Handicapping the Hardwood: March Madness Episode 2

The latest edition of Handicapping the Hardwood had all the anticipation of Christmas Eve, with Adam Burke and Kyle Hunter playing the role of children shaking their presents under the tree. March Madness is finally upon us as 64 teams will have the opportunity to refer to themselves forever as the 2014 National Champion. On the installment of Handicapping the Hardwood, Adam and Kyle broke down the futures market and discussed some teams that have value and projected some of Saturday and Sunday’s third-round matchups, complete with projected spreads and totals to help listeners get ahead of the market when lines get released.

Handicapping the Hardwood is designed to be an informational podcast that pays special attention to the betting aspect of college basketball. The whole point of the show is to make bettors aware of things that can help them make educated wagers. The oddsmakers are good and you need everything you can to get an edge. With schedule analysis, stats, trends, and coaching analysis, you can expect quality information from Handicapping the Hardwood, making it a must-listen every week for any serious college basketball bettor.

Opening remarks included a brief discussion on last night’s play-in action as Albany beat Mount St. Mary’s and NC State downed Xavier. The Muskeeters fell convincingly to a marginal ACC team, leading both men to agree that the Big East is overrated.

Kyle has had a great month of March so far and he has now discounted his March Madness package. If you’ve listened to Handicapping the Hardwood throughout the season, you know how sharp of a college hoops mind Kyle has. His March Madness package will have tremendous value with Kyle’s higher volume style, so if you’re interested in that, check it out at his personal page.

The futures discussion opened with a look at the favorites, Louisville, Michigan State, and Florida. Kyle believes that one of the top 16 seeds will be the winner, so that should eliminate a lot of the longshots. Louisville and Michigan State are the favorite and second favorite at BetOnline.ag and both are #4 seeds! Adam notes how interesting it is that #4 seeds are regarded so highly when their probable Sweet 16 matchups are #1 seeds.

Both Adam and Kyle have the same play for the winner. Who is it? Click ‘Play’ to find out.

Also included, in this discussion were some of their value plays as teams that could make Sweet 16 or Elite Eight runs with odds that make for easy hedging opportunities. Kyle gave a big name team that isn’t getting the respect it deserves because of what happened leading up to the tournament. Adam has another play from that same conference as a team that has a great shot at making it to the Elite Eight. You’ll absolutely want to know who these teams are.

Moving from the overall field to looking at the regional winners to head to the Final Four, Adam and Kyle saw some value in some mid-range teams at 7/1 or 8/1, as well as the regional favorites. What teams should bettors keep in mind?

Adam gave a potentially profitable scenario to take two teams to reach the East region final that could really maximize the value of each team that could also apply to the Midwest region. Kyle had a pretty strong lean on a value play out of the Midwest on a team that made a deep run last season. The South bracket has some value because Florida is such a heavy favorite. The West bracket wound up being a good draw for the “weakest” #1 seed, the Arizona Wildcats. Do Adam and Kyle see another potential winner?

Included in this segment was a look at Kyle’s three teams that could cash some lucrative Sweet 16 prop bets at 5Dimes.

The futures discussion was full of great value plays and a lot of important strategy for bettors to keep in mind. It takes understanding of the market and knowledge of the potential matchups in order to make informed future wagers and that’s exactly what Adam and Kyle provided during these segments.

Projected Third Round Matchups

(3) Syracuse v (6) Ohio State or (11) Dayton
Projected Lines: Syracuse -2.5 against Ohio State, Total of 124; Syracuse -5 against Dayton, Total of 129

Syracuse has a lot of offensive issues, but they’re clearly a great defensive team, as Kyle’s suggestion for this game would be to look at the under. Neither Ohio State nor Dayton are particularly good three-point shooting teams, which means that points will be hard to come by.

Adam wonders if Kyle’s numbers are a little bit low given that this matchup would be played in Buffalo with a very pro-Syracuse crowd. Is the Dayton line too low? Adam explains his thoughts why and Kyle counters with his perception of Syracuse.

