23 - 29, 2017
IN THE ISSUE
IN THE ISSUE
3 The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
4 Greg Dempson
5-6 Wine and Whining
7 Kyle’s Picks
8 Improv for Business
9 NHL Analysis and Picks
10 Futures Foray
11 Handicapping Talk
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
THE GOOD, THE BAD
AND THE UGLY
The Sweet Sixteen is set...
your bracket is busted...
Duke is gone (freeing
up all that hate to be directed
elsewhere)...ah, is it Thursday
It was a pretty wild weekend
of upsets last week to get us
here, but we do now have
a healthy mix of the usual
Carolina, etc.), high-seed
contenders (Kansas, Gonzaga,
UCLA, Zona, etc.) and
the obligatory appearance by
Cinderella (Xavier and South
Carolina) squaring off.
Mar. 23 - 29, 2017
For me, I’ll have a few plays
going. Still making final
decisions on a few matchups,
but I did get over some
pretty major trust issues and
let Gonzaga back into my life. I played them pretty early, laying the points, in
their matchup vs. West Virginia. Looking over their non-conference schedule,
this is a battle tested team, who play good defense, create mismatches down
low and are playing a Mountaineer team that while the pressure defense can
be very disruptive, they can go cold offensively.
So I am in on the Bulldogs.
Best of luck with all your Sweet 16 and Elite 8 plays on Saturday and Sunday.
This might sound like a bit of a broken record, as Jason says it often and
so do we here on this page – but be sure you play within your means, take
it easy and don`t force plays just because they happen to be on TV or big
matchups and don`t chase losses. Enjoy the action, but be responsible.
Greg hit his NCAA play last issue,
as he had the Over in the Florida
Gulf Coast vs. Florida State game.
Check out Greg’s hoops’ play this
week on Page 4.
Neil had a nice weekend on the EPL
fixtures, booking a nice profit on a
two for three run. This week the EPL
is dark, making way for international
friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.
Neil has three plays from these
matches. You can check them out
on page 6.
Jason Holliday gave out his first
March Madness play, along with his
handicapping tips article. He liked
the Princeton Tigers getting seven
points, which was a winner. Jason
has another play and more tips this
week in his column. You can check
that out on page 11.
A bit of a tough week for Kyle with
his NCAA picks, as he ended up 1-3
ATS with his plays. That takes his
overall college hoops picks since
joining the team to 5-5 ATS. This
week Kyle has plays from the Sweet
Sixteen matchups. You can check
them out on page 7.
Have a great week.
by Greg Dempson
SWEET 16 PICK - BRUINS
The Ball tips at 9:35 ET at the
FedEx Forum in Memphis
Tennessee. The Wildcats had
their 42 game home winning streak
snapped this season as the Bruins
knocked off Kentucky, (97-92,) on
December 3. In the 2015 campaign
the Bruins took care of business at
home vs. Kentucky, (97-87,) as 6.5
point dogs. To be sure, it is tough
to defeat coach Calipari twice in the
same season but it is my belief that
UCLA has the weapons to take care
of business once again. In that December
mat the Bruins had six players
score double-digits while shooting
53% from the field vs. only 41.2% for
the Wildcats. UCLA boasts perhaps
the number one lottery pick in freshman
Lonzo Ball who has a support
group that features7.0 junior player
Welsh who averages 10.8 PPG while
increasing his scoring in their two
tournament games netting 27 points.
The Bruins had a combine 47 assists
vs. the Bearcats and Kent State vs.
9 turnovers. The Bruins have a high
octane offense and led the nation in
scoring averaging 90.3 PPG, field
goal percentage at 51.9% plus assists
at 21.5 per game as well as assists to
turnover ratio. They were no slouches
on defense either holding opponents
to a 42% “success” rate in field goals.
Kentucky barely escape the Shockers
of Wichita State, (93-90.) Kentucky has
won 13 in a row with their last loss on
February 4 at Florida, (88-66.) Of those
last 14 the Wildcats went 5-8-1 ATS.
• From game 16 out this season
Kentucky is 4-13 ATS vs. good ball
handling teams that commit 14 or
less turnovers per game.
• The Bruins are 10-02 ATS in their
last 12 non conference games.
• The Wildcats are 1-4-1 ATS in their
last six tournament games.
• UCLA went 15-03 straight up in
road/neutral site games this season
and this game is basically at pick.
• Kentucky is 0-3-2 ATS as a favorite
of 6.5 or less in their last five tournament
• Bruins coach Alford/Team is 37-
19 ATS and +16.10-units in road
games after playing 5 consecutive
games as favorite.
• Wildcats coach Calipari/Team is
26-49 ATS and -27.90-units) after
allowing 25 points or less in the first
half last game.
