2 More States Not Welcome at Bovada

Nevada and Delaware have joined the short list of US States not eligible to open new accounts at Bovada casino. The others are New Jersey, New York, and Maryland.

Existing customers from those states may continue playing as normal on Bovada. This rule only affects new customers. New customers will see the following message “We are sorry. We do not accept registrations from your state. For more information please contact us.”

The pattern that’s clearly emerging is that Bovada is choosing to remove itself from markets that have introduced legal, regulated gambling in the US. They have not commented on their reasons or strategic thinking, but there is an obvious connection.

It was only last month that Bovada announced they would no longer accept NJ players.

We will keep you informed on any further news related to this issue.

Bovada Casino No Longer Accepting New Jersey Players

no-nj-acceptedFollowing in the steps of other US-facing gambling sites such as Carbon Poker, one of the top US online casinos and sportsbooks has decided to stop accepting players from New Jersey.

Yesterday we received an email from Bovada explaining the decision.

We’re writing to inform you that our partner brand Bovada.lv has recently added New Jersey to their list of restricted states that they no longer accept registrations from (other states include New York and Maryland).

This move applies to all new signups and products including online casino games, sports betting, and online poker, but doesn’t affect existing existing players.

New account registrations from New Jersey State residents will no longer be accepted, but existing account holders will not be affected.

Bovada.lv made this decision out of their own volition; however, they hope that their existing customers continue to enjoy all of the products and services their website has to offer.

Affiliates will continue to receive commissions on NJ players that they previously referred to Bovada.

All legitimate commission earnings for players that signed up prior to the restriction will continue to be paid as usual.

Bovada’s New Jersey restriction adds to their current list of US states not accepted, which include New York and Maryland.

Masters Golf Tournament – Top 10 Picks

From Amen Corner to Rae’s Creek, to Hogan’s Bridge to the sit-down interviews in Butler Cabin, the first grand slam of the year brings us to Augusta National, home of the Masters.

The greatest golfers in the world flock to Atlanta, Georgia for a tradition unlike any other, but there is one glaring absence due to the injury of Tiger Woods.  Without the spotlight shining bright on Woods, there will be plenty of drama, as players look to add a Major Championship to their resume.

Donning the Green Jacket is a dream of every golfer.  On Sunday, that dream becomes a reality, as one golfer will earn the right to call themselves a Masters champion.

Who will be the one?

10) Charl Schwartzel: Already a green jacket winner in 2011, Schwartzel never seems to buckle under the pressure.  With no bigger pressure than being in contention Sunday at Augusta, Schwartzel has proven he can handle it. Having already two top-10 finishes in 2014, expect the South African to add another top-10 finish to his resume.

9) Keegan Bradley: Sunday at Augusta, he won’t be wearing Sunday red (well, he might), but expect to see a few Tiger-like fist pumps from the Vermont native.  Being ranked in the top-20 in driving distance bodes well for Bradley’s ability to handle this lengthy golf course.  However, Bradley’s putting inconsistencies may prove to be the difference between Bradley wearing a Green jacket or no jacket at all.

8) Zach Johnson: A silent, but deadly player on the tour, Johnson has already tasted victory at Augusta having won the Masters in 2007.  He lacks the charisma of a Woods or a Mickelson.  He’s not the longest hitter on tour, and don’t expect ZJ to ever say the wrong thing.  He’s playing the best golf of his career in recent years, and that makes him a very dangerous player at Augusta.

7) Jason Day: He already won the Match Play Championship.  He’s finished in the top three in two of the last three Masters tournaments. If his injured thumb doesn’t derail his quest this week, the man from down under certainly has the game to finish on top.

6) Matt Kuchar: Having played his college golf at Georgia Tech, the home crowd has yet to will Kuchar to a Masters victory.  If last weeks finish at the Shell Houston Open is any sign of how Kuchar will play this week, he may be booking an early flight home.  But after nearly wining the last two tournaments, along with five top-10 finishes in his last nine starts, he’ll be just fine.

5) Phil Mickelson:  A three-time Green jacket winner, we’ve all seen what Mickelson is capable of doing on this course.  Expect the biggest name in the field to be right there when they make the turn on Sunday. I know I’ll be watching Phil.  Hope you will too.

