Posts Tagged ‘point spread’

By W.G. Ramirez

While three of Indianapolis’ wins this season were against teams considered less-than impressive (saving room for an opinion on the Dolphins), it’s two wins in the last three weeks that have everyone noting there’s nothing fluky – er, Lucky – about the Colts.

On the contrary, behind quarterback Andrew Luck, these Colts were anything but fortuitous in a dominating 27-7 win at San Francisco on Sept. 22, and in a 34-28 home shootout victory over the Seahawks.

Line1_PROOFThe second-year quarterback threw a pair of touchdown passes and guided the Colts on two time-consuming scoring drives in the fourth quarter, taking the lead on Donald Brown’s 3-yard TD run with 8:55 to play, last week against Seattle. It was his ninth winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most through the first 21 games by any quarterback that began his career dating back to 1970.

Now, in the Colts and Bolts’ first meeting since Peyton Manning was yelling “Omaha” for Indy, Luck is looking to run his string of good fortune to 3-0 with a suitcase in hand.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are in after committing five turnovers in a loss at Oakland including three interceptions by Philip Rivers, who has two straight 400-yard passing games and three in four games. Though he looked awfully different than the quarterback who threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns to beat the Dallas Cowboys a couple weeks back, believe it or not, he could become the first quarterback in NFL history to have three straight 400-yard passing games.

He can’t get too cocky, though, as the Colts’ stingy pass defense has intercepted seven passes in five games. As a matter of fact, the Colts are tied for fourth in the league with a plus-6 turnover differential.

There are several angles to look at with these two teams, as it could go from being a defensive struggle to an offensive shootout very quickly. It could come down to the end and take a stroke of ‘Luck’ or ‘Bolt’ of lightning, you just never know.

Let’s take a look at the key matchup…

KEY SHOWDOWN: Andrew Luck vs. Chargers’ Defense Line

Honestly, as impressive as the Colts were in their win over Seattle, it was a physical game in which – let’s face it – Indianapolis did after rally from after a horrendous start that included a blocked punt to give the Seahawks an early 12-0 lead. Now the Colts are making their third long road trip in four weeks.

True, they won the first two roadies at San Francisco and Jacksonville by a combined score of 64-10, and they can take solace in knowing the Chargers have allowed some glaring numbers on defense (432 yards per game). Then again, San Diego’s two wins came against highly explosive Philadelphia and the same Dallas team that almost knocked off Denver.

The Chargers will need to play exquisite on defense, if Luck plays his best game – something he’s been doing. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback is emerging quickly as the best young quarterback in the game, as he calls the signals and leads an offense as it’s supposed to be done. His fundamentals are near-flawless, and what has really matured him and separated him from the pack of others who broke out with him last year is his patience.

The biggest question about him, and we’ll all have to wait for the answer, is how will he do in his Monday night debut?

BY THE NUMBERS: Indianapolis (-2, 50) at San Diego

While Luck has spearheaded the Colts’ offense this season, it was the rushing game that was ranked 4th in the league overall to start Week 6; the passing game ranked 24th.

Indy’s pass defense has been stellar, as it came into the weekend 6th in the NFL. The rushing D has been less-than impressive, as it was 30th.

The Colts arrive in Southern California on ATS win streaks of 8-0 against losing teams, 6-3 on the highway, 8-1 on Monday Night Football, 4-1 in October and 12-5 dating back to last season.

Indianapolis has stayed under in 23 of its last 31 games dating back.

The Chargers came into Week 6 with the fifth-ranked offense overall, led by the fifth-best passing game. However, their defense has been lacking and entered the weekend ranked 27th overall. San Diego has been beaten by both facets, ranking 24th against the run and 27th against the pass.

The Bolts are tied for 28th at minus-8 in turnover differential.

San Diego checks into primetime on ATS runs of 5-0 after a straight-up loss and 4-1 overall. Conversely, the Bolts are mired in spread slides of 6-11 at home and 0-6 in the month of October.

In this series, however, the Chargers have covered 6 of 7 and the underdog is on a sterling 8-0 ATS run at the window. The under has cashed 5 of the last 6 meetings.

