Los Angeles, CA
You've survived the initial onslaught of March Madness. Are you delirious yet? 32 teams remain and how is your bracket holding up? By Sunday night, will you have properly selected 12 correct Sweet 16 teams? Will you have 13 or more? If so, you'll be in awesome shape in your pools.
I'm in 16 pools yet my best sheet is only 28-4. I'm currently tied for 2nd in Pauly's Pub pool with a 27-3 clip. First place is currently Dave McCarthy,who piggybacked El Presidente Obama's picks! Well, say what you want about Obama, but the guy knows his hoops and went 29-3. I think I'm tied for 18th place in ESPN Poker's pool (out of over a thousand entries). In some odd twist of fate, my girlfriend is tied for first place in a different pool against other alumni from Northwestern. Ah, but most importantly, I'm in a high rollers pool playing Garth heads-up. For an Aussie, he knows his Yank sports. I'm lucky that even though that sheet went 24-8, I'm ahead of Garth by just 1 incorrect game.
Enough about brackets... how about some sports betting updates?
Friday was more than a little strange for me (not strange in a peculiar psychedelic way, but more so in a David Lynchian ironic drudgery way of strange) because I didn't have too much action across the board, yet for some reason I got as schwasted as I've been in a while.
I've been relying upon an untested computer program (created by a former Wall Street quant), but it's fickle and it only spit out only 1 that it liked (well, that meshed with my original, albeit half-baked research), which means that I stretched my selections a bit and pushed the action with George Mason. I'm glad that I did because I finished up with a profitable day... led by Mason's come-from-behind victory and VCU's upset.
The lowlight of Friday? I thought Texas was a lock, and still like them a lot, but they blew a 20-point lead late in their game to cost me a bet.
The highlight of the evening happened in one of the last games on the schedule when VCU picked off a sluggish Georgetown squad. I really thought G'town was going to win a close, low-scoring affair and didn't expect an out right upset. But, beggars can't be choosy. VCU's upset might have cost me a Sweet 16 team, but at least I was compensated for that loss. As I stated many times, the Big East is overrated.
In super-turbo-degen NIT action, Colorado and Santa Clara covered. I needed Colorado to fill in the third leg of a 3-team parlay (along with heavy favorited #1 seeds Duke and Kansas).
Ah, now it's time to share my picks for Saturday. The theme of today is: CHALK. Piggyback or fade at will...
March Madness Picks - 3/19 Saturday:That's it for now. Oh, and I also have an UNDER bet in the Northwestern NIT game, not to mention a three-team parlay with all chalk (SDSU, UCONN, and UK).
- Florida -5. The Gators looked strong in their opening game. I try to figure out lines as soon as the match ups are set. If my line is better than Vegas, then I jump on it. Florida was one of those teams. My estimation was a 7.5 margin of victory, and was pumped to get them at -5. This morning, the line moved to -5.5.
- Kentucky -3.5. The boys in blue are favorites in Vegas. Kentucky moved a half point over night. I locked them in at 3.5 and it's now 4 and 4.5 in some offshore books. Time to smoke some Kentucky bluegrass and root for them heavily today, as they march toward another Sweet 16 berth.
- SDSU -6. I guess that the Aztecs of San Diego State University have become my adopted West Coast team (even though I watched more St. Mary's games). Their spot in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 is theirs to lose. I think they might be one of the strongest #2 seeds. Regardless, SDSU should win by double digits today.
- UCONN -3. The Huskies have given me a few splitting headaches this year. That double OT loss in Storrs a few weeks ago sent me on mega-sports betting-tilt. But, I have faith that the Huskies will win at least one more game. Let's hope they don't get sloppy and make it a miserable sweat today. The computer loves UCONN, but the computer is not as emotionally distraught as I am when I watch the games. Let's hope my theory about Big East teams being overrated does NOT apply to UCONN.
- Morehead State +3.5. This was one of two dogs I picked. The computer likes them for some reason. I kinda liked Richmond (Go SPIDERS!), but it was hard to argue against the logic of Spock, Hal2000, and whatever artificial intelligence software my buddy created.
- Butler +7.5 and +8. I locked up Butler yesterday at 7.5 and figured that a lot of sharps will be betting them on Saturday. The line moved to 8 and I jumped on it (push potential), but I'm expecting the line to sway back the other way when the sharp money pounds Butler later this morning. Butler still has a little taste of Cinderella in their system from last year and they know what it takes to string together a deep run, but they are not as strong as last year's squad that held their own against Duke. Butler is a Sweet 16 team, but doubt they can advance any more than today's game.
Disclaimer: These picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood Country Club and in most parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
Instead of live blogging the minutiae of my sports betting, please head over to Twitter and follow my progress on @taopauly for live March Madness updates. Regular poker programming will resume on Monday.