4) Bubba Watson: There was the shot out of the pine straw on the second playoff hole in 2012. There’s the visor and the collar. There’s the long drives. But most importantly, how can we not root for a guy named Bubba?

3) Adam Scott: If you were looking forward to a Steve Williams versus Joe LaCava battle on Sunday, you are not a lone. I was, but at least you’ll be seeing Tiger’s favorite caddie for the next four days. For the best golfer in the world, one green jacket isn’t enough.  There’s a great chance the defending champ will get number two.

2) Rory Mcllroy: Do I really believe Mcllroy is going to finish in second? He might, but I’d feel I’d be doing a dishonor to the world of golf if I didn’t have him in this spot. And I’m not just ready to do that yet.

1) Angel Cabrera: Despite being ranked 82nd in the world golf rankings, El Pato comes to Augusta looking for redemption after a heartbreaking playoff loss to Adam Scott just a year ago. There seems to always be something special about Cabrera and the Masters.  Five years after his victory in 2009, we get to once again see what that is.

UPDATE: Fans who bet on Bubba Watson winning the 2014 Masters got a nice payout.

NCAA Championship Game – Picks & Predictions

National Championship Game:

Connecticut Huskies (7 seed, 31-8) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (8 seed, 29-10)

When: April 7, 2014

Time: 9:10 pm

Line: Kentucky -2.5

The championship game is set as a No. 7 seed face off against a No. 8 seed for the first time in tournament history.

As the UConn Huskies and the Kentucky Wildcats square off Monday night, it’ll be a battle between two historic programs looking to add another championship to their trophy cases.

Led by Kemba Walker, the Huskies earned the right to call themselves champions in 2011. In 2012, another one-and-done class of phenoms brought another title to the Bluegrass State.

Now there will be one more game to determine who will be champion in 2014.

Why Kentucky will cover:

After missing the NCAA tournament last season, there’s no doubt that the Wildcats were a long shot to get to Arlington–let alone, be playing for a National championship–this season.  Their talent was never questioned, but their desire and effort certainly was.

Quite often in sports, talent wins out, and that’s what’s happening–and will continue to happen–on the Wildcats magical tournament run.

When Willie Cauley-Stein went down, many wondered if that would be a deciding factor in their matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers. But Alex Poythress’ excellent play off the bench proved otherwise and has provided a much-needed spark game after game for Coach Calipari.

Freshman phenom Julius Randle, who scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in their semifinal victory over the Badgers, will be the toughest to matchup against for anyone UConn coach Kevin Ollie asks.  Whether its Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels or Phillip Nolan, the task will not be easy.  Julius is a beast.  He scores when he wants, whenever he wants.  He has the ability to finish despite the contact. Randle’s strength set him as one of the most NBA-ready prospects, simply because he’s not going to be bullied like a lot of power forwards. Expect Randle to have the game of his career on Monday night.

Kentucky, who has trailed or been tied at the half in every tournament game thus far, can expect another close battle.  But as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, if the Wildcats are within three points at the end of the game, then it’s time for Aaron Harrison to shine.

As proven all tournament long, he doesn’t need to light up the scoring sheet to prove why he was ranked No. 9 on the ESPN 100 list. As the entire Bluegrass nation knows, the Wildcats would not have been playing in Final Four without him.  And they certainly wouldn’t be vying for a National championship if Harrison didn’t turn into Superman during their tournament run. He’s answered the bell every time when called upon.  Can he do it one more time?

Why UConn will cover:

Shabazz Napier, more than any other player in this year’s NCAA Tournament, has been credited with carrying his team. Saturday night in Arlington was no different.

It wasn’t Napier’s offense that was the deciding factor in their victory over the heavily favored Florida Gators, but it was his influence on defense that turned the momentum in the Huskies favor. Napier proved that even when he isn’t at his best offensively, he will utilize his unparalleled talent and effort to be a game-changer the defensive side of the ball. Despite scoring only 12 points, Napier was effective by passing for six assists and guided the team through a difficult early period.

