By Marc Lawrence — In order to get to the Final Four, undefeated and top seed Gonzaga has destroyed four opponents by an average 26 points per game.
They will need to get past No. 11 seed UCLA, a PAC-12 entrant from a conference that has gone an incredible 13-5 SU and 14-4 ATS (77.7%) in this year’s tourney. On the other side of the bracket No. 1 seed Baylor will take on No. 2 seed Houston for the right to likely battle the Bulldogs for the 2021 NCAA championship on Monday night.
The Bears will be making their first Final Four appearance since 1950 while the Cougars have won 11 consecutive games behind the nation’s top ranked team in overall Defensive Field Goal Percentage.
Favorites were 24-14 SU and 17-21 ATS in the First Four and opening rounds. That was followed by faves going 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS in a thrilling second round that saw a No. 15, 12, and 11 seed all pull outright upsets.
In the Sweet 16 the chalk went 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS, while favorites were 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in the Elite 8 round.
So during the first four rounds favorites are 42-33 SU but only 32-33 ATS.
More impressive has been the UNDER total in games throughout in the tourney, especially of late with 9 of the last 12 games staying UNDER the total.
The season-opening series between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was postponed Friday, with the Nationals saying a fourth player from the team has tested positive for COVID-19.
“We’re in crisis management mode,” Washington GM Mike Rizzo said.
So now the Mets will begin their season Monday in Atlanta, not knowing the physical condition or mental psyche of their team.
“You can’t just go from a dead stop in this postponement to ramping up to play the Atlanta Braves and not expect there to be injuries,” Rizzo said. “But these other players, it’s just hard to have them sitting and playing video games or whatever for two or three days and then to ramp up again.”
Watch for patterns like this to develop throughout the rocky course of the 2021 season.
Grinding Out The Profits
From this week’s Playbook NBA Basketball Newsletter: The Oklahoma City Thunder have lost their roar this season and for all intents and purpose it appears the playoffs will be in the rear view mirror for this bunch moving forward.
It doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t cash tickets in the right roles – and this appears to be one of them.
For openers, OKC has cashed in its last four games in its series when Portland takes the floor without rest. The Thunder are also 6-4 SU and 9-1 ATS in their last ten contests when playing with same-season double-digit loss revenge (Portland beat them 115-104 in Oklahoma City six weeks ago).
With it, the Trail Blazers are the 2nd worst team in the loop in Defensive Field Goal Percentage and enter off a quadruple-revenge affair on this floor last night against Milwaukee knowing they are 4-11-1 ATS as home chalk after Bucks’ battles.
The growl you hear coming out of the Moda Center tonight is the Thunder getting their bark back… for one night at least.