INJURY REPORT: COLTS: DNP (Did Not Practice): S LaRon Landry (ankle), LB Bjoern Werner (foot). LIMITED: LB Erik Walden (elbow). FULL: RB Stanley Havili (ankle), DT Ricky Jean Francois (groin). CHARGERS: DNP: LB Donald Butler (groin), LB Jarret Johnson (hamstring), CB Richard Marshall (groin), G Chad Rinehart (toe). LIMITED: T D.J. Fluker (calf). FULL: RB Ryan Mathews (concussion), CB Johnny Patrick (chest).

ON DECK: The Chargers will make their third trip across the country, while Indianapolis and Luck will play arguably the franchise’s biggest game in history.

San Diego is laying 7.5 at Jacksonville, while the Colts are catching 5.5 at home from Manning and the visiting Broncos.


By W.G. Ramirez

San Diego has never been known as a team that can travel well.

Last week it did just fine in Philadelphia. Then again, when you have a team like the Eagles, running the offense coach Chip Kelly runs, you’re going to have a very weary team on your hands. Though the Chargers have won three straight in Tennessee and nine consecutive overall in series, today will be a good test for the Chargers (1-1), who go back on the road, traveling a little less than they did last week. Waiting in Nashville are the spunky Titans (1-1), who might be in the right spot at the right time to knock off the Bolts.

The Chargers might be averaging 37.7 points per game over their past three versus the Titans, and yes Philip Rivers was 36 of 47 for 419 yards and three touchdown passes to Eddie Royal in last week’s 33-30 victory at Philadelphia, but the Titans have a staunch defense that is tied for 11th overall in the league.

The Titans, who are mired in a 4-11 ATS slide in their past 15 games as a favorite, they’ve won two of their past three home openers. San Diego, meanwhile, has covered 8 of 9 against Tennessee since 1993, and is on an 8-3 ATS win streak as an underdog.

Looking at some of the other intriguing lines and stats in the NFL:

Texans (-1′) at Ravens – The storyline here is the return of safety Ed Reed to Baltimore, and whether or not he’ll play for the Texans (2-0) in this game, as he’s been dealing with a nagging hip injury. Retired Ray Lewis is also coming back just to see his name added to the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.

The Ravens (1-1) are on a 6-1 straight-up run against the Texans. Last season Houston won 43-13 in October, so revenge might be a factor for Baltimore.

Rams at Cowboys (-3) – Look for Dallas’ defense to be tested, as St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford is off to the fastest start of his four-year career with 651 yards through two games. He had 352 yards last week against Atlanta, the second-best total of career, in a losing cause as the Rams (1-1) lost to Atlanta 31-24. It could very well be a quarterback-showdown, as Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo has completed more than 70 percent of passes in both games, albeit his average per attempt is 6.2 yards, significantly lower than career mark of 7.9.

The Cowboys (1-1) are in on an abysmal 4-14 ATS run at home, while the Rams have covered 6 of their last 7 on the road.

Packers (-3) at Bengals – Not too hard to figure out who will be in the spotlight here, as the matchup of the day could very well be Cincinnati’s defense against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was 34 for 42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins last Sunday. Also, James Jones had a career-best 178 yards receiving in the win. It was the first time the Packers (1-1) had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game.

The Packers come in on a 5-1 ATS run against the Bengals (1-1), dating back to 1986, while they’ve covered 8 of 9 as the installed chalk. Cincinnati has covered 5 of its last 9 as an underdog.

Bears (-2) at Steelers – Interesting Sunday night game, as Chicago rolls in as the favorite here, something probably not expected when the season first started. After all, the Bears (2-0) haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1989. But after scoring fourth-quarter comebacks in their first two games, the Bears are looking to open up 3-0 on the strength of quarterback Jay Cutler. He completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago’s 31-30 victory over Minnesota last week.  The Steelers, who are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1986, have lost seven of their last nine dating back to Week 10 of the 2012 season.

Chicago is mired in a 1-5-1 ATS slide overall, while Pittsburgh is in on a 1-5 ATS skid overall. Also, the Steelers have gone 1-4-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home.