After outclassing Wilbekin in a matchup of senior point guards, Napier will be tested once again in the matchup versus Kentucky.  This time, it’ll be against the Harrison twins.  Both physical and quick off the dribble, Aaron and Andrew can not only get to the basket with ease but can also beat you from the perimeter.  Napier, 6’1”, and Ryan Boatright, 6’0”, will be asked to defend against the Harrison twins, who are 6’6”.  Since defending against size hasn’t been an issue for the Huskies yet, I don’t see it starting on Monday night.

When all is said in done, there’s no question how the Wildcats will perform, because Coach Calipari is going to have his team ready to play.

It’s going to come down to the most important offensive player in the game, and that’s Napier.  He knows how to manage the game, and can cause havoc for opponents even without putting the ball through the basket. Playing at least 37 minutes for the fourth time in five tournament games, Napier didn’t force his offense against the Gators. Instead, he was content to involve his teammates, especially DeAndre Daniels, who has been a different player in this tournament than the player we saw in the American Athletic Conference over the regular season.

Averaging 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in five tournament games, the 6-foot-9 junior scorched Florida’s vaunted defense for 20 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday night as the Huskies advanced within a victory of their fourth national title.

Napier and Daniels are a lethal duo.  If they can get help from three-point shooter Niels Giffey–who is one of three UConn seniors who also played in the Final Four in 2011–and defensive-stopper Boatright, the Huskies will not only win but will run away with it.

My pick: Bet on the UConn Moneyline

Leading up to the National championship game, you’re going to hear all about Kentucky’s size and how the Wildcats are a mismatch for the smaller Huskies. It’s going to be the same story when UConn opposed Iowa State, Michigan State and Florida. All of these teams were superior to the Huskies, and were supposed to provide a major mismatch, but led by Napier, the Huskies are the ones playing for a title–not the Cyclones, Spartans or Gators.

Kentucky has survived by the fate of Aaron Harrison’s miraculous 3-point shooting, while Kevin Ollie has his team playing at a championship level, clicking on all cylinders. But the bottom line is, one team has a player named Shabazz Napier and the other team doesn’t. He’s been a leader all year and a superstar all tournament. As he takes the court for the final time in his college career, don’t think twice if you’re witnessing greatness or not. Don’t think twice where Napier ranks amongst the greats that have donned a Husky uniform. Don’t think twice about who’s going to be cutting down the nets on Monday night.

Forget the points. UConn is going to win. Why? Because Napier won’t allow the Huskies to lose this one. Not on this stage. Not in this game. And certainly not on this night.

Kentucky vs Wisconsin – Picks & Predictions

Kentucky (8, seed 28-10) vs. Wisconsin (2 seed, 30-7)

When: April 5, 2014

Time: 8:49 PM EST

Line: Kentucky -1.5

In a battle of youth versus experience the Wildcats face-off against the Badgers with a spot in the National championship game on the line.

While it may come as no surprise that Wisconsin arrived in Arlington as one of the Final Four, no one expected the Wildcats to be here.  But through an up and down season, and after four impressive wins in the NCAA tournament, here they are.

As we get ready to watch the Italian versus the Irishman, we wait in anticipation if the Wildcats will be able to win another tight game? Or will the experience of Wisconsin, who are also used to playing in close games, win out versus this talented bunch?

Lets find out…

Why Wisconsin will cover:

If success of an NCAA head coach is measured by the number of Final Four appearances and National championships, William Francis Ryan, Jr., or known to the world as “Bo”, would still not be the coach of the Badgers, would not be three time Big Ten coach of the year, and would not have lead the Badgers to the NCAA tournament in each of his 13 seasons at Wisconsin.

Under Ryan, the Badgers have finished in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense in nine of the last 11 years, including finishing first in 2008 and 2012. But Led by junior Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky, who has carried the Badgers to the Final Four, the first under Ryan, the 7-foot junior who lead the Badgers in four NCAA tournament games in scoring (18.5) and rebounding (6.0) has turned his team into an offensive juggernaut. Kaminsky is the perfect weapon, capable of scoring in the paint (as his 52.7 field goal percentage attests) or knocking down shots from behind the arc (he shoots 37.8 percent from 3-point range).

