The COVID-Kids and their counterparts…

Week 8 of the NFL season is this weekend. Although the corona-virus has presented play with numerous amounts of speed bumps competition has continued on – for better or worse… The BIG10 football conference has finally resumed play after taking a more conservative stance as far as athletic competition is concerned. However, the conservative efforts may have been all for not. Just this past week, the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game has been postponed due to a an outbreak among Badger athletes and coaches. With so many postponements/cancellations occurring over the NFL and NCAAF landscape, schools and franchises are beginning to crack down on safety measures and protocols to keep their seasons in tact and unfold as smooth as possible. In fact, the Carolina Panthers organization released CB Josh Hawkins after recorded on video dancing in a crowded restaurant without wearing a mask. This is a classic example of a “zero tolerance policy.”

I know, I know, the video seems very harmless. Whether the decision to release Hawkins was right or wrong is irrelevant. Point being, NFL and NCAAF programs are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their players and keep their season’s afloat.


Aside from the virus in general, let’s get to some NFL mid season gambling trends. We are basically half way through the season and by now we have a very solid sample size on each team and their superiority/inferiority along with their respective identities. Side note: I have the TV on here in front of me and I just glanced upon an absurd stat that flashed on ESPN. This season, the New York Jets have a point differential of -118. Take a guess at what the point differential that the rest of the league has compiled over the course of the season??? +118. To put this in perspective, the team with the second worst point differential in the NFL is the Dallas Cowboys at -67. Yikes. Anyways, if you’re like myself, I have struggled this year in terms of my NFL plays. Let’s get into some of the betting trends that have presented themselves thus far during the 2020 NFL season. Thus far, road teams are covering 55% ATS; couple that with underdogs are also covering 55% of the games. What does this tell us? Ding, ding, ding: Look at making your plays on those road underdogs. In fact, they are 58% ATS this NFL season. I agree, it is very hard to take underdogs, especially when you know that they are those so called inferior opponents. However, keep in mind that these are all professionals (specifically in the NFL).

The first version of the NFL mock draft has been released, and here is what CBS Sports has… Spoiler Alert: the Jets are the presumed number one overall pick! Despite the recent Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence positive COVID-19 test, the New York Jets are sure to move on from previous first round pick (Sam Darnold) and acquire Lawrence to begin their rebuilding process. Click the link below to take a look at the first version of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Hoping for a bit more Madness come March…

Is it just me, or does it seem like we have not been given college basketball in quite some time? Luckily for us, the wait is just about over! The college basketball season officially tips off November 30th with the Maui Invitational. DISCLAIMER: The Maui Invitational will not be held in Maui, Hawaii; but rather in Asheville, North Carolina. Regardless, we get college basketball! I just feel slightly bad for those kids during their recruiting visit that were told they would have the opportunity to play in Hawaii this upcoming season… sorry bud, better luck next year. Nevertheless, basketball is basketball and a season is a season; at least for the time being. Stay up to date with Joe Leonardi’s Bracketology projections and this preseason Top 25 video below…

Joe Leonardi’s current Bracketology projections

Similar to any other NCAAB season tip-off, many teams compete in non-conference tournaments (i.e “Maui” Invitational reference above) early in their respective seasons. Many of these games feature schools that are not accustomed to the “bright lights” of ESPN coverage. Hence, nerves are inevitably a bit higher being the beginning of the season and playing games that of which are nationally televised. This can be very daunting for young athletes, especially from those smaller, non Power 5 conference program players. Think about it – when you were 19 years old, would your performance alter (for better or for worse) if you knew that you would be watched by millions of viewers. Point being, this “altered” performance is typically in the negative direction. I understand that the “bright lights” can bring out the best in some athletes; however, the latter is more frequently exuded. In recent years, these early, non-conference match-ups tend to lean towards the UNDER; especially when point spreads are in the 20’s and 30’s meaning that a “power-house” is facing off against a small MEAC school, for example.