• UCLA’s coach Alford/Team is
+18.30-units after two consecutive
wins by 10 or more points.
• Kentucky’s coach Calipari/Team
is -24.40-units vs. teams who are
called for 17 or less fouls per game.
Putting it in Neutral
• Play on Neutral court teams as a
favorite or pick, (applies to UCLA,)
after two straight games when
committing 11 or less turnovers and
playing against an opponent that’s
off a game committing 8 or less
turnovers. This system is 139-85 =
62% ATS since 1997 with the team
live in this system going 181-49
straight up for a success rate of
For this Friday night match-up I am
backing the UCLA Bruins at -105 on
the money line.
Last week’s NCAA selection won, taking
my basketball record to 4-2-2 ATS
You can receive more picks from Greg
at his site – www.gregdempson.com
WINE AND WHINING
by Neil Alexander
That’s a little bit better now. After my 0-3
hiccup from two weeks back, I rebounded
nicely with a two for three day on the
EPL fixtures. I split on my both teams to score
bets. In the West Brom v Arsenal match, both
teams were on the score sheet by the 15th
minute. Crystal Palace v Watford tripped me
up though as Palace won the match 1-0.
They’ve only had two home clean sheets prior
to this match, and I didn’t think that a third was
in the offing. I backed Bournemouth at home
for my third play at +115, and they won 2-0
over Swansea, thanks in small part to a first
half own goal. This evens the column soccer
record at 9-9; down 1.6 units. It’s nothing to
write home about but heading in a more optimistic
WINE AND WHINING
THE EPL IS ON HIATUS FOR AN
INTERNATIONAL BREAK OF FRIENDLIES
AND WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS.
Le Volte’s first vintage was 1991
Ornellaia, Le Volte, Tuscany 2014;
This is Ornellaia’s entry-level wine,
which although produced in abundance,
is still a quality wine. It’s
categorized as an IGT wine, which
essentially means it doesn’t follow
the strict Italian wine laws of the region.
In this case, 50% of the blend
comprises the local Sangiovese
varietal, and international varietals
are blended to provide some softness
and structure. For this vintage,
it is 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet
The predominant flavors are plum,
cherry, and licorice, with notes
of herbs and spices. It is medium
bodied, with high acidity and a long
finish. The Merlot provides roundness
to the blend while the Cabernet
Sauvignon adds structure. It is a
very approachable wine and flexible
to match with numerous food pairings
such as meat, tomato-based
dishes, and various cheeses.
The EPL is on hiatus for an international
break of friendlies and World
Cup qualifiers. Let’s employ the
same strategy that I rolled out for the
FA Cup, that is half unit bets.
Republic of Ireland v Wales
This is a crucial match as both countries
vie for World Cup qualification.
Ireland leads Group D, two points
ahead of Serbia in second, and four
points more than third-place Wales.
Wales in their past five matches
have 3 draws and a win and a loss,
while Ireland has 4 wins and a draw.
Ireland is in better form, but Wales
has more at stake so I think the net
result is a draw +200.
Romania v Denmark
There isn’t much separating these
two Group E countries, as Denmark
is third in the group with 6 points,
while Romania is in fourth with 5
points. Poland is the class of the
group while Montenegro clings to
the second spot with 7 points. This
feels to me much like the game
above and incidentally, has identical
odds. I’m backing the draw at +200.
Friday 4-team parlay. For the FA
I unleashed a three-teamer that
cashed. In the same spirit, I give you
the World Cup Qualifier 4-teamer.
Turkey, Austria, Italy, and Spain to
win over Finland, Moldova, Albania,
and Israel respectively. This is a recreational
pizza and beer bet at +124.
Good luck and enjoy the International
KENTUCKY GETS ANOTHER
SHOT AT UCLA
by Kyle Clifton
West Virginia vs. Gonzaga
The Bulldogs of Gonzaga take on
West Virginia in a 1 versus 4 seed
showdown in San Jose. Gonzaga has
had their struggles in their first two
games, while West Virginia struggled
vs. Bucknell but dominated Notre
Dame. Everyone in the country by
now knows what you are getting into
when you play West Virginia; that is
pressure defense, full length of the
court. Despite being experienced and
having solid guards, Notre Dame
couldn’t handle the pressure and had
Gonzaga is immensely talented
despite their struggles so far in the
tournament. They are led by stud
guard, Nigel Williams-Goss, and have
five players that average 10 or more
points. They average more than 83
points per game, and are 6th in the
nation with 40.6 rebounds per game.
I believe the big problem for Notre
Dame was that they had just one day
to prepare for the Musketeers. Gonzaga
has had all week, and they have
a great coach. I think they are able
to handle the press at a decent rate.
