College Basketball Betting: Buckeyes, Spartans Likely Set For Rematch In Big Ten Tournament


NCAA Basketball PicksAs if the state of Indiana isn’t home to enough sports betting news this week, it will also be the host of this year’s Big Ten title tournament as the top teams in the conference go head-to-head at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It appeared as though the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans were deserving of the top seed in the conference until they blew the opportunity to close out the Big Ten season schedule with a home win over the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes, leaving them in a three-way tie for top spot with the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines completing the trio at 13-5 in conference play. While the battle to be called the best in the Big Ten will be the biggest focus when the tournament gets underway, the Northwestern Wildcats will also attract attention as a bubble team looking to make the March Madness picks tournament.

After all, the Wildcats are the only BCS conference team that has never reached the NCAA title tournament, and they are right there knocking on the door this season. Northwestern didn’t help its own cause with a pair of overtime losses to Michigan that also allowed the Wolverines to climb in to the picture at the top of the conference, and will now need at least two wins to have a chance at the big dance. The Wildcats will open with a game against Minnesota, and ironically, the Wolverines waiting for them in the next round. Earning another shot at Michigan will be the first step for Northwestern, but then they must prove that they can beat them after all.

Even if they get past the Wolverines nobody will expect the Wildcats to deal with an Ohio State team that they lost twice to during the Big Ten season, even though they kept the gap to just two points in the second meeting between the two. The Buckeyes have to be considered the favorite in the tournament with their win over the Spartans and the fact that Michigan State will be without one of its top players in Branden Dawson, who will be out with a knee injury. The freshman forward brought considerable toughness to the Spartans’ lineup and helped open space for his teammates on the floor, and there is no doubt that he will be missed in tournament play. The Spartans aren’t a lock for one of the top seeds if they don’t reach the final, although playing on the opposite side of the sportsbook reviews bracket where they won’t have to face the Wolverines and Buckeyes should help.

The wild card heading in to the tournament is Michigan, which needed overtime in both of its wins over Northwestern, and lost by at least 10 points to both Michigan State and Ohio State despite finding a way to also beat each of those teams once. The Wolverines are not as talented as the top contenders they will play, and despite a good run it is unlikely they will make very much noise in the Big Ten title tournament picks, with a potential final between the Buckeyes and Spartans the most likely conclusion.

NHL Game Preview for Sunday March 11, 2012: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals


Gambling PicksSports Betting Overview

Some of the best games of the NHL season are played between two teams each involved in a desperate attempt to keep its playoff hopes alive. While many people in the sports world are getting ready for betting March Madness games, the hockey fans in Washington keep waiting for the Capitals to make that playoff push. The Capitals fell out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference right around the NHL trade deadline 2012 and have not been able to get back into the race since. The Capitals have had plenty of chances to get back into the top eight, but it continues to lose close games and is unable to close out leads late in games. This may be the first season in a long time where the Washington Capitals are not considered a contender for the Stanley Cup.

The Toronto Maple Leafs spent the first half of the NHL season kicking around the top four and five spots of the Eastern Conference. Confidence in Toronto was high and the fans felt that their playoff expectations would finally be reached. But around the midway point of the season, the Leafs ran into familiar goaltending problems that have dropped Toronto all the way down to 12th in the conference. The Leafs were expecting to be able to lean on goaltender James Reimer for many years to come, but an injury and inconsistent play have caused the Leafs to have to platoon the goaltending duties between Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson. To this point, the platoon system is not working.

Washington Capitals

The price per head bookie experts have not had a great deal of faith in the Capitals all season long and Washington has done nothing to change that. In the 10 games leading up to the beginning of the week, Washington was 4-6-0 and caught in a two-game losing streak. In a typical example of what has been happening to the Capitals all season, Washington had a chance to jump back into eighth place in the conference last Sunday but lost a 1-0 game to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Caps are having a lot of problems winning games that they need, but Washington is one of the better home teams in the NHL with a 21-10-2 record.

Toronto Maple Leafs

It is often said that playing hockey in Toronto, Montreal and New York can be the toughest gigs in the NHL. Goaltender James Reimer can feel the stares of Maple Leaf fans as he steps on to the ice of the Air Canada Centre and it cannot be easy for him. The Leafs in front of Reimer are playing well. But a sportsbook review of the Leafs’ season shows that not all of the blame can be placed on the goaltenders. The Leafs take bad penalties and new head coach Randy Carlyle has pledged to pull the team together and make a run at the playoffs.

The Bottom Line

This will be a fun game to watch as two conference foes square off to battle for two points that both teams desperately need. But the Capitals have a slight edge in this game and will look to exploit it early and often.

Gambling Advisor blog Free Pick: Washington Capitals


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