While the recipe for success under Ryan has always been defense first, the 2014 Badgers not only take care of the ball, leading the nation at 8.1 turnovers per game, but they can score at will. Although Kaminsky is dominating the stat sheet in the tournament, six different Badgers have been the team’s leading scorer at least three times this season.  Showing why this team is extremely dangerous not only on the defensive side of the ball, but also on offense.

Averaging 73.9 points per game, the highest for a Wisconsin team since 1994, the Badgers move the ball with extreme ease, and are one of the most dangerous teams from the perimeter, continuing to display their relentless shooting capability, every time they have the ball. Shooting 46 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point land and 74.1 percent from the free throw line, the Badgers ability to score from anywhere on the court, gives them a complete and versatile offensive approach. Allowing Ryan to play his smaller guards in the post while bringing his big men out on the perimeter has proven to be a problem for opposing defenses all season long.

Throughout the dance, we have seen Kaminsky be the best player on the court game after game. But Saturday night in “Jerry’s World” the Badgers will advance because the trio of guards, Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust, and Josh Gasser, prove once again, that these Badgers aren’t just a one man show.

Once again, truly defining what a team really means.

Why Kentucky will cover:

Ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, the Wildcats entered the season, once again, with the most talented freshman class in the country.

Throughout the season, the Nation saw the modern-day Fab Five drop out of the Top 25 near the end of the regular season, but with a date against the Badgers Saturday night in Arlington, the country will get to see why the Wildcats were dubbed the best team in the country before the season began.  And are two wins away from being the best team in the country when the season ends.

Being the youngest team in Division I, Julius Randle certainly isn’t playing like a freshman.  Named the most outstanding player in the Midwest Region, shooting 49.9 percent for the season and averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds, Randle might not get the recognition of former freshman John Wall or Anthony Davis, but he’s certainly deserving of every ounce of praise, leading the nation in double-doubles this season, including posting a double-double in each tournament game.

We all know Coach Cal gets the most coveted freshman in the country.  Going after his second national championship, his first in 2012, he’s compiled a record of 34-9 in March, and since 2005-06 no coach in Division I has as many wins as his 286.

But it’s not going to be the coaching ability of Calipari that will have the Wildcats playing in the National championship game on Monday night.  It’s going to be the talent and athleticism of these youngsters.  From their second round victory over Kansas State, to their victory over the Wolverines in the regional final, we have seen the Wildcats grow up before our very eyes.  With the Harrison Twins, alongside wingman James Young and post powers Randle and Dakari Johnson, Calipari brought in these highly touted freshmen to carry the load for the Wildcats. Well John, mission accomplished.

Prior to the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats had lost to just about every good team they had played: Michigan State, Baylor, North Carolina, and Florida three times.  But something clicked for the Wildcats, and Kentucky’s talent has finally started to gel at the right time. That is not only dangerous for the Badgers, but will be for their opponent on Monday night, as well.

My pick: Bet on Kentucky -1.5

At times this season, the Wildcats looked like an elite basketball team – a team deserving to play in the Final Four. Then, there was the loss against South Carolina that left you wondering and shaking your head.  Asking yourself, are these Wildcats really this bad?

So here we are, with another chance to watch this group of freshman, showcase their talent and awe us with their athletic ability.  Come Saturday night, despite Wisconsin’s shooting ability, the physical prowess of the Wildcats will be too much for the Badgers to overcome.

During the summer, these five freshmen came together with one goal in mind.  That was to have the chance to play for a National championship. On Saturday night, with a victory over the Badgers, they get their chance. A chance that not long ago, was anything but a real possibility, but now has become a reality.

Florida vs Uconn – Picks & Predictions

UCONN Huskies (7 seed, 30-8) vs. Florida Gators (1 seed, 36-2)

When: April 5, 2014

Time: 6:09 PM EST

Line: Florida -6.5  

The last time the Huskies and Gators squared off, it was Shabazz Napier’s buzzer-beater on Dec. 2, that gave UConn the victory over Florida, and it was also the last time the Gators lost this season.

In that matchup, Napier scored 26 points compared to Scottie Wilbekin’s 15. The two will once again square off—but with a lot more on the line this time around.

Which team will move one step closer to cutting down the nets? Will it be the Gators, who are looking for the first title since back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007? Or, A year after being banned from postseason play by the NCAA because of several years of poor academic performance, will head coach Kevin Ollie bring another championship back to Storrs?