Now, while I’ve got you, we have to talk about this unusual 2020 MLB Postseason. Hell, who am I kidding, this whole year has been unusual, to say the least. Currently, the MLB Postseason is in the midst of both the American and National League Championships. Thus far the Rays are on top of the Astros (3 games to 2) in the American League and the Braves are leading the Dodgers (3 games to 1) in the National League. Once these match-ups have concluded, we will begin the 2020 MLB World Series. Although this season, postseason, and eventually World Series will differ than all others before; nevertheless, we can still use similar tactics, principles, and trends when gambling on this year’s World Series. Teams that are able to win the ALCS/NLCS in five or fewer games have an advantage if their World Series opponent went six or more games in their series. Why is this? Well besides the obvious answer of more rest, these teams now have the opportunity to map out and set their starting rotations to their preference; whereas their opponent that just got done with a hard fought seven game series may have to just go with the next man up approach. Over the past twelve years, the World Series favorite (once WS match-up is established) has gone 5-7. That’s an alarming stat, right?! Clearly, over recent years the underdog in World Series match-ups provides us (the bettor) with incredible value. Not only are you more likely to win, but your rate of return will be greater than that of which you wagered!

If the 2020 World Series does, in fact, consists of the Rays and Braves than I beg of you to please take the UNDER in each and every game. These two franchises have elite pitching staff’s with flame throwers left and right (see what I did there?) Also in my opinion, both of these teams have very average line-ups that I believe will not be able to keep up with one another’s pitching staff’s. UNDER UNDER UNDER if our 2020 World Series match-up consists of the Rays and Braves.

Weekend Football Picks:

SOUTH FLORIDA (+11) @ TEMPLE – Pick = SOUTH FLORIDA

FALCONS@ VIKINGS (-4) – Pick = VIKINGS

It takes 10 to Tango…

I know, I know, I know. There are more than ten members apart of the BIG10. In fact, there are 14. Announced on September 16th, the BIG10 conference released that they would resume football competition in late October. Come October 24th, the Week 1 BIG10 marquee match-up is slated for Michigan @ Minnesota. For better or worse, no gambling options are yet available for the BIG10 games with players that have opted out, now opting back in. Going forward, who knows how the player in-and-out carousel will unfold.

Video provided below is the Zoom meeting that took place for the announcement of the continuation of the BIG10 football season…

While we are on the topic of BIG10 football, lets go ahead and discuss some college football sports gambling tips to look for throughout the remainder of the season. Let me preface by stating that the information provided was aided by Josh Appelbaum, author and professional sports gambler. We will uncover some of the college football gambling angles and potential teams that may fall under these qualifications/criteria for this upcoming week of college football match-ups. Appelbaum has concluded that home football teams ATS cover 48.8% of the time; hence, road teams cover at a 51.2% clip. To piggy-back on these analytics, ROAD UNDERDOGS have been covering 51.1% of games. By this point, you might be thinking to yourself, 51.2% and 51.1%, those are not winning/significant odds to give YOU, the bettor, an advantageous edge; remember: every added value helps, even the smallest of ones. Once we have our ROAD UNDERDOG method established, we need to look for them in match-ups where the TOTAL (U/D) is less than 50. In these types of games, teams meeting this criteria cover at a solid rate of 53.2%. Again, we are chipping away at our plays of the day being more than just a “flip of a coin.” The idea behind this edge is when a particular game is not projected to produce too many points (by NCAAF standards) than the UNDERDOG will benefit by way of fewer points scores, meaning a “tighter” game. Now, lets sift through the teams that meet these three particular criteria for Week 4 of the college football season. Teams that Josh and I would recommend keeping an eye on to cover this Saturday include: Kentucky (+7 vs. Auburn), Army (+13 vs. Cincinnati), UTEP (+10, vs. LA Monroe), Duke (+5, vs. Virginia), and Vanderbilt (+30.5, vs. Texas AM). For the record, I am very high on the Blue Devils to cover ATS this Saturday. They are in a bounce back spot after their Week 3 loss against Boston College and they meet the three criteria.

As always, best of luck with your future plays and during this college football season. BIG10, welcome back… PAC12, where ya at?! Check out Josh Appelbaum’s book titled “The Everything Guide to Sports Betting” on Amazon, or wherever your get your books. Thanks guys and stay safe!

