Sunday, April 03, 2011

Final Thoughts on March Madness and Picks: UCONN vs. Butler

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's been a wild weekend and it's not even over.

Something happened when March ceased operations and we trudged into April. Maybe all of this freakiness is related to the cosmos? But this has, unexpectedly, become one of the more memorable sports-themed weekends in a long time -- March Madness Final Four, baseball's Opening Day, NHL and NBA playoffs on the horizon, and the cricket World Cup. I surrendered to the flow of my inner action junkie and uncharacteristically spread my bankroll over a slew of different sports. I deviated away from my bread and butter -- basketball -- and immersed myself into uncharted waters. Baseball, hockey, and cricket. Sometimes, you gotta take a shot, right? But don't worry, I didn't bet on NASCAR or women's basketball -- both last steps before I hit the proverbial rock bottom (which itself is the final step before I'm ambushed by a camera crew from Intervention, or I owe bookies so much money that I'm hiding out in a rehab center in Santa Barbara), but then again, I pulled the trigger on a few bets that I had 100% full knowledge that they were totally redonkulous, so I'm actually surprised during a weekend when I showed little to no restraint, that I didn't piggyback on Buffalo66's recent NASCAR streak and made bets on race car driving for shits and giggles.

Yeah, it was a shits and giggles weekend when it came to everything not related to March Madness. The bender was a pub crawl of puke-inducing bets ranging from cricket (a bankroll booster), on the NBA (slightly above break even), NHL (um.... no), and MLB (a leak, a potential big leak considering the season is 162 games long, that might be an itch I'll never be able to scratch). Along the way I also booked a bet (against my girlfriend) for American Idol.

The weekend also included picking up a piece of golden intel about which teams the wiseguys in Vegas had bet. I tailed a couple. Those guys are the tip of the sword, the pro's pro, the Warren Buffets and J. Peirpont Morgans of the sports betting universe. It would be utterly retarded if I didn't jump on their bandwagon. However, I can't sit around and be a parasite by poaching their picks. Sure, it's important to cherry pick the best on the board because over the long haul that will be profitable, but there's no intrinsic fun in betting someone else's hunch. The vibrations rattles a little stronger when you place a bet on a team when you think you have pertinent inside information no one else in the gambling world knows about. That's feeding the's injecting your ego with steroids. Sports betting is an extremely egocentric gambling activity and when you juice it up with inside info, it's a recipe for disaster.

After all, no one likes to bet on the wrong side of the fix.

It's Sunday afternoon as I regurgitate my inner dialogue. Sunny California. Breezy day. Sipping rum and watching the Lakers. The perfect way to cap off a long weekend of betting. I'm sitting in my living room with my girlfriend's iPad streaming the Seattle/Oakland game, while she's keeping an eye on the latest SuperStars Showdown with that crazy Scandi Isildur1. I'm digging the ability to stream baseball games on the iPad and sweated two bets (both losers) via, with the Lakers/Nuggets game on the TV in the background. The Lakers are fighting for a #1 seed and I bet the Nugs with points and also hedge with the Lakers -310 with the money line. I'm sweating a bet that's coming down to the final seconds. That's good right? The rush is immense. Again.

Ah, and I'm wicked pissed that I missed getting in a wager on the Cleveland game by five friggin' minutes. I got word at the last minute that the wiseguys were steaming Cleveland. Oh well, I'll shut about about those bets and focus on the Final Four.

Looks like I went 3-1 with Saturday's picks. I liked both dogs -- VCU and UCONN -- and the UNDERs. Nervous players in a dome equals low scoring affairs. Basketball should not be played in a dome, an arena that should be only reserved for football or killing Christians with hungry lions.

I shit the bed with VCU (with the points and moneyline), but the games were low scoring and UCONN won (with the points and moneyline). Overall, it was a positive day, but not the monster day I was hoping after I nailed a bet with India on the World Cup. Ah, I shouldn't complain about being up overall. I guess it was all those donk bets on hockey and baseball that rained down flaming turds onto my parade.

That comes down to the finals between Butler/UCONN. I tried to figure out the spread in my head before the bookies released the numbers. I closed my eyes and tred to visualize the score. I channeled my third eye and let the scoreboard numbers swirling back and forth until it cleared up for a moment and I recognized two scores: 71-66 and 69-64. My gut was telling me that the final score would be somewhere in that range. So I estimated that all of the inner voices inside my head consulted with one another and agreed that the spread should be: UCONN -5.5 with an O/U of 135.

The actually lines in Vegas were set at -4 and -128. You can guess what I picked...
- UCONN -3.5. Butler killed the hot team and beat VCU by 8, the largest margin of any victory from them in the tournament. Butler wins close games, something they've proven/done the last two years. The lost to Duke by a bucket last year, but they have to go up against the other hottest team -- UCONN. I envisioned a Huskies victory over the Bulldogs of 6 or more points. It's hard to ignore my gut. The inner voices have spoken. I haven't listened to any of the pundits because I didn't want to be influenced either way. I watched all the games and know what I saw. Same goes to you...stick with your gut. I just hope it's the same side as me, ha.

- OVER 128. UConn score 56 points on Saturday, tied for the lowest of the year for their squad. UCONN scored fewer than 60 points only three other times this season, and they lost those three with their only victory coming over Kentucky. UCONN averaged 79 in the Big East tournament, but those numbers are inflated because they whooped defensively-challenged and overrated teams. In the NCAA tournament, UCONN posted an average of 69 in March Madness, while Butler averaged 67. I put down a small bet on the OVER and if I get word that the wiseguys are pounding the OVER too, then I'll jump on that friggin' bandwagon and shove all-in with my bankroll. I'll follow those fuckers into hell. I'm hoping they steam the OVER because it will give me an excuse to go for broke. Double up and have a fat bankroll for the NBA playoffs, or go busto and stop gambling until football season. My fate is in the hands of the gambling gods.

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.
I shall be tweeting during the game on Monday evening. Follow @taopauly for updates. This concludes the last bit of March Madness musings.

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