West Virginia is not a good shooting
team and it they don’t turn you over it
is likely they lose. I’ll take the Zags!
Kyle’s Pick: Gonzaga -2.5
Kentucky vs. UCLA
In a rematch of a game played way
back in early December, Kentucky
takes on UCLA. Kentucky has had a
couple close games this tournament,
while UCLA has won both games
pretty comfortably. The first matchup
between these two teams was an exciting
shootout won by the Bruins, 97
to 92. UCLA made 53% of their shots,
including 10 three pointers. Kentucky
shot rather poorly in the game shooting
just 41% but forced UCLA into
committing 18 turnovers.
This one is a showdown of the freshman
on both sides. Both teams are a
pathetic 1-4 against the spread in their
last five games. Malik Monk hasn’t
even played a decent game on offense
so far this tournament, yet they
are in the Sweet 16. UCLA needs Ball
and Leaf to bring their A game to win.
I think Kentucky limits one of them. I
will take the Wildcats in a thriller.
Kyle’s Pick: Kentucky +1
Butler vs. North Carolina
The Butler Bulldogs are tied for the
biggest underdog of the Sweet 16
slate, as they take on North Carolina
on Friday. The spread is currently
UNC -7.5. Butler has only lost one
game by more than 6 points since
January 14th. North Carolina was
down 5 with about four minutes left
against Arkansas and seemed like
they were going down until they went
on a 12-0 run to finish the game.
UNC definitely has the athleticism
advantage in this game, but Butler
is their classic gritty, tough team that
just doesn’t beat themselves. Butler is
a solid 19-12 ATS this season while
UNC is just 17-16-2. I think the Bulldogs
are very competitive all game
and could even pull off the upset.
Butler and the points!
Kyle’s Pick: Butler +7.5
Aside from being a diehard fan of the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Cubs, Duke Blue
Devils, Green Bay Packers and FC Dallas – Kyle is also a college basketball
handicapper with a proven record of success. You can get more of Kyle’s picks
daily by following him on Twitter @KyleCliffy and checking out his blog
TOOLS AND PERSPECTIVES”
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NHL GAME PICKS AND ANALYSIS
SHARKS GET ANOTHER
SHOT IN BIG
Thursday, March 23rd
Carolina at Montreal
The Habs are in the middle of a nice
homestand, but got tripped up by the
Red Wings a couple of nights ago in
front of the faithful. Admittedly, the
set-up was not ideal for Montreal, as
they were fresh off a pair of wins in a
home-and-home vs. rival Ottawa. It`s
not difficult to see that letdown spot.
However, that doesn`t explain why
their top line has been ice cold the last
couple of weeks (only two goals, both
by Pacioretty, in nine games). Coach
Julien split them up at the end of the
Detroit loss, but expect to see them
back together here.
Carolina have been on a bit of a tear
(for them), but this is still a team with
plenty of weak spots in their lineup.
With the Canadiens coming off that
loss and facing a team they should
feast on if they come to play, and we
trust Julien and the leaders will have
this team ready to go, this sets up as a
good spot to bank a win in regulation
time. The juice to win including OT is
way too high to even go near, but we
will go with Montreal to win in regulation
time, knocking the juice way down.
Take Montreal to win in regulation.
Dallas at Chicago
Clearly the Hawks are the better team
so we won`t go too far into the line
matchups, etc....but let`s just say when
future Hall-of-Famer Marian Hossa is
your third line winger, safe to say you
have a bit more depth than most teams,
and certainly more than the Stars.
Chicago had a rough start in their
last outing, losing on home ice to a
Dalthough they did battle all the way
back, they lost in OT.
Look for a team playing with a lot
more focus and energy from the opening
draw. When you enjoy the kinds
of edges the Hawks do in this one, it
should result in a regulation win.
Take Chicago in regulation time,
wiping away most of the juice.
Friday, March 24th
Tampa Bay at Detroit
The Lightning are still sniffing around
a Wild-Card spot, although when you
lose to teams like the Coyotes, you
make it pretty difficult for backers to
believe you actually care. That said,
we`ll take a shot on them here, but
only if they lost to the Bruins on Thursday
night. It`s not an ideal set-up even
then, but the Bolts should be able to
handle the Red Wings if the setup
comes together for us.
LAST WEEK’S RECORD:
(we bailed on you, sorry about that)
completely depleted Canucks lineup.
Crawford was bad in the crease
and his mates came out looking like
they were thinking it was going to be
stat night for everyone (racking up
some easy points). Not so fast. And
San Jose at Dallas
Revenge is a dish best served lukewarm
(or something like that). Dallas
clipped the Sharks 1-0 earlier this week
right here in Big D. A quick turnaround
and here we are again. We like the
Sharks in this one. The number will be
manageable and the Stars should be
as well. San Jose are struggling a little
right now, but watching their games,
they`re still creating chances and getting
pucks to the net. The results just
haven`t been there. But if they play like
they did the last time these two met,
they should win. They carried the play,
had the better chances and were the
better team, but didn`t get the win.
