Heading into Memorial Day weekend, there are only a handful of teams remaining in the NBA and NHL Playoffs. The NBA is just one game away from having an NBA Finals matchup set, while there will soon be just four teams left in the NHL.
This is always the time of year when both leagues are deep into the playoffs, and that makes for an exciting time. The future betting odds in each league have been changing since the postseason began, and they will continue to change as teams are eliminated.
Here is a look at the up to the minute betting odds to win each championship.
Warriors Waiting on Opponent
The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals, their sixth appearance in the last eight years. This is the best run of NBA dominance since Michael Jordan, and the Bulls controlled the league in the 1990s.
Golden State is the clear betting favorite to win the NBA Finals this year, as they have odds set at -195. The Warriors entered the season as one of the favorites, but they have clearly jumped to the top of the list.
The Warriors still don’t have an NBA Finals opponent yet, though, as the Eastern Conference Finals still has one final game to play. The Miami Heat will host the Boston Celtics for Game 7, and the winner will head to Golden State.
Miami is currently listed at +600 to win the NBA Championship, while Boston is ahead of them at +300. The winner of Game 7 will have different odds before the NBA Finals are set to begin.
The Game 7 matchup has the Boston Celtics as 2.5-point road favorites over the Miami Heat on Sunday. Miami was able to stave off elimination on Friday night with a dominant performance in Boston.
The NBA Finals are set to begin on June 2, and a champion will be crowned by June 19 at the latest.
Avalanche Favored in NHL
There are still five teams remaining in the NHL Playoffs entering Saturday, but that number could be reduced to four later that night. The Carolina Hurricanes can punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals with another win over the New York Rangers.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are already in the Eastern Conference Finals, and that’s a place that is familiar to them. Tampa Bay has won two straight Stanley Cup titles, and the Lightning are starting to look like betting favorites to win it again.
The Lightning now have future betting odds of +250 to win the Stanley Cup, and those odds have changed significantly since the postseason began. Carolina (+450) and New York (+2400) will have their odds set after one team is able to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Western Conference Finals will feature the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers in what should be an absolute showdown. This series will feature two of the best offensive teams in the NHL, and there could be plenty of goals scored in this matchup.
It will also be a matchup of Nathan MacKinnon against Connor McDavid, who are two of the best players in the league. Colorado has cruised to the playoffs up to this point, and Edmonton just stunned the Calgary Flames in their most recent series.
The Avalanche are the current betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup, with odds set at +125. Edmonton isn’t too far behind at +550, and those odds will shift dramatically depending on what happens in the first few days.
Keep up with your latest NHL news coverage and sports betting previews at SportsGambling.US.
The 2022 MLB season is off to a fast start as we are already six weeks into the year. Even though there were some issues during the offseason, things have gotten back to normal as teams are back on the field.
The World Series might seem like a long way away, but it will sneak up on you before you know it. Now is a great time to make a futures bet on the eventual World Series champion, especially if you find odds that are favorable.
The World Series betting odds have been changing since the start of the season, and that will continue as the year goes on. Here is a look at the updated 2022 World Series betting odds for a team in MLB.
Dodgers Still Reign Supreme
While the World Series betting odds have changed considerably for some teams, that just isn’t the case with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were the preseason betting favorite entering the year, and they remain in that position today.
Not only are the Dodgers the favorites, but they have widened the gap a bit since the season began. Los Angeles now has betting odds set at +450, and they have gotten off to a great start in the 2022 season.
The Dodgers do have some challengers in the NL West Division, but they won’t be a fun team to deal with in the postseason.
Loaded Group of Contenders
Baseball is a funny game, and the betting favorites don’t always come away with the title. With that in mind, there is a terrific group of contenders right behind Los Angeles, and they will be looking to make a run in the postseason.
The Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and New York Mets all have odds set at +800 to win the title. The Houston Astros are right behind that group at +1000, and that tame always seems to be in the mix.
Toronto and New York are both in the AL East Division, and that race should be a fun one to follow throughout the regular season. The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox might also be good enough to factor into it at some point.
The New York Mets have been playing terrific baseball to begin the season, and that pitching staff just continues to dominate. Houston looks like it will finally get a challenge in the AL West Division, but the Astros have a team that knows how to turn it on.