By W.G. Ramirez

While the college football betting week began last night with Clemson and N.C. State entrenched in a rivalry battle in Raleigh, N.C., and continues tonight in Fresno, with Boise State and Fresno State in Mountain West action, there are plenty of big games on Saturday to be intrigued by.

The most intriguing for me is Stanford and Arizona State at Palo Alto; and the Cardinal is laying 6.5 points. Stanford beat San Jose State (34-13) on Sept. 7 and won at Army (34-20) last Saturday, a pair of rather easy games. But for ASU, it’ll be its second straight test after it won a controversial decision last Saturday against Wisconsin, 32-30.

The Sun Devils opened their 2013 campaign with a 55-0 blitz of Sacramento State, but escaped their game last week against the Badgers, who drove to Arizona State’s 13-yard line with 18 seconds left and confusion began over a misconstrued fumble. Without getting into detail – it’s confusing, trust me – the Pac 12 officials offered an apology, and the Badgers left pretty pissed off.

So, can the Cardinal take advantage of an ASU team that might be a bit hung over, yes, even a week later? Checking the betting numbers, The Cardinal is a mere 1-6 ATS in its last seven when laying points at home and 2-8 ATS over its last 10 in that role. Nonetheless, ASU was just 1-4 at the window as an underdog last season. Make note that teams favored in ASU-involved games are on a 12-3 ATS win streak since Todd Graham took over last season.

In other interesting college matchups for Saturday:

Tennessee at Florida (-16.5) The 19th-ranked Gators have won eight straight in this series, while they’ve covered six of those games – winning the last six by an average of 19 points per game. Tennessee’s defensive line has some serious depth issues and will most certainly be tested against Florida’s rushing attack.

West Virginia at Maryland (-5) Off to their best start since 2001, the unbeaten Terrapins have opened the season both 3-0 straight-up and against the number, while they’ve covered their last four since last season. On the other hand, West Virginia is on a 6-2 ATS run as an underdog since 2011. The Mountaineers are in rebuild mode, and it’s apparent, after sandwiching wins against William & Mary and Georgia State around a road loss to No. 14 Oklahoma.

Utah State at Southern Cal (-7) Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin is on the hot seat – not quite as scalding as Mack Brown’s in Texas – but it’s pretty hot. And Kiffin comes into this very dangerous contest mired in a 4-12 ATS slide since last season. Also, the Trojans are in on a 1-5 spread kid when facing non-conference foes. On the other hand, USU is on a 13-3 ATS win streak dating back to 2012, not to mention a 7-2 streak at the window away from Logan.

Michigan State at Notre Dame (-6) The Irish have won and covered the last two meetings, while covering the last three overall versus Michigan State. Conversely, the Spartans have covered their last four as the road pup. Michigan State ranks No. 1 in the nation in total defense and pass efficiency defense, fourth in rushing defense and fifth in passing yards allowed.

Every year, in the first month of the season, the Customer Service Department at my site gets inundated with questions about BETTING BASEBALL with me. Let me tell you right now: it is one of the best ways to make money, and one of the simplest forms of handicapping.

I am actually shocked there aren’t more baseball bettors out there, because of the supreme value you get with travel schedule, pitching rotations, run-line plays and even totals! Perhaps it’s the popularity – or lack thereof – since so many people would rather wager on a fast-paced game, such as football and basketball. But guys, money is money, and just like in a stock market, you’re either investing long-term mutual, or on the aggressive risk play. The same applies here.

Now, with the regular season officially getting underway Wednesday, March 28 (3:10 a.m. pacific), with Seattle (Hernandez -130, 7) and Oakland (McCarthy) opening the season in Tokyo, let’s go over some important points you’ll need to consider, or phrases I can define easier for you:

LISTING PITCHERS – I take into account the pitchers in each game, and generally surround my handicapping around the starters. Most times I will tell you to list the pitchers in a baseball game, which basically means you’re making a wager on a game and stating specified hurlers in the event.

If Cliff Lee is facing Justin Verlander, I might tell you to list Lee and Verlander, which means both must start in order for you to have action on the game. If one, or both pitchers don’t start, you have no action and your money will be returned. You can also play a team and list its pitcher, or only choose to list the pitcher your team is opposing. Bottom line, when listing one or both pitchers, whomever is on your ticket must start the game (throw one pitch), in order for you ticket to be valid.

