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UCLA vs. Kentucky NCAA Tournament Over-Under Betting Pick: March 24th 2017

UCLA Bruins vs. Kentucky Wildcats
NCAA Tournament Over-Under Pick: Under 165.5 (March 24th 2017)

And both teams shot the ball well, combining for 47% shooting from the floor, including 18 made three pointers.  No surprise, then, that the rematch is the single highest totaled game in the NCAA Tournament so far.

But there’s little reason to expect the high stakes rematch to be played in similar fashion.  That was then.  This is now.

John Calipari spent the back half of the season coaching up the Kentucky defense.  It’s worked!  The lengthy, athletic Wildcats are wreaking havoc on the defensive end of the court in recent weeks.  Only one of their last nine opponents has scored more than 70 points against them, with Kentucky holding foes under 40% from the floor during that span.  No surprise, then, that the Wildcats are 8-1 to the Under in those last nine ballgames, including a ‘snail’s pace’ Round of 32 game against Wichita State.  And this is the highest total – by far – that Kentucky has seen during this span.

UCLA’s offense is similar to that of the Golden State Warriors in one key regard – it’s speed of ball movement.  When teams face UCLA for the first time, they’re often overwhelmed, like Kentucky was in the first meeting.  The rematch, however, isn’t as much of a basketball ‘culture shock’, because they’ve seen it before.   That’s how teams like USC and Arizona slowed UCLA down in rematch situations down the stretch of the PAC-12 campaign.  And, as Kentucky already knows that getting into a track meet with the Bruins is a losing proposition.  Expect a very different ‘pace mentality’ from the Wildcats this time around!

Last, but not least, UCLA’s defense has improved by leaps and bounds from where they were a few months ago.  This WAS a bad defensive team for the better part of the first three months of the season.  But in PAC-12 play, the Bruins were actually #2 in the entire conference in two point shooting percentage allowed.  The Bruins don’t force many turnovers, leading to easy fast break buckets on the other end.

But they’ve been fundamentally sound for the better part of the last two months now and Kentucky is not a ‘let it rain 3’s’ type of team, averaging fewer than seven makes per game.  Expect this rematch to be a much lower scoring affair than the first meeting, staying Under the total with room to spare. Take the Under.

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards Betting Pick from Jimmy Boyd: March 22nd 2017

Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards
NBA Betting Pick: Wizards -7 (March 22nd 2017)

I know Washington has failed to cover their last 5 games, but I like them to cash in tonight at home against the Hawks. The Wizards are now 2.5 games back games back of the Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the east and just 1/2-game ahead of the Raptors. They can’t afford to lose at home and I look for them to come out with a chip on their shoulder here after losing to the Celtics last time out.

The other big key here is the Hawks are slumping right now and it’s because of injuries. Atlanta is minus it’s best player in Paul Millsap and also without top reserve Kent Bazemore. Last time these two played the Wizards won 112-86 in Atlanta and Washington is a much better team at home (27-10). Wizards are 25-14 ATS in their last 39 home games after a game where they failed to cover the spread and 15-5 ATS in their last 20 home games with a total of 210 to 219.5. Hawks are just 3-11 ATS against division opponents. Take Washington!

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Oilers vs. Ducks NHL Betting Odds & Pick from Will Rogers: March 22nd 2017

Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks
NHL Pick: Anaheim -120 odds (March 22nd 2017)

The set-up: The 39-24-9 Edmonton Oilers have 87 points and are tied with the 38-23-11 Anaheim Ducks in the West’s Pacific Divsion, four points behind division-leading San Jose. However, as the two teams get set to meet tonight at the Honda Center, they both have to be concerned with the re-hot Calgary Flames, who have climbed to within one point of them.

Edmonton: The Oilers will take a four-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s matchup, looking to end a 10-year postseason drought. Connor McDavid owns NHL highs of 82 points and 57 assists and workhorse goaltender Cam Talbot (37-20-8, 2.32 GAA & .922 save percentage) will attempt to help Edmonton clinch the season series with a win tonight (Oilers have won two of three over the Ducks). Talbot will make his 11th successive start, as well as his 23rd appearance in the past 24 games and his league-leading 66th this season.

Anaheim: For the Ducks, John Gibson is still nursing a lower-body injury so Jonathan Bernier, is expected to be in net. Bernier owns a 7-2-1 mark with a 1.78 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in his last 10 outings.

The pick: The Ducks are coming on strong down the stretch, earning points in six of their last seven games (5-1-1), including victories over division leaders Chicago, Washington and San Jose. Yes, Talbot has been terrific in goal for Edmonton but Bernier hasn’t taken a backseat to anyone these last 10 games. Play the home team.

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