Sports gambling column: Week 25

I decided to give myself an extended Spring Break from writing this column. Sorry to all seven people who read it.

I decided to save my gambling funds and stay away from the opening two rounds of March Madness, since it is, well, madness. It’s a very easy way to lose money, and now that the Sweet Sixteen is set, I’m still not sure it’s wise to gamble on it. However, I think anyone that has been paying attention now has a better idea of who some of these teams really are and what they’re capable of, I’m definitely going to place a few bets. I think I’ll make some national championship winner bets (and maybe some regional winner bets), and I’m likely going to spread my money around and place them on a few teams so I won’t be too disappointed when my pick get upset. I decided to make three different bets, spending $10 each on all three.

First, I’m taking North Carolina (UNC) to come out of the Midwest Region at +140. I really like UNC’s style of playing fast and getting big transition buckets, especially in this tournament because of how quickly momentum can change. I mean, we almost saw Iowa come all the way back from a 25-point deficit against Tennessee the other day, and a team’s ability to stay calm and withstand runs is very important. I think UNC has the ability to do just that, despite any talk of Kentucky getting revenge for UNC forward Luke Maye’s game-winner two years ago in the Elite Eight, which is the round in which UNC and Kentucky would meet should they both win their games on Thursday/Friday. I don’t particularly like this Kentucky team, and even though the Midwest Region has gone pretty much chalk with the one, two, three and five seed advancing, I don’t think UNC should be afraid of Houston, making their game against Auburn a little more concerning to me than any other opponent. I’ve always liked UNC in March, and I think they can their season can get to April, too.

Next, I’m taking Florida State (FSU) to come out of the West Region at +600. This pick is mostly about the odds, but I watched FSU annihilate star guard Ja Morant’s Murray State team this past weekend, and I was struck by the talent and athleticism FSU has. This team also got to the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament just a few weeks ago, putting up 69 points on a great Virginia defense along the way to advance to the final against Duke. That effort combined with their showing in this tournament gives me faith in FSU, even though they will have to play Gonzaga on Thursday, who I almost picked to win the entire bracket before settling on Duke. I didn’t have much faith in Texas Tech before they beat Buffalo by 20 points, but now I am a little scared of that team. However, I do think they will lose to Michigan anyway, and that this FSU team could be able to overwhelm both Gonzaga and Michigan with its athleticism to advance to the final four.

Lastly, I’m putting some money on Duke to win the national championship. I think we’re going to look back on Sunday’s close and very lucky win as the one real chance any team had to beat Duke in this tournament. Forward Zion Williamson is just too good, and he won’t have to go up against any more 7’6’’ centers like Central Florida’s (UCF) Tacko Fall on his way to college basketball immortality. Williamson has already captured the imaginations of fans everywhere with his signature passes and dunks this season, and this Duke team that features three key freshmen feels like the 2015 iteration that won it all. Duke has a very hard path ahead, but if anyone can get through it, its the best player in the country, and Duke has just that in Williamson.


Money spent to date: $280

Winnings to date: $197.99