You can also make an ACTION bet, which means regardless of the pitchers who start or play, you’ll have action on the team you’re betting on.

MONEY LINE – Instead of a point spread, we have the Money Line; and this is what you’ll be playing daily – UNLESS IT’S NOTED to play the Run Line. Money Lines are expressed in terms of a dollar. If we’re making a play on the favorite, we’ll be laying more than a dollar in order to win a dollar – the same we lay $1.10 to win a $1 in football and basketball. If we’re playing an underdog, we’re investing one dollar to win a dollar plus the juice. For instance, if a favorite is -1.35, we’ll lay $1.35 to win $1. If we’re betting the underdog in that game, we’d likely be catching +1.25; so we’d lay $1 to win $1.25.

Now, this is very important, as we must discuss Sports Books. I will never tell you where to play, and don’t offer any recommendations on any, but I will tell you this is the most important time of the season to find a quality one, or use multiple ones to shop the prices effectively, as we’re looking for ones offering “Dime Lines.” Here in Vegas, I can get a nickel line at times, but that’s irrelevant.

Notice my example above – a favorite laying $1.35 and the comeback at $1.25. There are some books that will offer a .20-cent line, and you’d only be getting $1.15 for that underdog. You lose value by not knowing these things, so take in consideration your book when signing up. Understandably, at most books, as the price reaches $1,80 or $2.00 with favorites, the come-back price is now a 20-cent line.

RUN LINE – The run line will be used throughout the week in our plays. Here’s where a “point spread” comes in. For instance, if the Tigers are a big favorite with Justin Verlander laying $2.10 to Kevin Slowey on the Money Line, I would be inclined to laying 1-1/2 runs, and reduce the price to +1.05. Quite a difference, right?

The catch is, the Tigers must win by two or more runs. Rarely would we play an underdog +1-1/2, so we won’t get much into that, but the thought process remains the same, as we’d be getting a run and a half, lose by one and still win our bet. There are have been sharps and handicappers known to do this, thinking a pitching duel will end up in a one-run game, but it is not something I am a fan of.

When making a Run Line wager, it will always be based on the pitchers listed at the time the wager is made. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned.

TOTALS – Baseball totals are the same across the board, just as in any sport, as there is a number listed for the game itself, and it applies to the number of runs both teams score in the game. This includes extra innings, when applicable. Both pitchers who are listed at the time the bet is made must start for a total bet to have action. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned. I will have action on totals, not a lot, but more often in baseball than in any other sport will I find value in MLB totals. Many bettors will take into consideration the umpires in handicapping baseball, particularly the totals. I’m not that big on it, though at times I will refer to the home-plate assignment to solidify a big play. For an absolutely great read on handicapping umpires, check out this article by David Payne Purdham.

SYSTEMS – No handicapper might admit to it, but when it comes to baseball, there are some age-old betting systems the late-great Mike Lee used to follow religiously. I love three of them in particular, none of which I’m ready to reveal though, as I work them into my daily lineups quite often. The key to these systems, is they’re profitable from the start of each season. It’s not something you can jump in and out of, as there could be losing streaks with them. Fact is, there’s always losing streaks in sports betting, but you cannot lose focus on the task at hand, and must play accordingly, following the rules of your money management, the sport you’re playing and the system(s) you’re following. This is the main reason I always insist on playing with me for one of two packages – through the All-Star Break, or through the World Series.

Good luck this season, and remember, it’s a very long campaign that can be grueling at times. The ups, the downs, the highs, the lows … it’s an investment, not a hunt-and-peck kind of sport you want to jump in and out of. The prices give us an advantage at times, and that’s where we make our mark.

I follow strict money management guidelines in baseball, so if you’re on board long-term, stick by everything I tell you and follow the ratings.

See ya at the ball field, and don’t forget your Cracker Jacks!

Yes, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

So imagine what it would be like if we did have odds on the Division I College Wrestling Finals, to generate more popularity toward the sport, to generate revenue and income for sports books and to create exhilaration for sports bettors. I mean, if the Kentucky Derby is “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” these college championship matches could very well be “the most exciting 9 seconds-to-seven minutes in sports.”

