This Week in Sports Betting: Going for the Gold

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Things are about to get superheated again in the sports betting world. March Madness is just around the corner; so is baseball season. And it won’t be long before both the NBA and NHL are in the playoffs. But for the moment, things are relatively quiet on the odds board, as we shake off the Super Bowl hangover and look forward to the end of winter.

Relatively quiet, but still busy. The Winter Olympics are underway in PyeongChang, South Korea, and as the years go by, these Games draw more and more betting action. No big surprise there. Anyone who still thinks the Olympics are about citius, altius and fortius hasn’t been paying attention. The playoffs in men’s hockey are underway as we speak; the gold medal will be awarded this Sunday, and at press time, it’s the Olympic Athletes of Russia favored at –125 over at Bovada, followed by Sweden at +350 and Canada at +500.

As you may be aware, Olympic Athletes of Russia does not mean Team Russia. Their NOC is under sanctions, but some 169 athletes were allowed to participate anyway, just without their national colors. Too bad they didn’t decide to dress in green. The OAR hockey team is made up entirely of KHL players – that’s the Kontinental Hockey League, which took an Olympic break while the NHL and most European leagues did not. It won’t be another Miracle on Ice if anyone beats the OAR; Slovakia already beat them 3-2 in Group B. But this faux team has a big built-in advantage over the rest of the field, and if you think the Russian government isn’t still doing what it can to help out (ahem), once again, you haven’t been paying attention.

No More Easy Money

Back on this side of the pond, the NBA is about to return from a well-deserved week off for the All-Star Game. Savvy bettors have made a mint fading the Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22 SU, 18-37-1 ATS) this year, but the Cavaliers may have turned off the taps when they made all those moves at the trade deadline. They’re 3-0 SU and ATS since clearing out the deadwood and bringing in George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson to play alongside LeBron James.

Cleveland’s first game after the break is Thursday at home against the Washington Wizards (33-24 SU, 27-30 ATS), who have kept their ship afloat despite losing point guard John Wall to knee surgery. The Wiz are 7-2 SU and ATS since Wall returned to the injured list, but they’ll have a bit more trouble getting past Cleveland if back-up PG Tim Frazier doesn’t make it back from nasal surgery in time for Thursday’s game.

Time’s Up for Sparty

On the college hoops front, we’re down to the last handful of games before Champ Week, and all eyes are on the Michigan State Spartans – for mixed reasons, unfortunately. While the Spartans (26-3 SU, 14-13-2 ATS) have taken over the No. 1 spot on the coaches poll, their program has now fallen into the wider sexual misconduct investigation in East Lansing, and these guys already having trouble beating the NCAAB odds at 1-5-2 ATS in their last eight games.

Finally, we’ve got another busy weekend coming up in combat sports. There’s a very interesting WBC super flyweight title fight coming up this Saturday between champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and challenger Juan Francisco Estrada; Sor Rungvisai is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but he’s available at +100 for this matchup. And in the Octagon, it’ll be Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens (–160) in the main event at Saturday’s UFC on Fox 26 card in Orlando. Always tons of betting value with these smaller UFC events, so don’t miss out – and remember to tuck your chin.

Written by Clay Travis

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.