basketball standpoint, I would’ve said they were a drag a couple weeks ago, but they suddenly started playing some entertaining offense again and I can get on board with that version of the Hoosiers.

Penn State is on a tear right now and capable of beating anybody when they’re locked in defensively.

Illinois might be the most fun pick, though. They create some chaos defensively. Big Giorgi has an infectious personality. Ayo Dosunmu is a potential lottery pick. And Trent Frazier has a little bit of crazy in him and is a great shooter, which can make for some crazy shotmaking at times. But they might’ve hit their peak a few weeks ago.

Best Bet

Michigan +350

Based on the way John Beilein is talking, it sounds like Charles Matthews will most likely be back soon. Of the Top 4 teams that get double byes, I think the Wolverines have the best draw. They’re either playing Iowa, Illinois, or Northwestern in the quarters. All three are ice cold. They’re not guaranteed to have to face Purdue because the Boilers either have to play Minnesota – a terrible matchup for them – or Penn State, who is red hot.

Obviously the first two games against Michigan State didn’t go well, but I hardly think it’s because they’re incapable of beating the Spartans. It’s also hard not to like Beilein here. He’s won the last two BTTs and has obviously had a lot of success in the NCAAT. He’s great in these scenarios.

2019 Pac-12 Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 12 teams make the field, Top 4 get byes. All games on a neutral court in Las Vegas. Starts on Wednesday and concludes with a late Saturday night championship game.

Most of the games are on the Pac-12 Network, except one semi and the championship is on ESPN.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

None?

Other Contenders

Washington +325

Oregon +390

Arizona State +425

Oregon State +450

Colorado +700

Darkhorse Candidates

Utah +1000

Arizona +2500

UCLA +2500

USC +3000

Stanford +3000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Washington State +25000

Cal +25000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Washington (I think)

I’m not gonna say no one because I’ve trashed the Pac-12 enough and I’m trying to be a better person and not say that the league is an utter disgrace and Larry Scott is the most overpaid human being in America.

So instead I’ll say Arizona State. 90% of the reasoning for the Sun Devils is you know you’re gonna get Bobby Hurley being an absolute psycho on the sidelines. They also play a fast pace and have shown themselves capable of beating good teams over the past couple years, but the desire to see Arizona State is mostly for this:

Related image

A team off the radar that I actually enjoy is Colorado. Tyler Bey is an animal. McKinley Wright’s a talented guard. Lucas Siewert can shoot it. They’re not all bad.

Best Bet

Oregon +390

I don’t know who to believe in because they’re all so flawed. The Ducks have a ton of talent, the best coach in the league, and a history of success in this tournament. They’re also on a four-game win streak. I have no idea. That’s my take.

2019 Big Sky Tournament Betting Preview

THE FORMAT

All 11 teams make the field, Top 5 get the byes. Starts on Wednesday and ends on Saturday with every game being played in Boise.

The first three rounds will be streamed on Pluto TV. Quarters and semis will be on Eleven Sports. Championship game will be on ESPNU.

THE BRACKET

THE ODDS

Favorite

Montana +135

Other Contenders

Northern Colorado +280

Weber State +575

Darkhorse Candidates

Eastern Washington +925

Montana State +1150

Portland State +1700

Southern Utah +4000

Sacramento State +6000

Northern Arizona +6600

Idaho State +7000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Idaho +12500

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Montana is the gold standard of the league recently, but Northern Colorado is nipping at their heels and has the best scorer in the league with Jordan Davis.

Best Bet

Northern Colorado +280

Montana was the defending champs heading into this season and I’d say the overwhelming favorite to repeat this year. But the Grizzlies lost their big interior man Jamar Akoh midway through the year and have had to adapt their style without him. They’re shooting a lot more threes these days and the rebounding numbers have fallen quite a bit on both ends.

But Montana still won the league outright thanks to NCU blundering their senior night and dropping an OT game against Northern Arizona.

Why I like NCU to win the title that really counts in this league: 1) They’re the best defensive team in the league and the best defensive team has won the Big Sky Tournament the last four years. This is an offensive league and I always like taking the best defenses in those situations. 2) They have the best player/scorer in Davis. 3) I think they’ll be extra motivated to win this championship after letting the regular season slip away in such maddening fashion.

I will say there is one thing that makes me a little leery here: awards. NCU swept the individual awards with POY, ROY, DPOY, and COY all going to a different member of the Bears. Obviously that means they have good players, but it also means the experienced, defending champs – who also won the league outright this year – got zero individual awards and might be playing with a chip on their shoulder.