Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness: Sizzling Thursday and Friday's Picks

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Day 1 of the 2010 March Madness tournament included titillating moments featuring the craziest opening day in recent memory. Upsets prevailed; Vandy and Georgetown went busto. Hoops junkies nearly overdosed with free basketball courtesy of multiple overtime games including one edge-of-my-seat double overtime game with BYU -- which I desperately needed in order to cover by 5. Shit, we even got treated to a few exhilarating buzzer beaters (like Murray State) that destroyed brackets.

I like going against the grain. Picking a #12 to beat a #5 seed is soooo 1999. Sure at least one will win, but with the public obsessed on overvaluing #12 seeds, I have been pounding the #5 seeds the last few years. I bet Butler heavily yesterday as my big bet of the day. I got Texas A&M today. Of course, I have one exception and I'm betting on Cornell, the alma mater of a dozen or so friends, and I think they have the best shot at toppling a #5 seed.

I placed a high emphasis on finding an upset in the #11 seeds. I bet three on Thursday; San Diego State, UW and ODU and all three covered. Only SDS lost. I don't like the Xavier-Minny game.

Here's the key to gaining an edge....

8/9 and 7/10 games. You have to win 7 out of 8 of those games. Most pools don't heavily weight opening round games, but since a lot of people are playing chalk this year (Kansas followed by Kentucky were widely popular picks), it is essential to gobble up as many points as possible in the first two rounds which means avoiding coin flips with the 8/9 games. Those are some of the toughest games to pick every single year. I rarely bet on those, but I paid extra attention to scouting the 8/9 and 7/10 games. I was gushing over #9 Northern Iowa and #10 St. Mary's , so much so, that I put my money behind those teams. Luckily, out of four 8/9 and 7/10 games on Thursday, the higher seed won three with only one favorite advancing (#7 BYU).

By the way, I jumped out to a sizzling start in March Madness. I nailed my big bet and even hit a parlay that paid 6-1. I know that March Madness is a long haul (like a deep stacked multi-day tournament), but it felt good to start this epic journey with a positive session. I have 15 Phish shows that I want to see this summer so I have added incentive to do well.

And yes the rumors are true... a kid in kindergarten is winning my March Madness pool. Ha ha ho hum. I don't know a better example that proves that pundits know as much as a 5-year old. Yes, that's gotta be embarrassing to all those talking heads on ESPN and blabbermouths on talk radio, plus not to mention those sports betting gurus in Vegas touting their picks at $500 a pop.

Here are my picks for Friday...

I have a gut feeling that Friday will be the day when all of the favorites prevail. I didn't see any tremendous value in the lines, so I'm avoiding any big bets. Patience is the key. I'd rather focus on Saturday (and Sunday's) match ups.

I have a "Big East chalk" parlay with the top seeded Big East teams. Most likely two of the three will win, but it will give me something to sweat in those games.

Cornell is the only dog I'm betting today. I expect Purdue and Pitt to both win by double digits.

Head over to Twitter to follow my March Madness updates. If you want to gamble on the games, go to and set up an account. They accept US customers.

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