Plenty of Underdog Options
The MLB season is long, and it’s way too early to start counting some teams out. There are a number of 2021 playoff teams that haven’t been mentioned yet, and they are all good enough to get back into the postseason.
You are still going to find some terrific teams after the top group and teams that could easily go on to win the title. Here are the odds for some of the teams that will be in playoff contention at least:
Milwaukee Brewers +1300
Atlanta Braves +1500
Chicago White Sox +1500
San Francisco Giants +1500
San Diego Padres +1500
Los Angeles Angels +2000
Tampa Bay Rays +2000
Philadelphia Phillies +2500
Everyone Else +4000 or Higher
The Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves are both at or under the .500 mark through the first six weeks, but they can turn things around in a hurry. Atlanta is the reigning champion, and Chicago is a big favorite to win the AL Central Division.
The state of California is also loaded with terrific teams this year as the Giants, Padres, and Angels are all good enough to be in the mix. The Milwaukee Brewers are often a team that is forgotten about, but they have a pitching staff capable of shutting anyone down.
Keep up with your latest MLB news coverage and sports betting previews at SportsGambling.US.
It’s been a great start to the 2022 NBA Playoffs as there have already been plenty of exciting moments and terrific games. This was to be expected, though, and it’s a trend that should continue throughout the final three rounds of the postseason.
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are the first two teams that punched their ticket to the conference semifinals, and Boston was the only team to sweep a first-round series. There hasn’t been a big upset take place yet, but some of the top seeds are getting challenged more than they were expected to.
The best First Round series up to this point has been the matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Those first five games have all been thrilling contests, and the Grizzlies currently hold a 3-2 series lead.
Of course, the biggest playoff news was the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers missed out on the postseason entirely, and that took a betting favorite away. That also opened the door for some young up-and-coming teams, and that always makes things more exciting.
Nets Swept in Four Games
The biggest news story from the First Round of the NBA Playoffs is that the Brooklyn Nets were the first team eliminated. Brooklyn was the title-betting favorite nearly all season long, and they couldn’t even win a single game in the postseason.
The Nets actually had a chance to win the series opener against the Boston Celtics, but Jayson Tatum won Game 1 at the buzzer. Everything went downhill for the Nets after that, and they weren’t even very competitive at times.
It was a tumultuous season for the Nets, and it was one that saw both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant miss significant time. There was also a trade at the midway point of the season that sent James Harden to Philadelphia and brought Ben Simmons to Brooklyn.
There was hope that Simmons would make his season debut in this series, but that was not the case. This loss leaves the Nets searching for answers heading into what will be an important offseason.
Injuries Continue to Impact Teams
Injuries are always a concern when it comes to the NBA, but several teams have already seen the loss of big stars this postseason. These injuries could ultimately have an impact on the teams that are able to win a championship, but they will definitely impact the results of the First Round.
Devin Booker is currently out of the lineup for the Phoenix Suns, and he is likely to miss the entire First Round. Phoenix is currently up 3-2 over the New Orleans Pelicans, but this series has been tougher than most predicted.
The Miami Heat are now without both Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, and it’s unclear if they will be ready to go in Round 2. Miami was able to get past the Atlanta Hawks in five games, but things get tougher from this point.
Khris Middleton of the Miami Bucks is also out of the lineup with an MCL sprain, and that could hurt the title defense of Milwaukee. The Bucks are up 3-1 over the Chicago Bulls, but they will need Middleton as the playoffs go on.
Odds to Win NBA Championship
The odds to win the NBA Championship have been changing every single night, especially as injuries have impacted what has gone on. Teams are also starting to drop off of the list after being eliminated, and that changes the odds for the entire board.
Here is a look at the 14 teams still remaining in the NBA Playoffs entering Wednesday:
The 2022 NBA playoff picture is almost set, with the final play-in games occurring on Friday evening. The first game will feature the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The second game of the night will showcase the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Clippers.
After these winners are crowned, the final playoff picture will be established, and we will be ready for postseason basketball. If you have not placed any bets yet, you have come to the right place. It’s time to win some money, which means we should place some future bets.
Let’s get into the playoff picture and some of the sports betting picks to make in the future markets.
FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the best places to make some NBA playoff bets. The first market you should look at prior to the initial series is the NBA Finals champion. The NBA Finals market prices are the best they will be at this point in the playoffs.