So let’s play dress-up before Saturday night’s championship matches, which will be televised on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. pacific. Let’s pretend there is betting on the sport; these would be my betting previews/projected odds/picks for the 2012 Finals.

Tweet to @CJSports2


125-pound championship 1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. 10 Nico Megaludis (Penn State)

McDonough is in his third straight national final, and is looking to win for a second time. He last year he was on the losing end of one of the biggest stories in sports for 2011, as Anthony Robles stole the hearts of America when he entered the arena on one leg and his crutches. Now Robles is in the broadcast booth, and McDonough is back in the finals. He faces 10th-seeded Megaludis, a freshman who wrestles with tenacity that can’t be taught. This kid has been stellar all week turning around a rather mediocre season regular season. Megaludis ignited Penn State’s run this week, with upset triumphs in both the quarters and semis. An oddsmaker wouldn’t know any better, and would likely make McDonough a -200 favorite, but Megaludis has the potential to be the first national champion of the night.

MY PICK – I am a lover of the underdog, and as impressive as McDonough’s approach has been throughout this event, as a gamblin’ man, I’d take a shot with this underdog for a major upset to kick off this event.

133-pound championship 1 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) vs. 2 Logan Stieber (Ohio State)

In what could very well be ‘thee’ match of the evening, Oliver is going after his second straight title, looking to duplicate the same feat UFC welterweight contender Johny Hendricks did at the 165-pound class for Oklahoma State six years ago. Oliver has been impressive all week, reecording three first-round pins in his first three matches. He’ll meet No. 2 seed Logan Stieber, another freshman phenom that has made headlines all week. Though Oliver has already beaten Stieber once this year, roughly one month ago, and you’d think he has the psychological edge, Stieber has made it too far to collapse at this point. Oddsmakers would likely make Oliver a -160 favorite, but Stieber isn’t going to be taken down that easily.

MY PICK – In what I think will be one of the three best matches of the night, I have to side with Oliver in this one, thinking he will be able hold off Stieber in a close match that goes right to the end.

141-pound championship 1 Kellen Russell (Michigan) vs. 3 Montell Marion (Iowa)

A couple of familiar names meet in this national championship, with Russell looking to defend his title. It won’t be easy against a three-time, final-four qualifier in Marion. While it’s true Russell has beaten Marion three times during their collegiate careers, including a battle in last year’s tournament, the revenge-factor kicks in with this one. You really never know what to expect from Marion, and when he’ll come alive. He’s a thoroughbred that loves to close down the backstretch, saving everything for the 3rd round. The odds-on favorite, no doubt, is Russell – probably a -125 favorite – as he’s looking to bring back to back championships back to Ann Arbor, but if he doesn’t score a lot of points, or take care of Marion early, look for an eventful two minutes in the third period.

MY PICK – Marion scares me, I’m not going to lie; this kid takes so long to get going, yet his methodical approach gets him through every time. My money would be on the underdog here, hoping he comes alive in the 3rd peroid, in true Montell fashion.

149-pound championship 1 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) vs. 7 Dylan Ness (Minnesota)

Kudos to Ness for getting this far, he’s been impressive over his first four wins, specifically his quarterfinal-upset of Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks, seeded second in this weight class, and expected to challenge Molinaro for the title. Ness had other plans and took a 3-2 decision to get into the semis, where he took care of Pittsburgh’s Tyler Nauman. But now that he’s gotten three-quarters of the way up this steep hill, this is where he hits rough terrain. Penn State’s Molinaro improves every time he competes in this event, progressing from 9th place as a freshman, 7th place as a sophomore and 2nd place last year. This year he’s in the final match and is undefeated. And if you haven’t watched him yet, he’s a beast. Ness has already lost three times to Molinaro this season alone, oddsmakers would make Molinaro a -400 favorite in this one.

MY PICK – Steep price to pay, but all Molinaro here. This guy has worked way too hard to not pull this one off, and he should be able to get Ness, possibly even by pin.

