Submitted by Wayne Root on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM
With the 2016 National Championship Tournament resuming Thursday, you know that THE KING OF UPSETS is looking for shocker potential up and down the schedule. Hey, it’s the Sweet 16 of ’16! You know I’m going to have something special in store.
The problem is…there’s no guarantee that we’re actually going to see any shockers. I’ve talked in the past about how certain scenarios are ripe for upsets. The Sweet 16 isn’t necessarily one of those, as we saw last year.
A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK IN THE SWEET 16
Notre Dame (+2) beat Wichita State 81-70 (dog wins)
Arizona (-10.5) beat Xavier 68-60 (dog covers)
Wisconsin (-6) beat North Carolina 79-72
Kentucky (-13.5) beat West Virginia 78-39
Gonzaga (-8) beat UCLA 74-62
Louisville (-2.5) beat NC State 75-65
Duke (-4.5) beat Utah 63-57
Michigan State (-1) beat Oklahoma 62-58
Only two underdogs were able to cover pointspreads in Thursday and Friday action. Only one pulled off an upset. And, it’s not really much of an upset when a two-point underdog from a power conference like the ACC knocks off a mid-major. Favorites went 6-2 ATS, which was great for the public (who would also be on a team like Notre Dame), but not so great for dog-lovers.
What about the rest of the weekend?
LAST YEAR’S ELITE 8
Wisconsin (+1.5) beat Arizona 85-78
Notre Dame (+11) lost to Kentucky 68-66
Michigan State (-2) beat Louisville 76-70 in overtime
Duke (-1.5) beat Gonzaga 66-52
That’s better…with underdogs going 2-2 ATS, which would have been 3-1 ATS if not for overtime in Michigan State/Louisville. We also saw some early evidence that Kentucky really wasn’t head and shoulders above the field. They would lose in the Final Four to Wisconsin, who would then lose to Duke.
So, the first thing we have to remember if we’re hunting for UPSET CALLS or value underdog bets is that we have to be picky in the Sweet 16. The odds may be stacked anyone who wants to fade elite teams across the board.
*Elite teams just had at least three days off to rest
*Elite coaches just had a lot of time to prepare for their next opponent
*Elite teams are focused…because there are no “look-ahead” spots this deep
Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to be laying chalk in every game! I’m just aware that this field may not be not ripe for underdog picking because favorites are less vulnerable than usual. I’m not going to tip off the market as to who my top dog (or favorite) plays might be. I can tell you that any UPSET CALL would involve the following…
*Underdogs who are capable of scoring points!
*Underdogs with a proven track record of getting upsets
*Favorites with soft defenses (by tournament standards)
*Favorites who may get overconfident after last weekend’s results
You regulars know that I prefer offense to defense when it comes to UPSET CALLS. “Defensive dogs” are fine for value bets. But, they’ll often break your heart if you’ve bet them on the moneyline to win straight up. You have to outscore opponents to get victories. If I step out on a dog Thursday or Friday with a major release, it’s because I like their inside/out scoring balance…and I like their chances to repeatedly exploit a defensive weakness of the opponent they’re facing.
I have to admit…one thing I like about the underdogs this week is that they’re battle-tested. All eight come from major conferences…which means all eight have some experience trying to beat (or succeeding in beating) power programs. You know…this might be the best set of eight underdogs this tournament has ever seen in this round!
A quick list of “the Sweet 16 in ’16” underdogs in tip-off order…
Wisconsin (+1 right now)
The Cinderella’s are back home darning socks. Sorry Middle Tennessee State, Yale, Stephen F. Austin, and Hawaii. No spots for you! Among the eight Sweet 16 underdogs are the Big 10 regular season champs (Indiana), the SEC regular season co-champs (Texas A&M), last year’s National Champion (Duke), and last year’s National Runner-up (Wisconsin). Everybody listed has earned respect either this year, or in the past under this head coach for their basketball accomplishments. Maybe the field IS ripe for upsets after all!
You’ll have to be a paying customer to find out who WAYNE ALLYN ROOT has decided on for his biggest investments. I can tell you that I’m very excited about this card. We’re about to see some great basketball. And, the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the Las Vegas “Walk of Fame” is about to cash some big winners!
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I did win a PINNACLE underdog last weekend on Indiana outright over Kentucky. Stephen F. Austin either pushed or won at +1.5 as a PINNACLE underdog vs. Notre Dame (and that’s a game we win with fair officiating!). They all didn’t go our way last weekend…but I’m confident we’ll be making headlines in a matter of hours. The Madness is ready to resume. And, that means it’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!