As we work through the month of games, the juice will get worse. It’s best to take a shot at a few teams early and then adjust your bets down the stretch of the playoffs if needed. If you pick the correct team now that makes it to the Finals, you can also hedge with the other side to guarantee a profit.
The favorite to win the NBA Finals is the Phoenix Suns, and for good reason. This is by far the most talented team in the playoffs, and they are priced at +270 to win the Finals. They are followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, who are seeded third in the Eastern Conference.
Suns vs. Bucks is also the most likely matchup if you want to pick the correct outcome for the Finals on FanDuel. The Celtics are third at +700, which could be the most dangerous team in the tournament.
The Celtics started the year looking like they would not come close to the playoffs. However, they are in striking distance and seeded second in the Eastern Conference. The one issue with their seed is that they will face the Nets, who are picked fourth in the future markets on FanDuel at +850.
This is a tremendous price for the Nets, but they are inconsistent. This is an issue when betting on the Nets because they have been known to break hearts. If Brooklyn plays defense, they are one of the best teams in the league behind Kevin Durant. Yet, defense has not been frequent this season, and they are known for blowing leads.
In the first Play-In game, the Nets had a huge lead over the Cavaliers but allowed Cleveland to crawl back in the game. This made Cavaliers bettors happy at +8.5 because they were able to cover the spread. The other betting favorites I would look at early are the Golden State Warriors at +900 and the Miami Heat at +950.
Underdogs may not win frequently, but if they make a run, it will be very lucrative for your wallet. The Memphis Grizzlies are the first underdog to look at in the NBA Finals. I would take the Grizzlies at +1400 because of their explosiveness.
Ja Morant leads this club, and they have been money as of late for bettors. Another team to keep an eye on is the Philadelphia 76ers at +1400.
The Sixers spiked in the NBA playoffs once they traded for James Harden. He has been a terrific complement to Joel Embiid. He makes this team a legitimate threat in the playoffs. Anything can happen in the NBA playoffs, so make sure you do your research when it comes to betting.
Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Preview
The Atlanta Hawks (43-39, 16-25 away) face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38, 25-16 home) in the NBA playoff play-in tournament for the Eastern Conference eight-seed. The winner of the contest will take on the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Atlanta took three of four from Cleveland during the regular season.
Friday’s contest tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, OH. The Hawks open as a 1.5-point road favorite, and the over-under total is 225.5 points.
What to Know – Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta came into the play-in tournament as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are 7-3 over their last ten games, including a 132-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in the first play-in contest.
The Hawks were third in the division averaging 113.9 points per game behind 47.0% shooting from the field and 37.4% shooting from the 3-point line. On defense, the Hawks allow 112.3 points per game, 46.9% shooting from the floor and 36% from deep.
In Wednesday’s victory over the Hornets, six Hawks scored in double-figures, led by star guard Trae Young with 24 points. De’Andre Hunter added 22, and Clint Capela added 15 points and 17 rebounds. In the victory, Atlanta shot 52.1% from the field and hit 16-of-32 shots from the arc.
As favorites, Atlanta is 6-0 against the spread in their last six games and 5-1 ATS over its previous six, playing with one day of rest.
What to Know – Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers enter the final play-in game after losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. Cleveland entered the postseason after an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 3-7 over their last ten games.
Cleveland is 12th in the conference scoring 107.8 points per game thanks to 46.9% shooting from the field and 35.5% shooting beyond the arc. The Cavaliers’ defense limits opponents to 105.8 points per game, 45.3% shooting from the floor and 35.2% from three.
Darius Garland paced the Cavaliers in their 115-108 defeat to the Net on Tuesday. Evan Mobley poured in 19 points, and Kevin Love came off the bench to chip in 14. The Cavaliers hit 44.6% of their shots from the floor and 34.6% from the 3-point line.
Cleveland is 0-4 ATS over their last four games playing on multiple days of rest and 0-4 ATS in games at home against teams with a winning record.
The Pick is In
The Hawks and Cavaliers meet up with a trip to the first round of the playoffs on the line. Fortunately for the Hawks, Atlanta had the Cavs’ number during the regular season, winning three in a row, including a 131-107 triumph at the end of March. Atlanta’s Trae Young is the equalizer in this one, willing the Hawks to a road win over the Cleveland and punching their ticket to the next round.
