After reading Joe Lunardi’s book that I referred to in the post titled It’s never too early to utter Joe Lunardi’s name… on October 1st, I was surprised to find that there is no true “algorithm” that Joey Brackets formulates while he constructs his bracketology predications week after week. That was one of the many talking-points that I took away from his book. One thought that got brought up that I found very interesting left me pondering: was ESPN the beneficiary of March Madness or was it the other way around? Lunardi states, “It begs the question: did college sports, especially college basketball, grow because of ESPN, or did ESPN grow because of college hoops?” I got to thinking and began to take this idea a step further as it more adequality relates to this particular blog – Has sports in general become more popular because of sports gambling? I would have to argue yes, and quite frankly would not accept the ladder. Sports gambling has allowed for the low to moderate sports fans to become average sports fans, the average sports fan to become an avid sports fan, so on and so forth. It’s not like this is some new thing to us right? Well kind of… in 1949 sports gambling became legalized in Nevada and only Nevada. So maybe it is like a bright and shiny new toy to most of us even though the act of sports gambling has been know for quite some time. However, now that more and more states are beginning to legalize betting while coupling that with the availability and access to online bookies, odds, and other platforms encompassing sports gambling gives way for a whole new crowd of the masses to enter the sports gambling realm. So when you get the chance, ask yourself: who is the real beneficiary? Popularity of sports because of legalized gambling access or gambling in general due to sports. Similar to the ole’ “chicken before the egg” phenomenon because non-sports gambling has been around long before organized sports have been. Oh, I took Quinnipiac (+1) at home over Marist tonight -you’re welcome.
While we are on the topic of beneficiaries; how much is Jimmy G. thriving off the fact that he has a very solid, young head coach and not to mention that he has had the best defense (2019) and the 6th best defense (present), in terms of total yards, in both of his playoff runs.
With this being said, I tend to value the 49ers defense despite the fact that the NFC Championship game will be played on turf which is rather friendly to the OVERS. I like the UNDER in this game at 46.5. I foresee these teams having a very difficult time scoring, especially in the first half. If you are as high on the 49ers defense as I am than you may want to go against the mean of siding with the Rams in this NFC West showdown. The sharpest NFL sports gamblers love to make their living on taking road underdogs that have solid defenses. Hmmmm… oh! the 49ers meet this criteria. This game has a final score of 17-16 written all over it to me for whatever reason. Take that projected total of 33 with a grain of salt, would ya. I say this because over the past four years, the favorites in conference championship weekend have gone 11-5 ATS. Obviously this would contradict the 49ers play; however, Kyle Shanahan (49ers HC) is 7-3 against Sean McVay’s Rams while winning six straight of those seven. This a classic example of “buyer beware.” Nevertheless, should be a great match-up this upcoming Sunday afternoon!