Let’s find out.

Why UConn will cover:

The best player left in the tournament plays for the Huskies.  That’s right.  I said it.  Is there anyone else besides Shabazz Napier that you’d rather have leading your team? Napier averaged 17.9 points per game throughout the year, but although the calendar says April, the month of March seems to bring out the best in the Huskies guards. Averaging 23.3 points per game, en route to the Final Four, Napier can do it all, averaging 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals.

It’s no secret the Huskies offense isn’t the greatest poetry in motion that we’ve seen in recent years, but they’ve still managed to score 71.9 points per game.  Only allowing 63.9 points per game, isn’t going to matter against the Gators.  What will matter is the play of Napier. The success of the Huskies has been carried on the shoulders of the best point guard that will take the floor Saturday night in Arlington.

You can certainly expect Gators head coach Billy Donovan to force someone else to beat him, besides for Napier. It might be DeAndre Daniels, who has lottery pick talent, but despite playing consistently inconsistent throughout his college career, put on one of the best performances that you’ll see in March in the win over Iowa State.

Or, the game may fall on the hands of senior Niels Giffey, who’s shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from beyond the arc, but was scoreless from 3-point range in their victory of the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite Eight.

But no matter how everyone plays Saturday night, it’s going to be Napier’s performance that will decide whether the Huskies advance or go home.  Napier hasn’t disappointed yet.  There’s no reason to think, he’s going to start now.

Why Florida will cover:

Not since a visit to Storrs, Connecticut in early December, have the Gators lost, winning 30 in a row, a program record.

While team leader Scottie Wilbekin was serving a suspension when Florida fell to Wisconsin, and his backup, Kasey Hill, missed the UConn game, not since the Gators have been at full strength, have they tasted defeat.

But unlike the Huskies, Florida’s greatest strengths are its depth and balance on offense.  Leading the team with 14.2 points per game during the regular season, Casey Prather is the most dynamic and explosive player on their roster.  But it’s reserves like Hill, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Chris Walker, who average than 20 minutes of action per game, that make the Gators extremely dangerous.

Finally reaching the Final Four, after three consecutive loses in the Elite Eight, the Gators are one of those teams that are going to be talked about for a long time. Led by the best floor general in college basketball, Wilbekin’s on-court leadership, two-way play and relentless defense have been the keys to his team’s success.

Besides for their explosive offense, it’s their elite defense that makes them the best defensive team in the country.  The gators full court press and ability to cause a lot of turnovers, are one of the many of reasons why Florida has the ability to score in bunches and quick.

Prather, alongside Patric Young, who is a force down low, makes the Gators frontcourt extremely dynamic on offense and tough on the boards.  The Huskies are about to face a deep Florida team that has so many weapons to contain. On paper, this game is a complete mismatch. On the court, this game is a complete mismatch too.

Past disappointments and experience will be the motivation that will drive the Gators to a spot in the National Championship game on Monday night.  Wilbekin, Young, Prather and Will Yeguete are on a mission.  There’s no stopping them now.

My Pick: Bet on UConn +6.5

The Huskies aren’t going to be playing on the big stage of Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, but in the college basketball word, there’s no bigger stage than the Final Four.  When the lights shine the brightest, we have seen Napier be at his best over and over again.

Florida is the better team.  You know it.  I know it.  Vegas even knows it. But there’s something special about Shabazz and this time of year. I’m not picking the better team to cover.  I’m not even picking the better team to win.  I’m picking the best player on the court, combined with the time of year that it is.  And in my book, that’s the Huskies.

Tennessee vs Michigan – Betting Picks & Predictions

Tennessee Volunteers (11 seed, 24-12) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2 seed, 27-8)

When: March 28, 2014

Time: 7:15 PM  

Line: Michigan Wolverines -2.5

After two victories in the 2014 NCAA tournament, Big Ten Player of the year, Nik Stauskas, has his Michigan Wolverines back in a familiar spot.

After falling 40 minutes short of a National Championship, many believed the Wolverines were going to have down year.  Not only did they lose Wooden award winner Trey Burke to the NBA, but sophomore sensation Mitch McGary was ruled out for the remainder of the season after under going surgery to correct a “lower back condition”, but no so fast.