It was another wild and unpredictable run in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, but things started to straighten back out in the Elite Eight. The Final Four field is set, and it’s four college basketball blue bloods that are ready to play.
All four of the programs left standing are past champions, and each team plays in a great college basketball conference. The two Final Four games might not feature any underdogs, but there will still be plenty of drama.
Here is a closer look at both of the games, and both matchups look terrific on paper.
Villanova Wildcats +4.5 vs. Kansas Jayhawks
The first game of the night will feature the 30-7 Villanova Wildcats taking on the 32-6 Kansas Jayhawks. These teams have some history in the Final Four, and it’s history that Villanova would like to repeat this weekend.
Villanova was given the number two seed in the South Region, and they were tested along the way. The Wildcats got past the Houston Cougars in the Elite Eight, but they lost a key player in the process.
Justin Moore suffered a torn Achilles tendon late in the win over Houston, and that will force Villanova to be without their second-leading scorer. Villanova will still have Collin Gillespie, who leads the team with 15.6 points and 3.3 assists.
Kansas has been an explosive offensive team all season long, and Ochai Agbaji is a First Team All-American. The Jayhawks are scoring over 78 points per game this season, but it has been their defense leading the way in March.
This Kansas team picked up a 76-50 win over Miami in the Elite Eight, and they were actually losing this game at halftime. Kansas wants to play fast on offense, but they have a size advantage to dominate on defense.
There doesn’t seem to be much separation in this matchup, and that’s why taking the points is the better option. Villanova is just so good on offense, and they will at least keep this within five points.
North Carolina Tar Heels ML vs. Duke Blue Devils
For the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament, it will be the North Carolina Tar Heels taking on the Duke Blue Devils. This is the best rivalry in college basketball, and it will finally be on the game’s biggest stage.
North Carolina has been the most impressive team in March as they made the Final Four as a number 8 seed. The Tar Heels have scored at least 69 points in every NCAA Tournament game and have been shooting the lights out as well.
Armando Bacot leads the team with 16.5 points, but it has been Caleb Love and Brady Manek carrying the Tar Heels during this run. North Carolina will give up some points, but that offense is going to give Duke trouble.
Duke has scored at least 78 points in every game in the NCAA Tournament, and they are finding little resistance in the paint. The Blue Devils are led by freshman Paolo Banchero, and he is scoring over 17 points per game this season.
It’s been a storybook tournament for Duke as they are trying to win a title for Coach K in his final season. The Blue Devils were beaten by their rivals in the regular-season finale at home, and that will be on their minds as well.
Duke has had the better season up to this point, but North Carolina is playing better heading into this game. Bet the North Carolina Tar Heels moneyline as they stun the Duke Blue Devils to advance to the National Championship Game.
The NCAA Tournament now heads to the second weekend, and that means Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games are on tap. This is when things usually start to tighten up in each game, but there have been plenty of thrillers up to this point already.
There are eight games ready to take place in the NCAA Tournament, and that creates plenty of betting opportunities. When looking at the eight games, there are two games that really stand out in terms of betting.
After looking closely at the betting odds and the matchups, here are two Sweet 16 bets to make in the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona Wildcats -1.5 vs. Houston Cougars
The first game to focus on takes place late on Thursday night as the Arizona Wildcats take on the Houston Cougars in the South Region. Arizona is the number one seed, while Houston is at number five.
For some reason, Arizona is just a 1.5-point betting favorite in this game, and that just doesn’t feel right at all. Sure, Houston has been playing well in the NCAA Tournament, but Arizona might be the most complete team in the country.
Arizona is scoring close to 85 points per game on the year, and they have scored at least that many points in each game during the tournament. Bennedict Mathurin is one of the most elite scorers in the country, and Arizona is nearly impossible to slow down once they get on the break.
Houston is not a great offensive team, but they might be the best defensive team that is still left standing. The Cougars want to get this game in the 50s, and they will do all it takes to slow down the action on both ends of the floor.
The double-digit win over Illinois has everyone wondering just how good Houston can be, but that win isn’t actually that impressive. The Fighting Illini had some serious flaws, and Houston was able to expose them.
Arizona also struggled in the Second Round as they needed overtime to get past TCU. That might have some people questioning just how good Arizona is, but you shouldn’t fall into that trap.