NFL FF tips, strategies, & angles…

FF 2020 blog

Fantasy owners rejoice! The NFL season looks very promising despite the absence of the four weeks of preseason. Starting with some of the more notable off-season acquisitions, here are a few to keep in mind when beginning to compute your Fantasy Football Draft strategies. First, we can get the obvious one out of the way with Tom Brady (QB) heading south to Tampa Bay with Bruce Arians. Going down the line: DeAndre Hopkins (WR) to the Cardinals, Stefon Diggs (WR) to the Bills, and Emmanuel Sanders (WR) to the Saints; just to name a few. Here is a quick link to obtain your PPR cheat sheet, your welcome PPR CHEAT SHEET BY POSITION

Aside from the ever-growing Fantasy Football phenomena; let’s take a look at some of the Week 1 sports gambling strategies. According to Action Network, the point spread that is most “off” for NFL’s Week 1 is the Steelers @ Giants match-up. Currently, the line is FF players blogSteelers (-3.5); Action Network believes that this line should have the Steelers as a 6 point favorite, despite being road favorites. However, remember your rules… Over the past 10 Week 1’s of the NFL season, teams that are getting 3 or fewer points (UNDERDOGS) are actually winning 52% of those games! This is a money-line fanatic’s dream come true. “So you’re telling me that every team that is getting 3 or fewer points will be profitable on the money-line?!” I would respond with: “Yes, according to history you would be a profitable gambler in Week 1 without doing any real homework and/or number crunching.” Taking this a step further, teams with a worse previous year recorded win percentage in the opening week of the NFL favored quite well against their opponents. In fact, they win outright 43% of the time, and cover ATS 58% of the time. Please, do not fall victim to a teams’ last years successes or detriments.

To all, best of luck this fantasy season and take a look at the 2020 team and their dynamics and roster; not the 2019 version of them. To piggy back on this idea, once Week 2 of the NFL season comes along, do not fall in love with a teams’ Week 1 performance. There are 17 weeks in an NFL season; one week’s result will not uncovered a teams true identity as a whole for the remainder of the season.

NFL Week 1 Picks:

Raiders @ Panthers (+1.5) PICK = PANTHERS

Texans @ Chiefs (-10) PICK = TEXANS

This bubble just won’t burst…

nba draft blog

This NBA bubble is one tough bubble, unlike its other bubble cousins; this bubble is durable and efficient. The NBA Bubble metaphor has been a name that has caught on, to say the least. This “bubble” has withstood the Lou Williams nightclub fleeing, unwelcomed Tinder hookups, and relatively poor meals. Bravo NBA, bravo. It seems as if the NBA Bubble is actually a success… thus far. The NBA playoffs got underway August 17th which displayed both number one seeds falling to the eight seed’s in Game 1 of the nba bubble blog NBA Playoffs. This begs the question(s): Is the bubble creating parody? Or is this just a coincidence? Regardless, drama is brewin’ out at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

So how do we tackle these NBA bubble games in terms of sports gambling and laying action on them? For starters, the Zig-Zag Theory has been a very effective gambling angle for quite sometime that has been known to be profitable among sports gamblers. The Zig-Zag Theory is simple: if an NBA team loses outright in the playoffs, the next game that same team will cover ATS in their next competition. Note: This is not to say that they will win, but rather they will cover the offered point-spread. The Zig-Zag Theory… easy to use, effective, and requires little homework/thinking. This is a breath of fresh air after reading all of the sports gambling books that regurgitate these algorithms that are often very time consuming and intricate. One that utilizes this advantage will reap the benefits of a 62% covering rate. Hence, if you like a a playoff team after a loss, put your money where your mouth is! lamelo ball blog While we are on the topic of NBA, today was the NBA Draft Lottery. The Minnesota Timberwolves were granted with the number overall selection. The presumptuous number one pick in this years’ NBA Draft is LaMelo Ball. He is currently tearing it up overseas and apparently the scouts are liking what their seeing. Picks 2, 3, 4, and 5 are held by the Warriors, Hornets, Bulls, and Cavaliers.

Don’t look now, but Week 1 of the NFL season is less than one month away. The Chiefs will host the Texans for Thursday Night Football on September 10th. Currently, the Chiefs are 9.5 points favorites. Is this line inflated because of the Chiefs 2020 Super Bowl win? Possibly. It is common knowledge that Super Bowl winners are not great ATS in Week 1 match-ups. In addition, the Texans were victorious over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6. Look to see a hungry Texans squad to cover this point spread in Week 1 and possibly even win outright. Besides, it’s 2020 right?! Who knows, take the points!!!

