The Breakfast Spread: St. Mary’s Stuns Gonzaga, Warriors Look To Rebound
St. Mary’s claimed their ticket to March Madness in one of the biggest upsets of championship week, and Joel Embiid dominated the glass a close game against the Cavs. Tonight features the most exciting NBA matchup of the week. Here is a sports betting recap from the Tuesday and a lookahead to Wednesday.
Madness Arrives Early
Heading into the WCC Championship, No. 1 Gonzaga had won 21 games in a row, all by double digits. 15 of those were by more than 20 points. And they had already beaten their conference championship opponent, St. Mary’s, by 48 points earlier in the season.
In other words, more odds were stacked against St. Mary’s than just the 15-point spread and the +1000 moneyline from oddsmakers.
Pay no attention to that. St. Mary’s outscored Gonzaga in both halves for a 60-47 victory and one of the biggest upsets of the year.
Chaos has begun, folks. And not just because Dicky V is talking about bubble baths on national TV.
St. Mary’s defense was most impressive in the upset. Gonzaga’s offense is the most efficient in the nation scoring 126.5 points per 100 possessions, but somehow St. Mary’s defense managed to hold them to just 47 points on 37 percent shooting.
With the win, St. Mary’s punched their ticket to the Big Dance, but not everyone is excited to see them invited.
With two teams from the WCC earning tournament bids, there’s one less spot for the group of bubble teams standing in line to get in, really shaking things up as the rest of the conference tournaments begin.
By the end of tonight, all major conference tournament will have tipped off and we’ll be a week away from the first Thursday of March Madness.
Be sure to check out my chat with Thomas Casale as we break down the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC and Big East conference tournaments with picks and sleepers from each.
Embiid Dominates Cavs, Sixers (-15) can’t Cover
The Philadelphia 76ers squeezed out a victory but couldn’t cover against the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday. The Sixers were favored by 15 points, but the Cavs played more competitively than oddsmakers thought they would as they trailed by just one point with a minute left in the game before losing 99-106.
While the Sixers weren’t dominant, Joel Embiid was. Embiid feasted in the post grabbing 19 rebounds and adding 17 points for his 50th double-double of season. Embiid also protected the rim with four blocked shots. With a little less than a minute left, Embiid had arguably the most important play of the game:
The Sixers will take a two-day break before returning to the hardwood on Friday when they play host to the Sacramento Kings.
Durant-less Warriors Take on Rockets
Wednesday night features arguably the most interesting game of the week when the Golden State Warriors travel to Houston.
Though Golden State has the best record in the Western Conference and the Houston Rockets have been one of the hottest teams in the league as of late, the two teams couldn’t be playing anymore differently.
The Warriors come off a loss to the Phoenix Suns in one of the biggest upsets NBA fans have seen in the past 20 years. Houston, on the other hand, has won nine straight. In fact, the Rockets started the streak on Feb. 23 when they beat Golden State 118-112 in Oakland. With subsequent wins against Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia, the Rocket haven’t looked back since.
But that all changes tonight.
Yes, the Warriors have been one of the worst teams to bet on this year going 26-39 ATS. Yes, the Warriors will be playing without Kevin Durant. And yes, the Rockets are playing some of the best basketball of the season while Steve Kerr is busy trashing Draymond Green on the sideline.
The Warriors still have two of the best shooters in NBA history and you’ll see the Splash Brothers step up tonight. I expect the entire Warriors team to play with more urgency than we’ve seen for the most part of this year. Breakfast Pick. Golden State +2.
Kevin Durant is confirmed out with an ankle injury. He has been practicing, but the Warriors won’t risk putting him out on the floor too early even in a big matchup like tonight’s.
Aaron Gordon (ribs) is questionable for the Orlando Magic’s game against the Washington Wizards. If Gordon is ruled out by game time, expect Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic to see a bump in usage.
Josh Richardson (hamstring) is also questionable as the Miami Heat take on the Detroit Pistons. If Richardson misses then Derrick Jones Jr. could see the start.
Prop Shop: Klay Thompson Over/Under 23.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook)
With Durant out, someone will have to take up the slack. Even with Durant on the court Thompson has been playing great lately. Thompson has scored 26 or more points in four of his last five games, and he should see more opportunities tonight. Breakfast Pick: Thompson Over 23.5 Points.
The Atlanta Hawks might just be 23-45 but they’re one of the hottest teams against the spread, as they’ve gone 8-2 against the number in their last 10 games. Hawks backers can thank rookie point guard Trae Young for their recent covers. Young has turned into a better shooter and distributor throughout the season.
Young hasn’t had to do it all on his own, though. Big man, John Collins has been extremely efficient down low, posting three consecutive double-doubles. Tonight the Hawks host the Memphis Grizzlies as 1-point favorites (Over/Under 221). Breakfast Lean: Hawks -1.
Stat of the Day
The first week of NFL free agency has been about as crazy as college hoops. While there have been some major signings throughout the league, last night’s trade between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants tops it all.
Baker Mayfield has a new target to throw to, and it’s none other than Odell Beckham Jr. While he has only played 10 games in his last two seasons, Beckham has 44 receiving touchdowns in his first 59 career games. That’s the fourth-most in NFL history through a players first 60 games.
I won’t get into what all these moves mean for the NFL futures market, but Thomas Casale’s will break it down for you later this week. Don’t miss it!
Looking for college hoops podcasts? Here’s your playlist for the big dance.
Thomas Casale looks at conference tournament odds and picks.
Which team will select Kyler Murray? Casale covers New Jersey draft odds here.
Jason Day’s WD leaves golf bettors scrambling for information.
Follow us on Twitter @RGSportsBetting
Have you downloaded the SharpSide app yet? Download it, keep track of your bets, seek and give advice with the rest of the SharpSide community