The Wildcats have lost just three games all season long, and they are winning this game. Take Arizona -1.5 as they control this game and move on to the Elite Eight.
UCLA Bruins -2.5 vs. UNC Tar Heels
The second great betting opportunity takes place on Friday night as the UCLA Bruins are ready to square off against the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC is the number eight seed in the East Region, while UCLA was given the number four seed.
This game is hard to predict because both teams underachieved during the regular season, and the seeds are a bit off. UCLA was in the Final Four a season ago, and UNC already has a blowout win over Duke on their regular-season resume.
There are going to be some games that will be slowed down in the Sweet 16, but that won’t be the case in this matchup. Both the Bruins and Tar Heels are comfortable playing at a fast-paced, and this game might get into the 70s.
North Carolina was able to upset Baylor in the Second Round by shooting the ball well from deep, but they didn’t exactly play well. The Tar Heels blew a 25 point second-half lead and needed overtime to escape.
UCLA put together a great performance against a good Saint Mary’s team in the second round, and the Bruins are finally healthy. This UCLA team was a popular title pick before the season began, and they now look like that team again.
Take the Bruins -2.5 as they are able to get past the UNC Tar Heels.
The first round of the NCAA Tournament gives us Cinderella teams every year. The trick is in finding those Cinderella teams before it is too late to make a profit off their on-court success.
Which double-digit seeded teams are best ready to make a run, and which top-seeded teams are just ripped for an upset? Let’s take a closer look.
Been There, Done That
Well, we have sure seen this script before with Loyola-Chicago as a double-digit seed and an underdog. In 2018 the Ramblers rode the 11-seed all the way to the Final Four with wins over Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State. Last year they were an 8-seed and knocked off Georgia Tech before upsetting No. 1 Illinois.
This year they face No. 7 Ohio State, and the Ramblers opened as just a slight underdog, +110 on BetMGM. Loyola is 25-7 overall, 13-3 away from home and they have a neutral site wins over San Francisco and Arizona State this year.
While the Ramblers have won eight of their last nine games, Ohio State is just 1-4 since winning at Illinois on February 24. They were outrebounded in four of those five games. Ohio State has only scored more than 70 points once in the stretch.
Loyola will challenge the Buckeyes defensively, and don’t be all surprised if the Missouri Valley champs advance once again.
Without a Coach, LSU in Trouble
The LSU Tigers fired head coach Will Wade last weekend after the NCAA released their infractions against the program. The No. 6 Tigers are 22-11 overall but just 3-4 down the stretch with two losses to Arkansas, one to Kentucky, and one to South Carolina. Kevin Nickelberry is the interim coach for the tournament, and minimizing distractions might be his biggest task of the week.
Iowa State’s offense has looked awful in two of their last three games, with 36 points against Oklahoma State and 41 against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. However, this is a team that hung with Baylor in the final regular-season game, scored 84, 74, and 75 in a 3-game stretch in late February, and they can defend.
Izaiah Brockington is a matchup nightmare at guard, averaging 17.2 ppg and 7.1 rpg, both leading the team. This will be a low-scoring game; both teams rank in the top 30 nationally in points allowed, defensive efficiency, and 3-point percentage defense. Iowa State is +150 on FanDuel to win outright and head to the second round.
Jackrabbits On a Streak
Maybe no one in the nation is playing better heading into the tournament than South Dakota State. The No. 13 seeded Jackrabbits are 30-4, and they last lost before Christmas, falling to Missouri State on December 15. South Dakota State swept the Summit League, and they are 6-1 in neutral site games.
South Dakota State is extremely proficient on offense. They rank second in the nation at 87.2 ppg, first in 3-point shooting at nearly 45%, first in FG shooting at 53%, and they are top 10 in the nation at 1.3 points per possession. They have scored 82 or more in eight of the last ten games. Providence has accomplished that feat just twice since February 1.
The Friars had the best regular season in school history with a Big East regular-season title and high AP rankings. But they are 1-2 in the last three games, shooting 37% from the field in those games and getting outrebounded by 3.5 per game. Providence was one-and-done in the Big East tournament shooting under 33% from the field as they were routed by Creighton 85-58.
BetMGM has the Jackrabbits at +120 no knock of the 4-seeded Friars, and that’s the way to go with a double-digit seed who knows how to win.
The 2022 NBA season has less than 20 games before the highly-anticipated play-in tournament and ensuing playoffs begin.
