This Week in Sports Betting: They Call It Madness

The wait is finally over. March Madness is here; the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament began on Tuesday with the first of the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio. This is obviously the biggest thing in sports betting right now. We’ve got dedicated March Madness coverage at Sportsbook Review, so make sure to check it out. In the meantime, it looks like the Arizona Wildcats are pulling in more money than anyone else, even though they’re the No. 4 seed in the South Region – and an unprofitable team thus far at 27-7 SU and 14-18-2 ATS.

While the Big Dance is understandably hogging the spotlight, there are other, lesser tournaments for your college basketball betting pleasure. The 2018 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) also got underway Tuesday; the 32-team field includes the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Louisville Cardinals, and just about everyone from the Pac-12 who didn’t get a March Madness invitation. Watch out as well for betting lines on the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), and maybe even the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).

NBA Cares – About Tanking

Oh yeah, there’s also the NBA. The drive towards the playoffs has begun, and it’s a logjam in league standings once you get past the four teams who have already qualified for the postseason. In the Western Conference, the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets have punched their playoff tickets; in the East, the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics have joined the fray. You’ll find odds for all four teams on our NBA betting futures page.

There’s another heated race happening in the NBA right now: the race to the bottom of the standings. At press time, there are seven teams with between 18 and 21 wins, and almost all of them have been eliminated from the playoffs, so it’s time once again for the annual tank parade. Pay close attention to the teams who are trying their best to improve their lottery chances at the NBA Draft – teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, who have dropped 18 in a row at 6-12 ATS.

Ice Is Nice

Tanking isn’t nearly as prevalent in the NHL, although they do offer struggling teams a perverse incentive to lose with their own version of the draft lottery. Instead, we get to watch a white-hot battle for the postseason, with just a dozen or so games left to go before the Stanley Cup playoffs. Timing is everything in hockey, and the hottest commodities right now happen to be the top teams from either conference: the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East, and the Nashville Predators in the West. Each team has won nine of its last 10 games as we go to press, and go figure, they’re the top two favorites on the NHL futures market at Bovada, with Tampa Bay at +450 and Nashville at +500.

After taking last week off, the UFC returns to the Octagon this Saturday for Fight Night 127 at the O2 Arena in London. The Heavyweight title will be on the line in the main event, as Fabricio Werdum defends against former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov. Werdum is favored at –190 on the UFC odds board, but it looks like Volkov has enjoyed most of the early support, moving from +185 to +165 since the lines opened last month.

Don’t forget about local hero Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz representing the Light Heavyweight division in the co-main event of Fight Night 127. Manuwa won their first encounter by unanimous decision back in 2015, in front of a pro-Blachowicz crowd in Poland, no less. After heading into that fight as a –140 favorite, Manuwa has improved to –200 for the rematch on his home turf. May the better man win.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.