The Breakfast Spread: Final Four, NBA Playoff Picture, MLB Saturday, Valero Texas Open Update
College hoops fans no longer wait. The Final Four tips off tonight with four finalists looking for a ticket to the NCAA Championship game on Monday night. Meanwhile, the NBA moved closer to the postseason with a couple of meaningful games on Friday night. Baseball games spanned Friday while golfers needed an under-par score to make the weekend at the Valero Texas Open. Here’s a sports betting recap from Friday and a look ahead to the Final Four and other Saturday contests.
Friday Night Hoops
The Charlotte Hornets hung on to slim playoff hopes on Friday night with a clutch 113-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors. The Hornets overcame a six-point spread with a cover and outright victory thanks to Jeremy Lamb.
The game winner made up three of Lamb’s 22 points in the victory. The Hornets will need a lot of help but remain in the hunt because of Lamb’s clutch-shooting efforts.
In Indiana, the Celtics and Pacers broke a tie for the fourth home-seed in the East when the Celtics triumphed 117-97. Boston covered as a one-point road favorite in the ever important tilt. Kyrie Irving scored 17 points while Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward scored 22 and 21 points respectively. The Celtics hold the fourth seed with two games to play.
Final Four Preview
The Final Four commences at 6:09 PM EST today when No. 5-seeded Auburn looks to continue their run against the last remaining one seed — Virginia. At the time of this writing, Virginia is favored by 6 points on FanDuel Sportsbook with an O/U of 131 points.
Auburn needed to topple the NCAA’s upper echelon in Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky to win the Midwest Region. Auburn was able to upset Kentucky with a fast-paced, transition style of play — forcing 14 Wildcat turnovers and making the most of their opportunities. The Tigers will need to be equally efficient as they meet the second-most efficient team in the country — per KenPom — without star Chuma Okeke.
Virginia remains the prototype for efficiency. Per KenPom, the Cavaliers are also the fifth most efficient team on defense while ranking first in opposing points per game, fourth in opposing 3PT%, and fifth in opposing FG%. The Cavaliers turn the ball over only nine times per game and make 74% of their free throws. The margin of error will be very slim for Auburn. Breakfast lean: Virginia -6 and Under 131 points
Meanwhile, Texas Tech competes in their first Final Four against perennial NCAA contender Michigan State.
A 2.5-point favorite, No. 2 seed Michigan State hopes to end the run of Western Region champion Texas Tech. Tom Izzo coaches in his eighth Final Four after beating Duke by a point to overcome the top-seeded focus of much of the attention of college basketball.
The game features a matchup of a very efficient offense versus the nation’s most efficient defense. Per KenPom, Michigan State ranks fourth in adjusted offense while also ranking third in opposing field goal percentage (37.9%). The Red Raiders do not feature the offense of the Spartans but reign supreme on defense — ranking first in adjusted defense, third in opposing points per game, and second in opposing field goal percentage.
Texas Tech will have their hands full with Big Ten Player of the Year and All-American Cassius Winston who had 20 points, 10 assists, and four steals in the victory over Duke. For much more on Texas Tech and their underrated offense, hit it here.
The defending World Series champions continued their stumble out of the gate on Friday night. The Red Sox lost in Arizona 8-15 moving to 2-7 out of the gates. The Red Sox were favored last night (-129) — as they have been all year — but allowed 14 runs by the sixth inning to the rebuilding Diamondbacks. The Red Sox’ staff ranks 30th thus far in the MLB with starters compiling a 9.60 ERA. The Red Sox hope to get back on track today with David Price on the bump — favored again on FanDuel Sportsbook at -136.
Deadlocked at 2-2 on Friday night, the Indians went to the bottom of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays. Toronto bettors held +120 ticket in their hands until…
Carlos Santana dashed the hopes of the underdogs with a walk-off home run to close the game. The Indians are also scuffling out of the gate despite their starters pitching to a respectable 1.1 WAR thus far. Cleveland hosts the Blue Jays again today as -200 favorites with Carlos Carrasco on the hill.
Narrative street truthers stuck a feather in their cap in Anaheim when the $426.5 million dollar man hit two home runs on his bobblehead night. Receiving his Silver Slugger, Trout hit two home runs to lead the Angels to a 3-1 victory and snap a five-game losing streak.
The Angels were slight favorites at -120 last night but are -142 to beat the Rangers at home today with Tyler Skaggs on the mound. Drew Smyly counters for the Rangers.
Elsewhere, the Mets open up a two-game set as +106 underdogs versus the Nationals and Patrick Corbin. The Yankees play the Orioles in Baltimore as -185 favorites looking to make it two in a row against the birds. The Brewers look to stay hot at home against the Cubs as -120 favorites. Last night, the Brewers and Cubs combined for 23 runs and play today in Miller Park with an 8.5 O/U. Cole Hamels will to the rubber for the Cubs as the Brewers send out 24-year-old Corbin Burnes, making his second start of the season, following a 5 inning, 12 strikeout and 4 earned run outing against the Cardinals on March 31.
Temperature Meter: Dodgers’ Overs Stay Hot
The Dodgers ascended the mountains Friday afternoon for the opening game of a weekend set with the Colorado Rockies. Over the span of the first seven games of the Dodgers’ season, Los Angeles contributed to a run total that went over the number six times.
That trend continued when the Dodgers defeated the Rockies 10-6 on Friday afternoon — smashing the 9-run O/U in the process. Max Muncy, Russell Martin, and Cody Bellinger contributed home runs in the high-scoring affair. The teams meet again today at Coors Field with FanDuel Sportsbook bumping the O/U up to a whopping 10.5 runs at the time of this writing.
Prop Shop: Bryce Brown to Score 17.5 Points
Auburn’s leading scorer, Bryce Brown, currently has a scoring prop set at 17.5 points on FanDuel Sportsbook. Brown averaged both 11.66 field goal attempts and 16 points per game throughout the season on a 44 FG%.
Opposite Brown stands a Virginia defense that ranked fifth in the nation in opposing FG% (38.4%) and fourth in opposing 3PT% (28.7%). While Brown will need to shoulder the load without Chuma Okeke, the Virginia defense might just be too formidable. Breakfast lean: Brown Points Under 17.5 (-122)
Valero Texas Open Update
As golfers teed off in the afternoon on Friday, the Valero Texas Open leaderboard seemed poised for a logjam up top. Jordan Spieth put together a four-under round to get to -8 with Ricky Fowler matching his efforts. Unfortunately for both, their efforts were only good enough for a tie for second place because of Si Woo Kim.
Kim capped off a six-under round with a crowd-pleasing ace at the 16th hole. Kim enters Saturday as the betting favorite to win the event at +210 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Fowler sits at +490 while Spieth provides some value at +750 to win.
Are tight lines keeping sharp action away? Here’s the Final Four Betting Action Report.
Thomas Casale and Matt Schmitto give their side and total picks for the Final Four.
2019 NFL win totals are out! Check out Thomas Casale’s breakdown.