This Week in Sports Betting: Champ Week

Has it already been a year? It seems like yesterday we were watching Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins do their thing at the Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Arizona Wildcats ended up winning the title after beating UCLA in the semifinals, but it was already obvious that Ball was a special player. Now he’s with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he’s a consistent jump shot away from being an All-Star.

That’s Champ Week for you. The Division I conference title tournaments are great basketball in and of themselves, but they’re also a great way to get yourself prepared for March Madness. Some of the conferences have already been decided; note how the Michigan State Spartans, like the Bruins last year, fell to the Michigan Wolverines in the semis of the Big Ten tournament. Which other big-name programs are in peril? Arizona (24-7 SU, 11-18-2 ATS) looks ripe for the picking as the No. 1 seed in this year’s Pac-12 tourney; they have the bye into Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they’ll play either the No. 8 Colorado Buffaloes or the No. 9 Arizona State Sun Devils at noon Eastern on the Pac-12 Network.

Ball for All

Speaking of Ball, he and the Lakers (28-35 SU, 35-28 ATS) are on a tear right now. They’re 5-1 SU and ATS since the All-Star break as we go to press, with Ball returning to action after missing over a month with a sore knee. And that jump shot is starting to look good, too; Ball has shot 50.0 percent from the field since his return, up from 35.6 percent before the break. The impending Lakers dynasty hasn’t started yet, though. They were sellers at the trade deadline, taking on Isaiah Thomas (minus-4.2 BPM) and sending Larry Nance Jr. (plus-3.7 BPM) to the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to secure a first-round pick this summer. But at least Thomas has been a positive contributor for the Lakers on offense (plus-0.8 BPM), and they won’t have to worry about Jordan Clarkson (minus-1.2 BPM) anymore after shipping him to Cleveland. Conveniently enough, Los Angeles will host the Cavaliers (37-26 SU, 20-42-1 ATS) this Sunday at Staples Center, tipping off at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Circle this game for your NBA picks this weekend.

Put the Biscuit in the Basket

Speaking of Los Angeles, it’s about time the Kings (36-25-5) started winning some hockey games. They have the fourth-best goal differential in the entire Western Conference at plus-27, but they’re only fourth in the Pacific Division at press time, and wouldn’t even make the playoffs if they began today. Hardly seems fair.

Good thing L.A. has another 16 games to make up for lost time. They’ve won six of their last nine, putting them 4.29 units in the black at 36-30 against the puck line. And they’ve got a winnable game coming up this Saturday at Staples against the 35-26-5 St. Louis Blues (35-31 ATS, minus-2.58 units), who have a goal differential of plus-4 and just one victory in their last nine games. Game time is 4:00 p.m. Eastern with regional Fox Sports coverage for both teams.

Before we go, we have to tell you about Saturday’s big boxing match in nearby Carson, California. The WBO featherweight title will be on the line when champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) squares off against challenger Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs). It’s being hyped as a potential Fight of the Year candidate, and it looks like the odds are starting to edge towards Quigg at around +285 after the early action was on Valdez. ESPN has the coverage at 10:30 p.m. Eastern; bet appropriately, and may the squared circle be with you.

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.