(4) Michigan State v (5) Cincinnati or (12) Harvard
Projected Lines: Listen to find out!

This won’t be an easy game for Michigan State regardless of who they play in this third round matchup. What Kyle loves about Michigan State is that they have the ability to play any kind of game that is required of them, whether they have to play uptempo or slow it down.

Adam and Kyle discussed Cincinnati/Harvard on Monday’s show, which is still available for download and should be listened to with information on 12 of the Thursday/Friday matchups.

Because Michigan State was covered during the futures discussion, should somebody with a Michigan State future look to hedge on the moneyline with either of these underdogs?

(1) Arizona v (8) Gonzaga or (9) Oklahoma State
Projected Lines: Arizona -4.5 against Oklahoma State; Arizona -7.5 against Gonzaga

The Gonzaga/Oklahoma State game was also discussed on Monday’s show and coaching will play a big role in that game. Kyle is very high on the Wildcats in this spot against either opponent. Adam speculates that Oklahoma State’s upside is certainly being accounted for in the line and that could lead to a lower number against Arizona. Kyle says he will fire on Arizona if the line comes out -3 or lower.

Oddsmakers are setting sharp lines at this time of the year, so Kyle is looking for overvaluations in public perception, which he thinks is very possible in this game.

(2) Wisconsin v (7) Oregon or (10) BYU
Projected Line: Wisconsin -8 against BYU, Total of 142; Wisconsin against Oregon? Listen to the podcast to find out!

Oregon and BYU was also covered on Monday’s show and a key injury doesn’t seem to be getting enough adjustment in the line. No matter the opponent, there will be a pace battle in this game as Oregon and BYU will want to run the floor and Wisconsin has shown a tendency to speed up a bit more than usual this season. Tempo differences have been a running theme throughout these shows and both of these matchups have that possibility. This game is in Milwaukee, so expect a pro-Wisconsin crowd.

Adam does play devil’s advocate, pointing out Wisconsin’s 2-0 record this season against Iowa in higher-scoring games. Is Wisconsin on upset alert?

(1) Wichita State v (8) Kentucky or (9) Kansas State
Projected Lines: Wichita State -2.5 against Kentucky, Total of 136; Wichita State -5.5 against Kansas State, Total of 129

Like the other games, Kentucky and Kansas State was discussed at length on Monday’s show. Wichita State draws a very tough region and it begins with this game. Amazingly, the Shockers are still viewed in an underdog role despite a perfect record during the season. The perception of Kentucky could change based on what happens against Kansas State and Kyle believes that his projected line could be a little low due to the perception of Kentucky’s upside.

The discussion shifts to an examination of the SEC, a conference that is not very strong. Kentucky challenged itself during the non-conference schedule, but the conference slate didn’t bring many challenges. Wichita State didn’t play in a good conference, but they were the top against the spread team in the country, a sign that they crushed inferior competition like they should.

Who wins in this matchup? Click ‘Play’ to find out who the guys think will be victorious.

(1) Florida v (8) Colorado or (9) Pittsburgh
Projected Lines: Listen to the podcast to find out!

Florida appears to have the easiest third-round matchup against the winner of the #8/#9 matchup since neither of these teams have a very high ceiling. Florida has been one of the best teams in the country for a long time now and, like Michigan State, the Gators can play any type of game that is required. Kyle believes that separates the Gators from most of the other teams. The Gators do have a home-court advantage with games in this regional played in Orlando.

Adam takes a more optimistic approach with one of the teams in this potential matchup. Who is that team and why? One simple click will answer those questions.

To wrap up the show, Kyle gave some suggestions that everybody should keep in mind for filling out brackets or participating in office pools. If you want bragging rights with your friends, family, and co-workers, be sure to listen to the end of the podcast.

Tune in again next Monday as Adam and Kyle look at the spreads for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups and break down selected games from those rounds.

Download this week’s podcast or listen to it on the embedded player in this article and share it with your friends, family, and fellow bettors so that everybody can bang the book this week in college hoops!

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Adam Burke

Adam Burke

Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.

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