Despite not being the most physical team, the Wolverines offense has been extremely explosive averaging 75 points on 48% shooting. After losing in dominating fashion to the Spartans in Big Ten Tournament Finals, the NCAA tournament has been the Wolverines stepping stone towards another shot at their one shining moment, heading towards their 8th Final Four in program history. There’s no doubt, the offense falls on the hand of Stauskas, who leads the Wolverines in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game, but it’s the role players – Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III who are averaging 13.1 points and Derrick Walton Jr. who is averaging 8.1 points – that have got the Wolverines back into the Sweet 16.

Only allowing 61.4 points, while holding opponents to 41% from the field, it has been Tennessee’s defense that have allowed them to win eight of their last nine games.  Despite Jordan McRae’s 18.6 points per game. Jarnell Stokes’ 15.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, Josh Richardson’s 10.1 points, and Jeronne Maymon’s 9.9 points and 8.2 rebounds, Tennessee’s offense will be unable to go toe-to-toe with the Wolverines.

While Tennessee would love to get into a defensive battle with Michigan, it’s going to be the offense of Michigan that will be too much for the Volunteers to handle.

My pick: Bet on Michigan -2.5

Sweet 16 Lock: Two Team Money Line Parlay

Stanford Cardinal (10 seed, 23-12) vs. Dayton Flyers (11 seed, 25-10)

When: March 27, 2014

Time: 7:15 PM EST  

Line: Stanford Cardinals -3

After a surprising upset win over the Kansas Jayhawks, who many considered a National championship contender, the Cardinals advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time under head coach Johnny Dawkins.

But the “Cinderella” of the ball has been the Dayton Flyers.  The South Region’s No. 11 seed began the dance with an upset victory over in-state rival Ohio State, followed by another upset of 3rd seeded Syracuse in the round of 32.  If the Flyers want to continue to fly into the Elite Eight, their defense, which is only allowing a stifling 55 points, will continue to prove they are on the same level of the bigger schools in terms of talent and athleticism. Despite Jordan Sibert’s inability to score over the first two rounds of the tournament, averaging just 9.5 points, the Flyers have had a balanced scoring attack on offense with Dyshawn Pierre leading the way with 13 points per game.

However, the size and experience of of Stanford can cause problems for the Flyers. Averaging 73.5 points per game, in large part due to their experience of 4 senior starters, efficiency is a major key for Stanford as they shoot 46.4% from the floor. Stanford will only go as far as junior guard Chasson Randle, who is averaging 18.0 points per game in the NCAA tournament, and senior forward Dwight Powell.

Going 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall, it is my belief that the odds makers have yet to give Dayton the respect they deserve.  Respect or not, Dayton will be heading to the Elite Eight for the first time in thirty years.

I’ve watched the Flyers all year and they haven’t disappointed me yet.  Look for that streak to continue, as Dayton wins outright.

My pick: Dayton Moneyline


Wisconsin Badgers (2 seed, 28-7) vs. Baylor Bears (6 seed, 26-11)

When: March 27, 2014

Time: 7:47 pm

Odds: Wisconsin Badgers -3.5

Advancing to the regional semifinals for the third time in the last four seasons, under head coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers continue to be a staple in the NCAA tournament during the Ryan era.

Starting the season 16-0, the Badgers struggled through a rough stretch, losing five of six.  But winning 11 of its last 13 games, despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the country this season, Wisconsin has shown the ability to come back, evident by their hard fought 85-77 win over Oregon in a game that they trailed most of the way.

Frank Kaminsky leads the Badgers averaging 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Sam Dekker is averaging 12.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, Ben Brust is averaging 13 points, and Traevon Jackson is averaging 10.8 points. While Wisconsin is averaging 73.9 points and is shooting 46 percent from the field, the Badgers defense continues to be the ingredient to success allowing 64.1 points, while holding opponents to 43.1 percent shooting. Defense has always been focal point for the Badgers, and during the 2014 NCAA tournament, nothing has changed.