We like the Sharks
have the guards
to make them a
NCAA BASKETBALL FUTURES
NCAA Tournament Futures
Let’s take a final look at the NCAA Tournament
futures. We are down to 16 teams, but among
them, we see many pretenders and only a couple
We are typically reluctant to recommend chalk,
but in this case, it is deserved. After the first
four days of action Kansas has emerged as our
favorite, and the books’ favs to win it all. They’ve
got it all. A future NBA guard in Frank Mason,
length, a great perimeter game, equally great in
transition and a great coach. The current average
price for the Jayhawks to cut down the nets
is about +475.
If you’re seeking some longer odds there are two
other teams that have an outside shot in our opinion.
We can get behind Arizona at +650 and Wisconsin
at +1800. We like both teams based on
both how they’ve looked and also their remaining
path out of their respective brackets and into the
final four, where anything can happen.
Let’s take a look at the line moves from some
recent Futures Foray recommendations.
NHL Atlantic Division
Three weeks ago we suggested you take a shot
at Ottawa to win the Atlantic. At the time they
were +400. Montreal is still favored at -200,
however, Ottawa’s odds have since shrunk to
+150. We still like our initial recommendation,
but only at +400. It’s a stay away at +150.
NBA Western Conference
Once Durant went down with his injury we
suggested that you take a look at San Antonio
to win the West. It was looking like pure gold up
until about a week ago when the Spurs actually
took over the first spot. They’ve slipped a little
since then, but we still like our initial recommendation
when they were 4-1. Their current
odds are +260, so if you got in early, you got
the best number.
SWEET SIXTEEN TIPS AND PICK
by Jason Holliday
“How ya like them apples!!!!”
The text hit mere seconds after the
final buzzer in the Michigan - Louisville
game. It was quickly followed by four
more texts, each one increasingly
vulgar...too vulgar to print.
The digital assault was courtesy one
of my close friends, a Michigan alum
and a rather vociferous one at that
(he’s almost as obnoxious as our
Notre Dame buddy - but both pale
when compared to the smugness of
our buddy who went to Duke - and
he didn’t even graduate a Blue Devil,
getting kicked down the interstate
to finish up as a Seminole - I can
only imagine the condescension and
arrogance if he had a Duke degree
hanging in the office).
But Michigan buddy was hitting me up
as I had said I don’t think they have
the depth to get by Louisville, and that
if their offense goes a little cold, they’ll
have real difficulty recovering. I didn’t
suggest a bet on Louisville, but I did
think they would go through. Big congrats
to the Wolverines and their fans
and congrats to anyone if your team
made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Pretty
exciting weekend ahead for you.
Over the last few weeks I’ve given
out tips on what to look for in the
teams you’re backing, or going
against and while we have now seen
a couple of games from the final
16 teams, and have more data and
subjective factors to work with in
handicapping, I do still always stick to
some of the basics that were highlighted
in those previous columns.
Still give weight to teams that can hit
their free throws, are good at reducing
the scoring efficiency per possession
of their opponent, and grab rebounds,
limiting second chances for their opponent
and giving them extra shots.
A few points that standout for me
heading into the next round are:
• Speaking of defensive deficiency,
sorry Greg (U of M buddy), but they
allowed 1.11 points per possession
against Louisville. They’re a very
good offense, but they need to be
as defensively it can get ugly.
• The Tar Heels can struggle on
the offensive boards. If there guys
aren’t hitting their shots, this could
• UCLA can score, no question. But
defense and rebounding are issues.
There’s uncontested buckets to
be had for their opponents and a
rather diminutive Kent State team
schooled them on the boards in that
opener. Now that the competition
level has jumped way up, these
weaknesses could come back to
• You don’t want to rely on Gonzaga
to hit free throws to cover for you.
They’re not so good from the stripe.
• The Gamecocks are great defensively.
Love that part of their game.
As good as they are on that side is
about as bad as they can go on the
Sweet Sixteen Play:
Had a winner last week with my first
tournament pick, playing Princeton
plus the points.
This week, I like the Boilermakers.
This is a deep team who can spread
the scoring around and handle the
challenge Kansas’ Mason and Jackson
Taking Purdue +4.
March Madness Picks: 1-0 ATS
The Boilermakers get big, bad Kansas in the Sweet 16.
THE TAR HEELS CAN
STRUGGLE ON THE
OFFENSIVE BOARDS. IF
THERE GUYS AREN’T
SHOTS, THIS COULD