This season has had no shortage of storylines, whether they be superstars on the move, the old guard producing historic scoring performances, or the younger generation applying pressure in the Most Valuable Player race.
What has been and remains the biggest story of the season, however, is determining who the 2022 NBA Finalschampion will be; here is a look at the betting favorites in the latest odds update.
Phoenix Suns (+430)
The Phoenix Suns were representing the Western Conference in last year’s Finals and are ready to get back to the championship series once again. They have the league’s best record (51-13) and are have looked like the overall best team in basketball from the start of the season to the present day.
Chris Paul is out with a thumb injury. The analysts are expecting him to return for the playoffs, where he was highly successful last season. His running mate, Devin Booker, has provided steady scoring all year, while different role players such as Cameron Payne and Cameron Jonhson have taken turns stepping up in moments of need, with the latter just recently scoring 39 points and nailing a game-winning three.
Golden State Warriors (+450)
The Golden State Warriors have fallen to third in the Western Conference. But do not be fooled – once Draymond Green makes his imminent return from an injury that coincided with the Dubs’ recent struggles, they will be back to the team that looked like a championship contender for the entire first half of the season.
The biggest question marks surrounding the Warriors are, firstly, if Steph Curry’s three-point shooting slump will continue in the playoffs, and secondly, if Klay Thompson will be able to return to his past All-Star self, or if the time off and injuries have reduced him to just another contributing role player.
Golden State has an incredibly solid supporting cast but lacks size, which could make them vulnerable in certain matchups.
Brooklyn Nets (+600)
The Brooklyn Nets are the lowest-seeded teams amongst the favorites.
They are currently occupying the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and facing two potential play-in games. They must win both games before they can even enter the playoffs. If they do make it in, however, all bets are off.
The Nets are now almost totally Kevin Durant reliant after James Harden was traded to Philadelphia and with Kyrie Irving still only being available for road games. However, they did get one notable role player in the Harden deal: Seth Curry.
Ben Simmons remains a much greater question mark because of his time off and previously fragile mental status. Brooklyn will not have much time to integrate him to the rotation before the postseason.
Milwaukee Bucks (+650)
The Bucks are the reigning NBA champions. They have been playing at a superior level as of late, putting a relatively wobbly start behind them. They have re-established themselves as the team to beat in the East.
Giannis Anteotkounmpo seems to sleepwalk his way to a line of 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per night. He will be feeding off the opportunity to match his back-to-back regular-season MVPs with consecutive Finals MVPs.
Philadelphia 76ers (+700)
Phili has what many are calling the best player duo in the league in Joel Embiid and James Harden, the latter of which is yet to lose in five games in a 76ers uniform.
The Sixers do not have an extraordinarily deep bench. They are depending on second-year guard Tyrese Maxey to continue his high-level play in the postseason as the third option, but they have looked exceptional since acquiring Harden.
The 2022 NCAA Tournament, affectionately known as the “March Madness,” is less than two weeks away from kicking off. Yet many teams’ hopes of reaching the Big Dance still rely on the upcoming conference tournaments.
Conference tournament winners can receive automatic bids into the tournament, while other teams on the bubble can raise or lower their stock depending on their postseason performances. For other powerhouse teams, the conference tournament is merely a tune-up before they get ready to compete for a national title.
Here is a peek at which conference tournaments will provide the best watch over the next week and a half.
Atlantic Coast Conference
The ACC’s regular-season title has already gone to the #4 Duke Blue Devils. They have a 26-4 (16-3) record at the time of publication. Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season in charge of his program appears to be on track for a grand conclusion, one that could come all the way at the end of the tournament.
Setting aside Duke’s dominance, the ACC Tournament is going to be of the utmost importance to a few bubble teams: Wake Forest, one of the Last Four Bye schools, Virginia Tech, in the Next Four Out, and the University of Virginia, not currently in the picture.
All three have had impressive results this season. They still have realistic chances of making the tournament if they can win a couple of games. UVA will face the toughest road and might need to win the whole tournament to reach March Madness.
Wake Forest simply needs to avoid a collapse and win their first game. Virginia Tech probably needs to win two contests and close their season by winning 11 of 12 games. The Hokies have great metrics, so they are the most likely team currently not in the tournament to make it in.
