UConn Leads Unlikely Cast At 2023 Final Four

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Each week, our “What’s on Tap” series previews the week ahead in the world of sports betting. Come here for a summary of upcoming financial happenings, legislative and regulatory meetings, industry conferences, top games scheduled for the week, and much more. Also, check out our weekly review “Get a Grip” for a look back at last week’s notable news.

Monday, March 27

Lamar on the block as NFL owners meetings begin?

As NFL owners convened in Arizona for the league’s annual owners meetings, Lamar Jackson announced Monday that he had requested a trade from the Ravens earlier this month.

Jackson’s departure from Baltimore could trigger a lengthy rebuild for John Harbaugh’s team. Since winning the Super Bowl in 2013, the Ravens have not returned to the AFC Championship Game. With odds of +2500 at BetMGM to win the Super Bowl, the Ravens are still among the upper third throughout the NFL to capture the Lombardi Trophy.

PointsBet immediately swung into action on Monday with a market on Jackson’s next team. The Colts are the favorite at +225 to land Jackson, followed by the Patriots and Falcons at +450 and +600, respectively. The possible acquisition of Jackson by the Patriots may provide Bill Belichick with one final chance to win the Super Bowl before he retires.

Two other teams to watch are the Dolphins at +1000 and the 49ers at +1500. Jackson, a native of Boynton Beach, Florida, has hinted that he’d like to take his talents to South Florida in a possible return to the state of his birth. The acquisition of Jackson may require the Dolphins to unload Tua Tagovailoa. The Niners, meanwhile, have odds of +900 to win the Super Bowl, remaining as co-favorites with the Eagles to capture the NFC title.

Wednesday, March 29

LeBron, Lakers begin key five-game road trip

LeBron James returned to the lineup Sunday after a monthlong absence with a foot injury, but the Bulls spoiled his return with a 118-108 win in Los Angeles. The teams meet again on Wednesday in Chicago as the Lakers begin a critical five-game road swing.

James will face the Bulls, Timberwolves, Rockets, Jazz, and Clippers on the trip. Next week, a playoff spot could be on the line when the Lakers host the Suns in their penultimate game of the regular season.

The Lakers entered Monday with a 37-38 record, one game ahead of Dallas for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. At DraftKings, the Lakers have odds of -180 to make the playoffs, with odds of +145 to miss the postseason. The bet will lose if the Lakers qualify for the play-in round and are eliminated at that stage. The Mavericks, who acquired All-Star guard Kyrie Irving near the trade deadline, are 60/1 to win the NBA title. Mavericks coach Jason Kidd lit into his team after Friday’s loss to Charlotte, their sixth defeat in eight games.

Thursday, March 30

Judge faces hometown Giants on MLB Opening Day

Don’t blame the MLB schedule makers for having a sense of humor. After setting a Yankees franchise record for home runs in 2022, Aaron Judge signed a nine-year, $360 million contract to return to the Bronx. The lucrative deal gave Judge the highest annual salary for any position player in MLB history.

In returning to the Yankees, Judge, a California native, snubbed the Giants, who reportedly offered him the same amount to move to the Bay Area. The bidding war forced the Yankees to spend $150 million more than they reportedly proposed months earlier. The teams will open the MLB regular season on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have odds of +700 at Barstool Sportsbook to win the World Series, the co-second choice with the Dodgers. The Astros are +625 favorites to repeat as World Series champs despite the early-season absence of Jose Altuve. After suffering a fractured thumb in the World Baseball Classic, Altuve is expected to miss at least two months.

Saturday, April 1

FAU seeks improbable Final Four win

It’s not an April Fools’ joke: Three of the Final Four participants will be making their first trip to the national semifinals on April 1.

Florida Atlantic, which entered the tournament with odds of 300/1 to win it all, advanced to the Final Four last Saturday with a 79-76 win over Kansas State. The Owls on Saturday will face San Diego State, another school making its Final Four debut. The Aztecs are a 2-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 131.

Of the four teams, only UConn enters the Final Four as a popular choice to win it all. The Huskies have stormed through the tournament, defeating opponents by an average of 22.5 points. UConn is a 5.5-point favorite over Miami, also making its Final Four appearance. PointsBet has installed UConn as a massive favorite to cut down the nets in Houston, with odds of -125. None of the other three teams has odds below +350.

FanDuel offers an intriguing market that allows bettors to wager on a “national championship exacta.” Prior to Miami’s upset victory over Midwest Region No. 1 Houston on Friday, FanDuel had odds of 170/1 on FAU to defeat the Canes in the national title game. The odds on Monday fell to 16/1 after Miami stormed back from a 12-point second-half deficit to knock out Texas.

National Title Exacta at FanDuel 

  • UConn over San Diego State, +220
  • UConn over FAU, +260
  • San Diego State over UConn, +550
  • FAU over UConn, +750
  • Miami over San Diego State, +950
  • Miami over FAU, +1000
  • San Diego State over Miami, +1100
  • FAU over Miami, +1600

Sunday, April 2

South Carolina eyes coronation in Women’s Final Four

South Carolina needs three more victories to complete a remarkable undefeated season. In advancing to the Elite Eight, Dawn Staley’s team has held all three of its NCAA Tournament opponents under 50 points. South Carolina needs to defeat Maryland in Monday’s Elite Eight in order to have a chance to prevail in Friday’s Final Four and reach Sunday night’s title game.

Every major book in the nation has South Carolina as the heavy favorite to repeat in Dallas. South Carolina opened the tournament with odds of -165, while Iowa (20/1) may provide a roadblock for South Carolina in the Final Four.

Guard Caitlin Clark led the Lady Hawkeyes to the Final Four on Sunday in a historic performance against Louisville. Clark became the first player in an NCAA men’s or women’s tournament game to record a triple-double while scoring at least 40 points.

Have a good week, everyone!


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