 

Early trends: COVID-19’s impact on sports…

 

 

 

 

For better or for worse, sports are in full swing. Sure, basketball should have been wrapped up by now and baseball should have about 120 games under its belt. Nevertheless, these sports are trying during a time where there are no right answer’s. I cannot even begin to imagine the behind-the-scenes operations that are taking place among each of these respective leagues. In terms of sports gambling, obviously some of the typically do’s and dont’s of gambling differ in these unique forms of sports and their play. For instance, an obvious example includes a runner beginning on second base in the event of extra innings in baseball. This scenario may influence your decision(s) on how to make a play in these particular games.

Aside from the obvious adjustments that we have recently seen in sports, let’s take a look at some of the early trends that “altered-sports” have presented. In the MLB, with little to no Spring Training for players, an increase in injury has been a noticeable early trend. Three previous Cy Young Award winning pitchers are currently on IR (not related to COVID-19) Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Corey Kluber. To make matters worse, the pitchers that are healthy are not pitching well. In fact, base-on-balls are up 8.9% in relation to last season. Okay, so what about the hitters? How are they doing compared to the 2019 campaign? Currently, hitters are batting at a .233 clip as a league. If this statistic holds true, it will be the lowest league batting average ever posted. However, home-runs continue to remain plentiful. According to their stats, it is apparent that our MLB athletes are not in prime “baseball” form. If we look at these trends and statistics through a sports gambling lens than we can compute that increased walks (base-runners) + increased home-runs = more total runs. Right? Hence, I highly recommend hammering those OVER’s while the lines are still relatively low/off. Speaking of poor defense, baseball is not the only major sport “in season” at the moment. We must certainly not forget about the NBA and its (surprisingly effective) bubble.

In the bubble, the NBA and its match-ups have been very cryptic in terms of where to put your money. Thus far, motivation has played the most influential determining factor of not only actually wins and losses, but gambling wins and losses as well. Even before arriving in Orlando, Florida some teams already have their playoff birth’s locked in. One would have to assume that a team fighting to be apart of the playoff picture would unconditionally put forth greater effort on the floor. Motivation alone can become quite the chess match for gamblers and even the average spectator for that matter. When you lump all of the other factors that go into a typical game it can become very frustrating and may even seem a bit random. For these reasons, I have shied away from NBA plays; at least for the time being, come playoffs: different story. If this information isn’t enough to shy you away, take into account that favorites in the bubble are 18-18-1 ATS (50%), and the game total sits at 19-17 O/U (53%). Point being, maybe the regular season bubble match-ups are too random to place any action on. I would recommend waiting until the playoffs are underway to begin risking your hard earned money.

Current MLB and NBA Champion Odds (by OddShark):

Yankees +350

Dodgers +375

Astros +1100

Braves +1200

Twins +1200

Rays +1600

Athletics +2000

Lakers +210

Bucks +270

Clippers +333

Raptors +900

Rockets +1400

Celtics +1500

76ers +2500

 

 

WE’RE BACK! Hopefully…

nba players disney blog

Sport (/spôrt/): noun – an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. I am providing you all with the proper definition just in case you forgot what this term is. If you are reading this blog post than you are obviously among the many who are yearning for some form of live sports entertainment. We are all desperate to once again be able to watch our favorite sports, teams, and athletes back in action. And no, watching your favorite team from 1998 does not count. Rest assure, we have real life dates put in place for the continuation of some of our favorite sports!

The NBA and Adam Silver were basically the first major sports league to: A. come to an agreement on salaries while working/playing and B. implement a concrete plan with specific dates for NBA resumption. Laid out is the current NBA timeline for the continuation of their season, at least for now…

July 7-9: Teams arrive in Orlando, FL

July 9-29: Negative tested athletes participate in scrimmages/practices

July 30: Season resumes

August 15-16: Play-in-games for playoff seeding

August 17: Playoffs begin

September 30: NBA Finals begin

So there ya have it. Adam Silver and company catch a lot flack from time-to-time; however, I believe that they worked very hard to provide the masses with essentially the same product that we are accustomed to viewing all the while taking every safety precaution along the way.

