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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The Texans are moving in the wrong direction. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

1. This team started incredibly slow and outside of a couple of drives in the second half disappointed. The defense got worked by the Chargers' star players, and the offense sputtered too often. It was really a summary of the season up to this point which is to say inconsistency.

2. Davis Mills was shaky early. The first drive interception was tough to stomach. The pocket got messy as he tried to drive the ball and he floated one up there. It gave the Chargers an easy drive for seven points.

3. One of the early offensive mistakes erased a scoring opportunity. Kenyon Green got nailed for a holding call that erased one of the best passes and catches between Brandin Cooks and Davis Mills all season. The rookie’s mistake was compounded the very next play when the offense allowed Mills to be sacked. It was a 40-yard swing that led to a punt.

4. Another third down penalty led to a mishap for the Texans. Laremy Tunsil gets a false start on third down to make it third and 10. The shovel pass to Rex Burkhead goes for six yards and then the Texans botch the field goal. Back-to-back drives and third-down penalties affected the offense and ended with no points. That was all just in the first quarter!

5. The Texans were abysmal with short yardage in key spots yet again. In the second quarter, Pep Hamilton opted for a pass on fourth and one. Davis Mills never got the play off and was sacked. After the game, Mills said the team wanted to catch the Chargers off guard running when most expected a pass, but Rex Burkhead was the running back. It was again a situation, a key and critical moment, that the team trusted Burkhead over the more dynamic Dameon Pierce.

6. The Chargers were very chunky on offense against the Texans. There were 16 plays that went for at least ten yards for the Chargers of their 67 plays. Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler were fantastic for Los Angeles.

7. The pass rush was non-existent for the Texans. This was one of the more disappointing aspects of the day to consider the Chargers were playing a rookie right guard, their center is injured but playing, and the left tackle was a backup left tackle. Nothing seemed to get home on an injured Justin Herbert. The Texans recorded just two quarterback hits in the game.

8. The linebackers got worked again. This is the absolute weakest unit on the team right now. They look like they’re easily exploited by most opposing offenses.

9. It was a rough day for the rookie class of the Texans. Derek Stingley was handled by Mike Williams on multiple occasions in key spots. Kenyon Green allowed a big sack and had a holding penalty erase a huge play. Jalen Pitre was the target of some offensive success in the Chargers' passing game.

10. Not all the rookies had a bad day. Dameon Pierce is so much fun to watch. He has the chance to be a truly impactful player for this team. His 75-yard touchdown scamper gave the team some juice, and he constantly fights and gets extra yards when the ball is headed his way. He finished with 14 carries and six catches for 20 total touches.

11. The Texans need teams to help them stay in games, and even then, it is a challenge. The tough part about where the Texans are through four games is there are some positives to look at and point to, but not enough to say the team is surely headed in the right direction. There surely has to be some adjustment by the team when the season is where it is after nearly a quarter of the year. The current direction isn’t going to lead anywhere positive soon.

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