Segway into Spring…

The stage is set for the 2023 Men’s Final Four. Representing the South region is San Diego St. (5). They will be facing the winners of the East region, Florida Atlantic (9). Representing the West region is UCONN (4). They will be facing the winners of the Midwest region, Miami (5). With how much talk is surrounding the “randomness” of this year’s Final Four, I think it is worth mentioning the total of each team’s seed added up. Obviously, the lowest number of seeds added up that reach the Final Four can be 4 (when all #1 seeds reach the Final Four *occurred in 2008*). If you look at it this way, this has been the second most random Final Four since tournament seeding began in 1979. This year’s total is at 23; only the 2011 Final Four accumulated a higher total than this year. The 2011 Final Four featured UCONN (3), Kentucky (4), Butler (8), and VCU (11). For those of you counting at home, that adds up to 26; deeming it the most random Final Four of all time!

Currently, San Diego St. are slight favorites over the Owls of FAU (+2). The other match-up favors the UCONN Huskies (-5.5) against Miami. Vegas believes that these two games will be far different from one another, however. The totals for these two games are separated by 18 points. FAU vs. SDSU (O/U: 131.5), MIA vs. UCONN (O/U: 149.5). By this point in the tournament, all of these teams are “clicking” offensively. However, if your gut is screaming at you to hammer the UNDER then I would advise looking at making a play at the 1H UNDER(s). Typically, it takes a bit for these Final Four games to get into a rhythm and flow. Especially since these athletes have probably never performed in a 75,000 seated stadium before; shots might be a touch off with an unfamiliar backdrop, extra nerves are still present, you name it. I use three metrics to track any givens team’s offensive efficiency/output with a grading system based on a singular threshold that grades a team on a pass-fail system. The three metrics are FG% (threshold 45%), FT% (threshold 71%), and 3PT% (threshold 36%). All four of these teams are above these metrics’ thresholds, aside from UCONN’s three-point field goal percentage, which is only slightly below the threshold at 35.7%. Point being, although these teams are pretty stout on the defensive side, their offenses are just as powerful and efficient; so much so that I would have a hard time siding with the UNDER in these two matchups – unless, of course, it is for the first half.

Heading to the outdoors, MLB Opening Day began on Thursday with some fascinating pitching match-ups on display: Aaron Nola (PHL) vs. Jacob deGrom (TEX) and Shane Bieber (CLV) vs. Luis Castillo (SEA), just to name a few. Although still seven months out, let’s take a look at the current World Series champion odds via MyBookie. The Astros are the current favorites (+600), followed by the Braves and Dodgers (+700), and both of the New York franchises sitting at +750. The oddsmakers foresee a 2021 World Series match-up between Houston and Atlanta. Click HERE to view the full list of odds. Action Network provides useful early season MLB betting angles to be on the lookout for when making your MLB plays. For the most part, early season baseball lines are based on assumptions, right? Then it would be to no surprise that early season underdogs with a money-line greater than +140 have profited 15% since 2005. In addition, road underdogs could provide even more value as home field advantage might be overvalued in the early parts of the year, simply because traveling squads are not yet experiencing jet lag and/or general travel lethargy. Those factors may become more prominent as the season moves along and the temperatures rise.

Sport lovers can rejoice after research shows that attending live sporting events and life satisfaction correlate. Researchers surveyed 7,209 individuals from ages 16 to 85. “The analysis showed that attending a live sporting event made for higher self-reported scores on life satisfaction and lower scores on loneliness. Participants who had attended a live sporting event within the past year were more likely to report that their lives were worthwhile – adding a live game into the mix predicted higher self-reported life satisfaction than some demographic factors, such as age or employment, that can indicate how worthwhile someone finds their life” (Blakemore, 2023). This seems like it could be a very useful card to pull on my wife when trying to buy tickets to a sporting event!

March 31st, 2023 MLB Road Underdogs
White Sox @ Astros+125
Rockies @ Padres+165
Guardians @ Mariners+140
Diamondbacks @ Dodgers+160
early season underdogs have profited 15% on the ML since 2005 (MLB)