Here are the current NBA Finals odds…

Los Angeles Lakers +185

Milwaukee Bucks +275

Los Angeles Clippers +300

Boston Celtics +1200

Toronto Raptors +1400

Houston Rockets +1500

Denver Nuggets +2200

Philadelphia 76ers +2200

Believe it or not, the NBA is not scheduled to be the first major sport’s league to begin. The NBA is scheduled to resume on July 30th. However, the MLB is scheduled to resume on the 23rd of July. Obviously both will be without fans, but nevertheless I could not be more excited. The only aspect of my life that I am looking more forward to is marrying my beautiful fiance. Oh, and by the way, that was hindered by COVID-19 also. The MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player’s Association) finally agreed to terms on a deal consisting of a 60 games schedule while earning 80% of their annual salaries.

Here are the current MLB championship odds:

New York Yankees +325

Los Angeles Dodgers +325

Houston Astros +775

Atlanta Braves +1500

Minnesota Twins +1800

Washington Nationals +1800

New York Mets +2000

St. Louis Cardinals +2200

If you’re like me, I was super bummed that we were not able to have the 2020 March Madness tournament. For whatever it’s worth, I did a simulated bracket with game-by-game results. And no, each match-up was not a flip of a coin each time, but the results were still very surprising. Anyways, the simulated Final Four consisted of Duke, Michigan St, Ohio St, and Arizona St. The national title game was a BIG10 match-up between the Spartans facing off against the Buckeyes with Michigan St. coming out as the 2020 March Madness victors. How do you think the infamous blank 2020 bracket would have shaped out?

blank march madness bracket 2020 blogs

 

 

 

 

 

WNBA showed us “the way,” NFL it’s your turn…

2020 nfl draft blog

On April 17th, history was made after the WNBA hosted the first ever live, virtual draft. Oddly enough, I had to tune in to view the draft. Maybe I was curious to see how the whole “virtual” thing would go, or perhaps I am craving some fashion of a live sporting event; regardless of the sport. With that being said, the draft as a whole was rather awkward, in my opinion. Imagining this should not be too big of challenge as the WNBA commissioner was literally announcing pick after pick from her living room. In the league’s defense, what are they supposed to do. At this point in World History, our hands are tightly bound limiting our access to our resources. Nevertheless, the NFL draft is only days away! (April 23rd). I am anticipating what Roger Goodell and the rest of the league rolls out there and what they have ultimately learned from the pros and cons that the WNBA draft possessed.

Mel Kiper’s latest 4.0 mock draft has been released with Joe Burrow remaining as the first overall pick to the Bengal’s. Click for a clear list of his 2020 mock draft… Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft 4.0

Obviously we are not all experts at breaking down each and every pick and its overall grade. So how you we semi-accurately analyze a teams’ draft grade through the average Joe’s eyes? Aaron Lesher of Hog Haven points out that many of the top performers in the NFL are not 1st round picks. For instance, in 2017 the top rushing leaders in the NFL, top to bottom, averaged at the 100th overall pick. That pick falls within the 4th round! Not sufficient enough? How about the top DB’s from that year averaged out at the 156th overall pick! That pick lies within the 5th round. As for the pass rushers of the league, the best sack artists from 2017 averaged in the 56th round, 2nd round guys. Are you noticing the trend here? The vast majority of these athletes are not 1st round picks. Hence, come this Thursday and this weekend, look to see which teams are grabbing those late round treasures. I believe that a lot of gamblers put too much stock in a teams’ first and second round picks because they are the “sexy” and well-known college super-stars. However, if you can do your research and hone in on an organization’s late round picks along with their undrafted signee’s than you will have a much better idea of what kind of season they are in store for. Obviously there are a lot more factors that go into a teams’ win-loss record at the end of a season other than the draft. Nevertheless, knowing how to further analyze the draft in greater detail than the guy next to you can assist you when making plays on the preseason team win/loss totals, ect.

*Possessing the final draft spot never felt so good, GO CHIEFS!