Also getting off to a great start this season, the Bears struggled during the midway point, losing seven of eight games, but have certainly turned things around, winning 13 of its last 15 games. While Baylor is averaging 75.4 points and is shooting 45.9 percent from the floor, it’s been their talent, length, and athleticism that have carried them into the Sweet 16. Despite not showing up to play early and often during the early part of the season, head coach Scott Drew is pressing all the right buttons at the perfect time.

Playing as well as anyone in the country, the Bears dominance continues.  If both teams come to play, the Badgers don’t stand a chance.

And guess what? The Badgers don’t stand a chance.

My Pick: Baylor Moneyline

Two Team Moneyline Parlay: Dayton and Baylor Moneyline

Tennessee vs Umass – Betting Picks & Predictions

Tennessee Volunteers (11 seed, 22-12) vs. Massachusetts Minutemen (6 seed, 24-8)

When: March 21, 2014

Time: 2:45 pm

Led by senior guard Jordan McRae, who averages 18.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, Tennessee enters the round of 64 after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the “First Four” play-in-game on Wednesday, 78-65.

The way the Volunteers have been playing, winning five of six to end the season, with their only loss coming to Florida in the SEC tournament, the Vols won’t beat you offensively, but will suffocate opponents on defense, allowing just 61.2 points on 40.8 percent shooting.

Back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998, the Vols lack of size and height will be a major factor in the game.  The Minutemen start three seniors who are 6’8″ or taller, while the Vols only have two players 6’8’’ who play the entire game. Having allowed 68 or less points in nine straight games, their defensive play is going to need to continue if the Vols want to advance in the tournament.

Trying to defend the Minutemen offense is no easy task. Averaging 76.1 points, led by senior guard Chaz Williams, who averages 15.8 points and seven assists, UMass has three players averaging at least 10.5 points. Shooting 34.7 percent from downtown, and 68.2 percent from the free throw line, UMass’s greatest strength’s aren’t from beyond the arc or from the stripe, but they still find ways to score.

But down the stretch, the Minutemen were a bettor’s worst nightmare going 0-6 against the spread.

If the Vols are able to put points up on the scoreboard, while playing their trademark defense, the Vols will continue to roll into the round of 32. What may concern you is the fact that Tennessee has a lousy 1-6-1 ATS record in the NCAA tournament since 2000.

But have no fear.  Trust me on this one. You’ll probably be sweating this one out till the end, but the better defensive and rebounding team will prevail.  And that’s the Vols.

My pick: Bet on Tennessee Volunteers -4

Memphis vs George Washington – Betting Picks & Predictions

Memphis Tigers (8 seed, 23-9) vs. George Washington Colonials (9 seed, 24-8)

When: Friday, March 21, 2014

Time: 6:55 PM

Even with four senior guards (Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon Jr., Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford) who average at least 22 minutes and eight points a game on the roster, inconsistent play has plagued the Memphis Tigers all season long.

Throughout the season, there have been moments where the Tigers have looked like a top ten team in the country–exhibited by their victories over at the time, No. 5 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and their six-point road win at Louisville, the defending national champions.  But there have been other times where Memphis has looked like a lock for the NIT, losing three times in three games to the Connecticut Huskies by an average of 11 points and losing in wire-to-wire fashion to the Cincinnati Bearcats late in the season.

Having won just one tournament game in three appearances over the past four seasons under head coach Josh Pastner, his inability to make the necessary late game adjustments has been the Tiger’s biggest plague, despite their talented roster.

On the other hand, if you believe in the Colonials, I understand why. They’re a steady team, and although they don’t have the star player, they’ll play tough for 40 minutes.  Looking to regain the magic that was on display during their Sweet 16 run in 1993, the Colonials return to the dance for the first time since 2007.  With all five starters averaging double digits in points, the Colonials rely on balance scoring in order to be successful. Having a starting lineup with three sophomores, the Colonials posted wins in 5 of 7 games, including 4 wins over tournament teams on the 2013-14 season.  Getting a boost from the return of 2nd leading scorer Kethan Savage coming back from a foot injury, will be a huge factor, but not enough to keep this game close.

What this game will come down too will be the depth, talent and experience of the Tigers.  It’s that simple.

My pick: Bet on Memphis Tigers -3.5