Saturday, April 02, 2011

Final Four Picks - 2011 March Madness

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I woke up at 4am this morning, an hour that I'm usually winding down the night with, to watch the finals of the Cricket World Cup. I'm not a fan of cricket, but amazing things happen the moment you place a wager on it. It's sort of like a religious revival without the gospel music and all of the Jesus references.

Action is action. I feel the holy ghost in my loin, nevertheless.

The championship match between India and Sri Lanka was slated for Saturday in Mumbai. It began at 2am PT for me I wanted to sweat the last six hours of the eight-hour long match between India and Sri Lanka, so I crashed early and woke up at 4am to sweat a bet.

Cricket is one of the most crooked organized sports in the world and has been historically plagued with fixing scandals. Bookies and betting syndicates have a tremendous influence on players/teams Some players reveal inside info to the bookies (who take financial advantage of the info) while other dirty players take cash for a dive.

I get tips all the time but I rarely act of them, with the exception that the silver market is rigged and the World Cup is fixed in India's favor. One was tough to prove, the other made sense. Sure, I'm an action junkie at heart, but I'm also a sharp bettor. If there's an edge in my favor, then I'm going to hammer it. The World Cup gave me the best of both worlds and appealed to both contrasting aspects of my personality -- betting on something that is mostly foreign to me, and an opportunity to get on the right side of the fix.

Betting on cricket? A leap of faith for sure. I waited until 9:30am to mix an eye-opening cocktail. The moralists might judge me for drinking so early, but in my defense, I had been awake for at least 5+ hours (and in that time... I ate breakfast, chatted with Kat about the cover design for Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, read a chapter of the 'Gods of Money', squeezed in 90 minutes of writing). I waited until India scored 200 runs before I finally cracked open a bottle of rum. Besides, it's not like I was slurping up a Zombie (a California-created concoction with 7 to 8 ounces of liquor according the original recipe), instead, I had a rather subdued glass of pineapple juice with a mere splash of rum to take the edge off. It's not like I was eating pills and pounding drinks -- I was waiting until the 3pm tip off of Butler/VCU before I kicked the partying into high gear.

After all, it's the Final Four.

And with the exception of Homer and a few Aussies, you're not here to read about cricket, right? The Final Four is finally upon us and you want to know my (free) picks in order to decide if you're gonna fade/tail the semi-finals of March Madness. Right?

BTW... according to Vegas insiders, I'm betting on the same side as the public because I picked the dogs. The sharps like the favorites in both matchups. As of press time (noon PT), I don't know what side the betting syndicates hammered, with the exception of the UNDER in the Kentucky/UCONN game

Anyway, here you go...

- VCU +2.5, VCU +3, and VCU +140 ML. You have to stick with a hot team until they lose. I keep praying that Coach Chaka and VCU maintains their momentum for one more game. VCU has been the hottest team the entire tournament. They dismantled opponents and it's the one team that bookies/oddsmakers struggled with. VCU made them look like fools because the absolutely decimated their projections. Who knows if they finally adjusted the lines, or if VCU will continue to be the black swan betting anomaly that comes around once in a decade? I'm riding the hot team for one more game. Fingers crossed. Just before I sat down to write this post, the line moved to +3. I put a second small bet at +3 and tossed a small bet on the moneyline at +140

- UNDER 133.5 Butler/VCU. The public is picking the over because of VCU's relentless run-and-gun offense which preaches chucking threes and full court presses. Alas, I'm fading the public because Butler likes to play a little slower than the speedfreak-induced paced VCU team. Hopefully, Butler will dictate a much slower pace than VCU likes to play. Throw in the fact that this is Butler's second consecutive Final Four and they will be more poised than a nervous VCU at the start of the opening game of the doubleheader. Slow starts are a gambler's best friend if they bet the UNDER. That's my key to winning this bet -- slow start -- I need a slow offensive start from both teams.

- UCONN +2.5 and UCONN +120 ML. The line opened at +2. It didn't move much until late in the week. I waited until 2.5 to bet UCONN and gotit in before the line went back down to 2. I don't have much to say except that from what I saw over the last two games from both teams, I think UCONN can cause more problems for UK, than UK can cause trouble for UCONN. With that rationale, I was going to pick UCONN regardless of the spread. So getting +2.5 is sort of a safety net, just in case Kentucky wins it on the final possession, but I'm in favor of getting +120 on a moneyline bet

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.
That's it my six March Madness bets today. I'm hoping that I can continue the momentum of the India World Cup victory. Instead of live blogging the minutiae of sports betting, please follow my progress on Twitter via @taopauly for live Final Four updates.


  1. When will you learn?

    I've watched every second of every UK game for 20 years.

    This team is playing better right now than I think you appreciate.

    Kentucky wins by 10. If you want action...send an e-mail...I'll take it.

  2. You were saying Gordon?

    You're my friend. I didn't want to take your money. I was secretly rooting for UK. Whenever they win the NCAA, the Yankees win the WS later that October. But I knew in my heart UCONN was a better team. My condolences. Great team, though. Imagine if one of those guys stayed from last year's squad...