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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It's easy to blame Bill O'Brien for the Texans woes. He is a lousy GM, a below average play caller and his offense is boring, predictable and ineffective. Not once has he had a top 10 offense in the league. So he does not get a pass here.

But Deshaun Watson shouldn't, either.

Last year, Watson was in the MVP conversation entering the game in Baltimore. Four of the nine games he played before that, Watson had an ESPN Total QBR over 85, which is playing at an elite level.

Since that 41-7 debacle (where his QBR was 13.6), Watson has played 10 games. He has topped 85 just once (and barely - 85.6) in the win over the Patriots. While QBR is not the be all end all, it shows a trend. And before you blame the talent around him or the ridiculously stupid DeAndre Hopkins trade, eight of those games were with Hopkins in the lineup.

Over his last 10 games, Patrick Mahomes has done it five times (and just missed last week at 84.7). Lamar Jackson has done it six times in his last 10. Russell Wilson is six for his last 10. Dak Prescott? Three. Aaron Rodgers? Three. Ryan Tannehill? Three. Josh Allen? Two. Lamar Jackson led the league last year with an 83 for the season. Watson was sixth at 71.3. To be a top 10 quarterback, you had to average 64.1. In two games this season, Watson sits 20th, about where he was over the last six regular season games and two playoff games last year.

In essence, Deshaun Watson - who often gets compared to those players - is not on their level. Yes, O'Brien has a lot to do with it, but it's also time to start looking at Watson's performance and regression as an NFL quarterback.

In 2018, Watson had four such games. In 2017, four in six starts. And now ONE since that Baltimore game. In fact, he has topped 80 just once in that stretch, and 60 just three times.

What it tells us is Watson has been an average quarterback over his last 10 starts. The Texans invested heavily in an offensive line to protect him. They have added depth at WR but a net loss without Hopkins. Elite quarterbacks turn in performances like that roughly half the time. Getting more consistent has always been an issue for Watson. But since that Baltimore game, he has not been close. And he is being paid to be elite.

In the end, O'Brien is still the main culprit. He has hand picked all the players around Watson, he designed the offense, and he controls everything.

But it's time to quit giving Watson a pass. Right now, he is part of the problem.

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