Big East Conference
The Big East, despite not being included in the Power Five conferences, currently has the second-most represented conference in the latest edition of Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, only trailing the Big 10. The #9 Providence Friars are the highest-ranked squad in the conference. However, a recent two-point loss to the #11 Villanova Wildcats should at least flip these around in next week’s rankings.
Aside from the two favorites, the UConn Huskies, Marquette Golden Eagles, Creighton Blue Jays, and Seton Hall Pirates will all provide massive obstacles for any team hoping to win the conference title. The Big East has beat up on itself all season. There should be no shortage of upsets and close matches in the conference tournament.
If one team deserves the advantage, it is Villanova; they have one of the best rosters and have a dominant coach in Jay Wright. However, they are far from a guarantee to take home the hardware.
The SEC Conference Tournament is going to be a great watch for the neutral fan and a gut-wrencher for the loyalist. All of the Auburn Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Tennessee Volunteers, Arkansas Razorbacks, and Alabama Crimson Tide would say that they have the brightest future in March Madness. Unranked squads like the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers could upset a few of those teams.
Auburn and Kentucky will be favored to square off in the conference title game. Sadly, neither one has been a model of consistency lately.
The SEC Conference Tournament will be a great watch. Not because of how it will shake up March Madness, but because it will have massive seeding implications depending on which heavyweight beats the other. This should be the conference tourney with the highest amount of quality and most intriguing matchups across every round.
The 2022 Major League Soccer season kicked off over the weekend, welcoming the return of the premier source for soccer in America.
Javier Hernandez snagged the headlines for the Los Angeles Galaxy with a 90th-minute winner over reigning champions New York City F.C. Last year’s points leaders, New England Revolution, were capped at a 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers.
As the teams clamor to get ready for the rest of the campaign, here is a look at which teams have the best betting odds to win the 2022 MLS Championship.
New England Revolution (+550)
Last year’s table-toppers claimed 71 points during the regular season but ultimately fell to New York City F.C. on penalties in their first action of the playoffs.
Sebastian Lletget and Brandon Bye scored in the opener for the Revs, who were in a completely end-to-end matchup with Portland the entire night.
Despite the draw, New England has tons of talent and just showed their dominance over a long stretch last season, so an early playoff exit does not detract from their likelihood to win the coming championship.
Los Angeles FC (+600)
LAFC is second in the pecking order for the 2022 MLS champion despite finishing ninth in the Western Conference last season and ultimately missing out on the playoffs.
L.A. has an ace in the hole in the form of striker Carlos Vela. The experienced forward has shown an ability to bag goals in multiple leagues and countries, including an opening-week hat trick against the Colorado Rapids.
L.A. will not have to contend with the Revs in the regular season, which should also prove to be a bonus.
Seattle Sounders (+800)
Once best known for having the coolest uniforms in all of world soccer, the Sounders now check-in with +800 odds to win the 2022 Championship after finishing second in the West and one point off of the leading Colorado Rapids last season.
Seattle has an elite defense and allowed the fewest goals in the MLS last season, alongside a Nashville team that they lost 1-0 to during the opening weekend.
Do not let the lack of point thus far detract from the team’s overall ability. Especially with a goal man in Raul Ruidaz up top and Joao Paulo providing the assists.
New York City F.C. (+1000)
Setting aside all knowledge of the MLS or even soccer in general, it is not very often that the opportunity to take the reigning champions for +1000 odds, the fourth-best on the list, comes around.
New York finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season before their run through the playoffs culminated with a championship victory over the Portland Timbers, ending 4-2 on penalties after the teams were knotted at 1-1 through extra time.
New York has two things that most other teams do not. One is a 20-plus goal scorer (Valentin Castellanos), and the other is a 10-plus assist man (Maxi Moralez). They are an imposing threat against any team that they line up against.
Sporting Kansas City (+1400)
Sporting Kansas City had a would-be comeback thwarted by Atlanta United F.C. during a 3-1 loss over the kick-off weekend, despite the losers enjoying more possession and attempts during the 90 minutes.
K.C. finished third in the West last season with 58 points, three behind the leading Rapids, ultimately falling to the underdog Real Salt Lake in the Conference Semifinals.
Sporting has two of the premier goalscorers in the MLS — Dániel Sallói and Johnny Russell — leading its line, both of which played major roles in K.C. leading the West in goal scoring last season.