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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 12:00 AM

THE FINAL FOUR TAKES CENTER STAGE THIS SPRING WEEKEND BUT THERE'S A WHOLE LOT MORE GOIN' ON IN THE NBA, MLB & NFL

Make no mistake about it: The center of the sports universe this weekend is in Minneapolis where a Final Four -- that none of you had in your brackets, by the way! - takes place that could crown an unlikely champion and one that shows defense is still king in a sport where high-flying / high-octane offenses are the norm.

In any event, let's repeat one bit of news we've presented to you good folks during the course of our Final Four reports - here's how you would rank this quartet in terms of pointspread success this 2018-19 campaign:

TEAM ATS RECORD PCT
Michigan State27-11-0.711
Virginia25-11-0.694
Auburn21-16-1.568
Texas Tech19-16-1.543

Go ahead and add up the against the spread records for this year's Final Four teams and you get 92-54-2 for a tidy .630 winning percentage - cha-ching!

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers bring you all the Side & Totals winners in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four / NCAA Championship Game on Monday night plus there's NBA and MLB winners too ... and get it all right here online or 1-800-323-4453.

NBA
We're getting down to crunch time in the world of pro hoops - the 2018-19 regular season finishes up this Wednesday night and not everything's been sorted out yet in the Eastern Conference where heading into "Final Four" Saturday just 1.5 games separated four teams looking to nail down the #6, 7 and 8 playoff seeds. All we can tell you is that, if the Brooklyn Nets (39-40) don't make it to the post-season, it'll be a major blow considering Kenny Atkinson's crew was cruising along a few weeks back until a relentless schedule came their way. The Nets finish up the season in Milwaukee, at Indiana and home to Miami in what could be the final game in Dwyane Wade's illustrious career.

One of the other Eastern Conference teams angling for a playoff spot is Detroit (39-40) and take note the Pistons have failed to cover their last three in a row after banging out six consecutive pointspread triumphs. For what it's worth, the Motowners are 41-37-1 ATS (against the spread) overall this year but they've hardly been a consistent club the past few weeks.

 

MLB
Is it too early in this 2019 baseball season to hit the panic button when it comes to some of those "over/under" wins totals?

The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox have staggered out of the starting gate at 2-7 - that's the worst record in the American League and only National Leaguers Cincinnati and the Chicago Cubs are worse (see 1-6 each) - and keep in mind the wins total for the Bosox was 94.5 over 125. Maybe LHP Chris Sale will revive his 90 mph fastball and perhaps the Sox can improve on that hideous -26 total in the runs differential category but you're gonna need a couple of lengthy winning streaks to stay in it providing you do have the "over".

And what about if you have "under" with the other team that played in last year's World Series - the Los Angeles Dodgers (6-2)? Maybe you thought LHP Clayton Kershaw would only be good for 20-to-25 starts and so you went under 92.5 wins at - 120. Well, it's likely you didn't foresee all these runs - 65 runs scored is tops in the big leagues so far - from a lineup that's plenty healthy and starring Cody Bellinger (six home runs with 16 RBI). "Under" players shouldn't panic yet with this Dodgers' start but perhaps the NL West is one of the weakest divisions in the bigs ... so you might want to panic sooner than later.


NFL
The NFL schedule releases are right around the corner and among the potential Week 1 games include the Pittsburgh Steelers at the now RB Le'Veon Bell-led New York Jets and how about a potential Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals duel that would pit former Oklahoma QBs /Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield against Kyler Murray - both would be major must-watch TV duels and we already know it's the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in the season-opening Thursday night game that won't be starring the previous year's Super Bowl champ. Hey, how about Tom Brady and the champion New England Patriots hosting either Dallas or Philadelphia on that Sunday Night opener. The question here is how Las Vegas and the gambling world see the likes of the Cardinals (assuming they do draft QB Murray) and the Jets who could actually be a bit overpriced with the new expectations. Stay tuned ...

Finally, we'll have loads of NFL Draft coverage in the coming days/weeks here at Jim Sez, so don't miss out plus we'll feature our annual NFL Mock Draft (the NFL Draft is set for April 25-thru-27).

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