March for the cash: How Sweet it is, but can the Aggies be Elite?

Billy Kennedy and the Aggies hope to make it another round. Getty Images

If you made it out of the opening weekend with your bankroll still intact, consider yourself a winner.  The unpredictability of the historic meltdowns by numerous tops seeds followed by last-minute buzzer beaters that swayed sportsbooks wins and losses finally led to a Sunday bloody Sunday that featured a Bearcat collapse, and a top-seeded Xavier, blowing a 12 point second half lead.

The Sweet 16 brings us plenty of unlikely matchups due to all the upsets. The futures markets have adjusted and currently sit as follows:

Villanova 3/1
Duke 7/2
Gonzaga 7.5/1
Kentucky 8/1
Kansas 8/1
Michigan 12.5/1
Purdue 13/1
West Virginia 15/1
Clemson 37/1
Texas A&M 22.5/1
Texas Tech 25/1
FSU 70/1
Nevada 60/1
Kansas State 50/1
Loyola-Chicago 90/1
Syracuse 80/1
Futures according to 5dimes as of 3/20/18

Villanova and Duke lead the way and deservingly so from their performances in the first two rounds. Although both teams bolster inflated spreads because of seeding and public backing, Duke and Nova managed to go 4-0 ATS while beating their enormous spreads by +7.8 and +8.5 points.

Gonzaga is 1-1 ATS, and have looked less than stellar in both games. Kentucky has gained momentum because of the region they are in and the upsets that paved a favorable path for the Wildcats. You can get John Calipari's bunch for the same price as No 1 seed Kansas because the Jayhawks path to the final four involves beating Duke if both teams advance.

Another sleeper on peoples radar is Texas A&M. We say sleeper, but they woke up bettors quickly after putting a beatdown on the defending champions. The public was backing the Tarheels on over 70% of the bets placed. At 22.5-1 the Aggies might be the team to place a bet on, with chances to hedge if they get to the final four.

Speaking of a hedge, let's take a look at Loyola-Chicago, and the play the odds allow us to make. In the Sweet 16, Loyola is listed as a +2 point underdog. I will be on Loyola to win in this matchup making this an opportunity to buy out with a huge safety net if they can advance. In the elite 8, if they can manage to get lucky and face Kansas State which is listed as a +5.5 dog vs Kentucky, then you can place a future on Kansas State to win the National title which will be at huge odds, as they currently sit at 60-1. Having a guaranteed ticket with two teams at 90-1 (Loyola) or Kansas St whatever they will be at say in the 30/35-1 range, going into the final four, again allows you to buy into other favorable spots. If Kentucky wins, then you can money line Kentucky for a percent of the Loyola future virtually giving you a free ticket with some profit, or inflated odds in your favor if Loyola advances. It's a numbers game; you must learn to play it.

Christian Pina of SGP tweeted earlier this week this strategy with Nevada at 300-1 on a $100 wager. His safety net was $30,000, and he is holding that ticket with the chance of securing a 300-1 ticket on an elite 8 team also giving him the option to hedge on the opposing teams as he chooses. Check out Christian Pina on Twitter.

Your future tickets don't necessarily have to win the tournament for you to proift; one must know when to press eject at the right time.

Thursday games

Kansas State   +5.5 O/U 138.5

Loyola Chicago +1.5     O/U 143

Texas A&M    +3 O/U    136

Florida State +5.5     O/U 153.5

Official picks

PLAY OF THE DAY Texas A&M +3    2X

Kentucky -5  -120 (.5)
Loyola Chicago +2 (.5)

Moneyline Parlay Kentucky(-229)+Nova(-254)= +100

Peoples Parlay (half unit) Texas A&M+3/Kentucky-5/Texas Tech+1.5/Clemson+5

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoknowz on twitter


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With so much on the line for the Astros this past weekend, they couldn't possibly get swept by the Royals, could they?

That's exactly what they did thanks to some poor pitching, and an inability to get timely hits with runners in scoring position.

The Astros are currently clinging to the last wild card position as they head to Seattle to face the Mariners, with Justin Verlander on the mound for the 'Stros.

Starting pitching has been the biggest issue for the club as of late, with Hunter Brown looking unusable moving forward. Brown has given up, wait for this, 6 earned runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts. His ERA for the season is now over 5.

So how will the rotation look over the final stretch of games? We know for the Mariners series the team is rolling out Verlander, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez.

The club is off on Thursday, and they head to Arizona for a 3-game series with the Diamondbacks that starts Friday. We predict JP France will pitch Friday, with Justin Verlander likely taking the ball Saturday.

Then all bets are off for Sunday. It could be Framber on 3-days rest, or all hands on deck for a bullpen game.

Of course, with the division race being so close, things could change on a daily basis. There's even a scenario where Arizona secures their wild card, and the final two games of the season don't matter for them.

The other big factor will be the outcome of the 4-game Rangers-Mariners series that finishes off the season.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine all the scenarios leading up to the end of the regular season for Houston, and much more!

Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Thursday on SportsMap Houston's YouTube channel.

And listen to ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM for Houston's best sports talk.

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