The Breakfast Spread: Bucks, Warriors Clinch Home-Court Advantage, Final Four Tips Off Saturday
The Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks successfully clinched home-court advantage for the NBA playoffs. The Texas Longhorns won the NIT Championship. The Rangers look to remain hot on the diamond, and the Final Four tips off tomorrow. Here’s a sports betting recap from Thursday and a lookahead to Friday and Saturday’s Final Four.
Warriors, Bucks Clinch Home-Court Advantage
The Golden State Warriors (-13.5) and the Milwaukee Bucks (-4.5) clinched home-court advantage for the NBA playoffs Thursday night. The No. 1 seeds each covered the spread in the process.
Scoring 39 points in the first 12 minutes, the Warriors first quarter nearly matched the Lakers first half score. From there, Warriors backers didn’t have to sweat even though the Lakers outscored Golden State by 9 points in the second quarter and 10 points in the fourth quarter.
As we pointed out in our breakfast pick yesterday, sometimes it’s better to take a team like Golden State in a specific quarter rather than for the game. Curry-Durant-Thompson see most time on the floor together during the first and third quarters, explaining why the Lakers were able to outscore the Warriors in the second and fourth quarters while still failing to stay within the 13.5-point spread.
Milwaukee’s win didn’t come as easy as Golden State’s. The Bucks needed a 46-point fourth quarter to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 128-122 and cover the four-point spread.
Scoring 45 points in 35 minutes, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ankle was not an issue. The Bucks needed every one of those minutes from Antetokounmpo after starting guard Eric Bledsoe was ejected due to a first quarter altercation with Sixers big man Joel Embiid.
With Bledsoe out, George Hill saw a boost, scoring 20 points in 33 minutes.
Embiid stayed in the game, leading the Sixers with 34 points and 13 rebounds.
Texas Longhorns Win NIT, Final Four Commences
The Texas Longhorns beat Lipscomb 81-66 to win the NIT championship Thursday. The 15-point victory smashed the 1.5-point spread, making it three straight games where the Longhorns have covered by more than eight points.
Many have speculated that head coach Shaka Smart will be gone after not making the NCAA Tournament this year. Given the $13 milion Smart is guaranteed, odds are Smart gets one more chance to turn this program around.
Speaking of postseason college hoops, the Longhorns’ Big 12 conference rival, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, take on the Michigan State Spartans in the Final Four Saturday.
The line opened Michigan State -3 but has fallen half a point. Be sure to check out my discussion with Thomas Casale as we picked sides and totals for both games Saturday, including our picks to win it all. Here’s a snippet:
Schmitto: News flash America: TEXAS TECH ISN’T JUST A DEFENSIVE TEAM. I know I’ve said it before but based on what I’ve heard from people this week, I guess it needs to be reiterated again. Texas Tech has the No. 1 adjusted offense since losing to Kansas on February 5th. They used that offense to match Gonzaga, the nation’s leading offensive team, shot for shot last Saturday. Sure, Tech’s defense slowed the Bulldogs down, but Gonzaga and Hachimura went on dangerous offensive spurts that were answered more times than not with clutch threes from Texas Tech guards Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti.
I think you’re on the right side of this one, but I prefer taking a position on one of the team totals instead. The Under is 3-1 in Texas Tech’s tournament games, in large part to their suffocating defense. Though the Under has been hitting, Texas Tech has gone Over their team point total in all four games. Give me Over 65 Texas Tech points in this one, too.
Prop Shop: Jarrett Culver to Score 21+ Points (PointsBet)
If you’re looking for a prop to bet, Jarrett Culver to score 21+ points against Michigan State is enticing. Averaging 19.2 field goal attempts per game since starting the Big 12 tournament, Culver is taking nearly five more shots per game in the postseason than he did throughout the regular season. Texas Tech’s offense is heavily dependent on the Big 12 Player of the Year, as the 6’6 sophomore routinely brings the ball down the court. Tom Izzo will game plan to slow Culver down, but the projected lottery pick will find his way to the basket one way or another. Breakfast Pick: Culver to Score 21+ Points
Temperature Meter: Rangers Stay Hot in Los Angeles
The Texas Rangers led off with five runs in the top of the first Thursday thanks to a pair of home runs from Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman.
From there, the Rangers didn’t look back, beating the Los Angeles Angels 11-4.
Angels starter Matt Harvey lasted only 4 innings, giving up 10 hits and eight earned runs.
The loss drops the Angels to 1-6 on the season. The team is just two losses away from tying the franchise’s worst start since 1961.
The Rangers first seven games are almost as shocking as the Angels, albeit for different reasons.
Texas, who was picked to finish last in the AL West, is now 5-2 and 1.5 games back from an early division lead.
The two teams play the second game of their four-game division series Friday night. Both teams will deal right handed pitchers who got off to less-than-ideal starts in their first outings of the season.
The Rangers’ Lance Lynn gave up seven runs to the Chicago Cubs in less than six innings, while the Angels’ Felix Pena gave up four runs on four hits to the Oakland A’s in less than four innings.
The 5-2 start for Texas Rangers start isn’t sustainable, and the Angels have a great opportunity to get their offense back on track against Lynn and a bullpen that has seen a lot of action through the Rangers’ first seven games. Breakfast Pick. Los Angeles Angels -122 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Valero Texas Open Update
Si Woo Kim capitalized on eight birdies to shoot 6-under in the first round of the Valero Texas Open. Kim was +5000 to win outright before teeing off Thursday. His odds have fallen to +1200 at BetStars. Thursday’s breakfast picks, Abraham Ancer (+3600) and Jhonattan Vegas (+5500), are in a three-way tie for 2nd place, trailing Kim by just one shot.
Remember: You can still use FanDuel Sportsbook’s live lines to bet on the outright winning throughout the tournament.
Are tight lines keeping sharp action away? Here’s the Final Four Betting Action Report.
Thomas Casale and I give our side and total picks for the Final Four.
2019 NFL win totals are out! Check out Thomas Casale’s breakdown.
Thomas Casale tells us (part of) what went wrong with the AAF.
Brett Smiley discusses the bill attempting to shut FanDuel and DraftKings out of Illinois.