Sep 14, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander (25) looks on against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks for March 26, 2023
With two spots in the Final Four already taken, two more are up for grabs in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchups. Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks of the day cover these games and look ahead to a baseball futures bet oozing with value.
1:20 p.m. CT: Elite Eight: No. 6-seed Creighton vs. No. 5-seed San Diego State
The Pick: San Diego State +2.5 (-114) at FanDuel
Creighton and San Diego State will battle in the South Region’s final game on Sunday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, and I’ll be backing the underdog Aztecs to get the job done and head to Houston. San Diego State plays a bruising, physical style of basketball, relying on its defense to control the tempo and grind out wins. The Aztecs will benefit from having played Alabama in the Sweet 16, a fast-paced team that shoots the ball well and often from beyond the 3-point arc. If anything, the Creighton Bluejays are a lite version of the Crimson Tide – and after watching San Diego State’s dismantling of Alabama, I’m seeing a similar script on Sunday. The Aztecs are second-best in the country at defending 3-point shots, and fourth in defensive efficiency overall. While Creighton’s run to the Elite Eight has been impressive in its own right, the Bluejays haven’t seen anything like San Diego State. Princeton, Baylor, and N.C. State are all offensive-minded teams, each ranking lower than 80th nationally in defensive efficiency. San Diego State is built to beat teams like Creighton, and I think they’ll bully their way to the Final Four Sunday afternoon.
4:05 p.m. CT: No. 5-seed Miami vs. No. 2-seed Texas
The Pick: Miami +4 (-110) at DraftKings
At some point, we really ought to drop the conference-based narratives and acknowledge that Miami is one of the best teams in the country, and has been all season. Is it really huge news that a 28-7 team that finished 15-5 in the ACC and won the conference’s regular season title is excellent? All season, people who talk about college hoops for a living have talked down on the ACC while lifting up the Big 12 and others as much better leagues. At some level, it makes sense – the ACC had some disturbing results in non-conference games before Jan. 1, and the bottom of the conference was horrendous. At some point, though, we have to acknowledge some of what went on after the new year began. The ACC remains a conference full of talented players, and Miami dominated it all season. The Hurricanes were a No. 5-seed because of the failures of teams like Louisville and Florida State, and that is looking more and more like a lapse in judgment by the NCAA Tournament committee. For sports bettors, this misstep provides opportunity. Put simply, I do not see a ton of separation between Miami and Texas – and given the phenomenal coaching pedigree of Jim Larranaga, I’m expecting a thoroughly prepared Miami team that will give the Longhorns all they can handle. Miami’s guards and wings can really defend, and the Hurricanes just showcased their offensive explosiveness by putting up 89 points on Houston. Without Dylan Disu, a significant portion of Texas’ size advantage disappears as well – give me the Canes with some points in what should be a fun matchup.
MLB Futures Pick: Anthony Santander (Orioles) UNDER 89.5 RBIs (-125 at DraftKings)
As a general rule, it is better to target unders on full-season player prop bets. There is always a chance that a player misses time due to injury, and most public bettors prefer to bet on their favorite players to go over, not under, statistical milestones. Those factors work in our favor on what is clearly an inflated line here, but this is about more than just fading the public and acknowledging the possibility of an injury to Santander. This is also about the fact that in order for Anthony Santander to go over this number, he would have to set a new career-high in RBIs. Santander drove in 89 runs last season, a campaign that saw him also post career-highs in plate appearances, at-bats, and home runs. Generally speaking, outlier seasons like what Santander had last year are more likely to regress to the player’s mean averages in the following season than they are to continue to trend further from the player’s established norms. Throughout his career, Anthony Santander averages 88 RBIs per 162 games played – but even if fully healthy, he’ll probably only play 140-150 games this season when we factor in planned days off. This number should be closer to 80, if not lower. Let’s take advantage of it.