COVID-19 & Sports Gambling…

FILES-US-ECONOMY-EMPLOYMENT-TRADE-VIRUS

COVID-19 (corona virus) has impacted many individuals far and wide. The virus has affected each of us in its own unique way(s). Unfortunately, some of you are out of a job because of it; or even worse, have lost a loved one in lieu of this mysterious, yet contagious virus. I truly am thankful that I have not fallen victim to either of these two scenarios. Nevertheless, if you are spending your valuable time sifting through this blog than you too have probably been negatively affected by this pandemic. Obviously all of our sports have been taken away from us until further notice!!! And where there are no sports, there is no gambling. In fact, Casino bookie stocks have dropped, on average, 63% since the pandemic made its way to the states.

Along with many of you, I always look forward to MLB’s Opening Day. The timeless game has now become timed-out. So when will the season begin? For starters, there is much more than meets the eye when orchestrating the continuation of America’s pastime. The logistical side of the sport requires far more work than just a simple start-up date. Will the season be shortened? If so, will broken records be eligible? Will players and virus blogcoaches obtain full salaries? Will double-headers become a normalcy? So on and so forth. According to Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports, he believes that the MLB schedule in its entirety will need to be reconstructed. As far as I’m concerned, the season will have to be shortened. The league cannot allow for the season to extend into the winter months. Think about baseball games being played at Target Field (Minneapolis, MN) in the middle of January… Yeah, no thanks. Back to the anticipated, yet artificial MLB Opening Day; the players union and the association are hopeful for a June 1st start to the season. If the season were not shortened with its original 162 game schedule, than we would be watching playoff baseball in the month of December with a June 1st first pitch. It will be the MLB’s duty to decide if a 2020 All-Star Game/All-Star break is necessary, or if all 162 games are needed to complete the 2020 MLB season. These unanswered questions will be very interesting to take note of as they unfold. Now, if you are a baseball freak and you are on the verge of gouging out your eyes; than there is in fact a temporary “baseball-fix” for people like yourself. CBS Sports did us the honor of simulating each and every Opening Day game with superficial box scores. Click HERE to see how your team would have done on Opening Day!

I would like to use this platform to recognize those whom have passed away, been laid-off, missed out on their athletic seasons, and all others whom have been negatively affected in the ever bit slightest during these unusual times.

Blue bloods are blue in the face…

2020 march madness blog

Tournament action begins March 19th and their couldn’t be more questions that need to be answered going into this 2020 Madness of March. Is Kentucky’s young talent ready to make a run? Is this the year that a mid-major is crowned champion? Are Dayton and San Diego St. legit? Will the Tar Heels really miss the tournament? I could go on and on. You have to go back 21 years to the last time a mid-major school won the big tournament (UNLV).

As for this year’s tournament is concerned, I will lead by saying that the underdog spot may be quite beneficial in this year’s round of 68; even more so than other years. For additional information regarding this season’s parity you can visit a previous post at this LINK. For example, taking a look at the NBA’s mock draft, two of the first five picks are from mid-major programs (Dayton & Memphis). ncaab champions blog

Besides the obvious parity that exists every year in March, what other clues can we look for when making our plays? According to sport writer, Sascha Paruk, March Madness “survive-and-advancer’s” are not only good at winning their games outright, but also cover ATS at a higher clip than most. Nine of the last ten national champions covered at a 62% clip during their regular season match-ups. In addition, it is crucial to account for a team’s performance over their last three to six games. Far too often do we as the audience (including myself) take a team’s performance early in their season and put too much stock into a game or two that occurred over two months ago. If you notice that team with a weak record has won four out of their last five games is facing off with a squad that is 24-6 but has lost four of their last five. The team playing better might not be too bad of a play; especially if they are getting double digit pints. This next clue is obvious in nature, but is taken for granted by most. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE! Last year’s Virginia national champions were the best team in all of DI basketball at points allowed per game (56.1). Defense is superior during this time of the year. The most balanced and defensive minded teams are built to make a run. Take a second and third look at those mid-major’s that allow few points to not only cover the point-spread(s); but perhaps even make a run!

I believe that we are in store for a wild, and exciting March. The typical blue bloods such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and UCLA are not at the caliber that these programs are typically at during this time of the year. Hence, leaving that “mid-major-window” much more open than it normally has been in recent years. Remember, do your homework! Just because a school that has had success in the past is facing a mid-major whose mascot is a mystery to you does not mean that they cannot win outright. As always, best of luck and Happy Madness!