The weather is beginning to warm up and baseball season is finally here. Soon enough, it will be summer.
But for now, it’s still March and the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments are down to the Final Four. Both big dances are headed to their epic conclusions this weekend. Who will be crowned national champions?
In today’s Winners Club you’ll find:
- Opening Day best bets
- World Series futures odds
- Men’s, women’s Final Four spreads
- Ravens Super Bowl odds shift
- Pre-draft dynasty rookie rankings
Astros Favored to Repeat as MLB Season Begins
All 30 MLB teams are in action Thursday for Opening Day. And this year, there are new rules.
There’s a strict pitch clock in place. The bases will be bigger. And the shift has been banned.
Ideally, this means quicker games with more hits and more steals.
However, the introduction of the pitch clock could also have a negative impact on live betting in baseball, Jen Piacenti writes.
“As a bettor, it’s important to bear in mind these changes when betting on the outcome of the next pitch or an at-bat, especially across the first few weeks of the season as the players — and fans — will be getting used to the new rules.”
With that in mind, Piacenti shared three Opening Day best bets for Giants-Yankees, Guardians-Mariners and White Sox-Astros.
Shohei Ohtani +200
Aaron Judge +500
Mike Trout +650
Juan Soto +550
Mookie Betts +900
Ronald Acuña +900
Men’s, Women’s March Madness Down to Final Four
March is winding down and the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament fields have been whittled down to four teams.
There are No. 1 seeds left in the men’s bracket. Only one team, No. 4 UConn, has won a title before and the Huskies are the favorites. But if the winner is No. 9 FAU, No. 5 San Diego State or No. 5 Miami—all of which are in the Final Four for the first time—there will be a first-time champion.
Pat Forde and Kevin Sweeney shared their predictions for how it will all unfold.
As for the women’s bracket, it’s largely chalk. A pair of No. 1 seeds, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, are still standing and then there’s No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 LSU, both led by stars who have been tearing it up all tournament long.
Saturday, April 1: Men’s Final Four Schedule and Spreads
Friday, March 31: Women’s Final Four Schedule and Spreads
Super Bowl Odds Shift After Lamar’s Trade Request
MVP-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson has requested a trade from the Ravens… about four weeks ago. He shared on Twitter earlier this week that he asked out of Baltimore March 2, before the team placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him March 7.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated that he believes Jackson, who has yet to sign the team’s non-exclusive tender, will remain the Ravens’ signal-caller next season.
The sportsbooks don’t seem so sure.
Baltimore’s Super Bowl odds have dropped from +1800 to +2500, tied for ninth with the Lions, Dolphins and Jaguars. Keep an eye on the futures markets in the weeks ahead for a hint at where Jackson could land if he indeed leaves Maryland.
Conor Orr came up with five landing spots for Jackson, starting with him staying put.
It’s nearly April, which means Michael Fabiano is in NFL draft mode.
He came up with a first-round mock draft in a hypothetical world where teams only care about fantasy football. Four quarterbacks go in the top five picks, which doesn’t seem that far off from how things might unfold, but quite a few receivers get bumps and running back Bijan Robinson sneaks into the top 10.
So much of a rookie’s success depends on their landing spot, so these rankings are of course subject to change once players are picked, but Fabiano also ranked the top 30 rookies based on skill alone heading into the draft and broke down his top 10 rookies for all the dynasty managers out there.
In Other News
Nuggets, Celtics Move up in NBA Power Rankings: Boston and Denver stabilized last week and accordingly moved back up while the 76ers struggled. With less than two weeks left in the regular season, the Bucks remain atop the league.
Two Groups Submit Bids to Buy Commanders: The Josh Harris/Mitchell Rales group and Steve Apostolopoulos both reportedly submitted bids that hit the desired $6 billion threshold sought by Washington owner Dan Snyder.
Basketball Hall of Fame Class Revealed: Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Gregg Popovich and Becky Hammon are among the group being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The inductees will be announced at the men’s Final Four on Saturday.
Thanks for reading Winners Club! Enjoy Opening Day—I’ll be back in your inbox Friday.