157-pound championship 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. 2 Derek St. John (Iowa)

Call me naive, but Dake should be considered a leading candidate for Most Outstanding Wrestler. The 5-foot-9 junior from Cornell – yes, he has another year left for the Big Red – is another undefeated top seed who has run roughshod through the competition with ease. Three pins and a 4-0 decision in the semis. Now he’s on the verge of winning three straight D-I titles in three different weight classes, and he’s the odds-on favorite after winning the 141-pound division as a freshman, the 149-pound division as a sophomore and now has his sights set on the 157-pound division. Only one person stands in his way, and that is Iowa’s St. John, who has muddled his way to the finals after majoring his first opponent, 9-1. From there it was an 8-4 decision, a 3-1 overtime win and a 5-1 decision in the semis over third-seeded Jason Welch. All that being said, this may be a clash of the top two seeds, but Dake is in a class of his own, and oddsmakers would easily make him a -190 favorite.

MY PICK – Another great match that could be one of the top three of the night, but I have to side with Dake. This kid is a beast, and just wears you down on the mat. Dake will win here.

165-pound championship 1 David Taylor (Penn State) vs. 11 Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh)

Talk about an uphill battle, Hatchett is going to have to dig down deep into his basketball-counterparts’ underdog prowess to pull this one out. Just because Lehigh upended Duke on the basketball court last night, doesn’t mean it’s possible when you’re taking on a kid like Taylor, who is out to avenge last year’s loss to Arizona State’s Bubba Jenkins. Though Hatchett has been one of the surprises of the tournament, and is the biggest seed to make it to the finals, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to finish this fairy tale. I’ve spoken highly about several wrestlers, but arguably the most impressive wrestler of the tournament so far has been Penn State’s Taylor, who has been on the mat a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds to defeat his four opponents – all by pins. I’m not going to say it’s impossible for Hatchett – after all, he’s outscored his four foes by a cumulative final of 26-9, including a 7-3 decision over Iowa State’s Andrew Sorenson, the No. 3 seed – but Taylor has been labeled as a “future Olympic champion.” Oddsmakers would easily have Taylor installed as a -350 favorite.

MY PICK – Another big price to pay with another Penn State wrestler, but Taylor is not going to get stuck for a second year in a row, like Jenkins did to him last year. Hats off to Hatchett, but the Cinderella run ends here.

174-pound championship 1 Edward Ruth (Penn State) vs. 3 Nick Amuchasteg (Stanford)

A battle of unbeatens in this one, in what should be a scrap to the very end. Many people tune in from the start and start to veer by the time the 165s roll around. True wrestling fans know these later weight classes can be brawls, and this is a match you should be glued to. Top-seeded Ruth was dominant through his matches to get here, scoring first-round pins in his first two matches, then an 11-4 decision in the quarters and a 17-1 tech-fall victory over Minnesota’s Logan Storley. Talk about dominating, the Golden Gophers were ranked No. 1 as a team for some time, and are No. 2 in the team standings, but Ruth blew through Storley very easily. As for Amuchastegui, he’s here after an emotional 3-2 overtime win versus highly touted Chris Perry, from Oklahoma State. And make note, Amuchastegui fell one win short last year, but did defeat Ruth on his way through the bracket. So even though the Nittany Lion is the top seed, Amuchastegui will consider anything less than a championship a failure to the season. Ruth, on the other hand, is not only looking for Gold, but revenge as well. Oddsmakers would make Ruth a slim 115 favorite here.

MY PICK – This is going to be a war, and a match I cannot wait to see. This is going to be such a good match, if there was one I wouldn’t wager on, it’d be this one. But I have to make a choice for my readers, so I’m laying the price with the revenge factor and would take Ruth.

184-pound championship 4 Steve Bosak (Cornell) vs. 6 Quentin Wright (Penn State)

It took seven matches, but here in the eighth of the championship round, we have a pair of wrestlers who aren’t seeded in the top three, as both made their way through tough competition. That alone should make this a great match, as it’s the only final that won’t involve a first- or second-seed. That beind said, we do have a defending champion taking the mat, as Wright is a returning titlist from 2011. And make note, he actually had a better regular season this year than he did last year, when he was seeded 9th in his bracket. Though he’s the sixth-seed, and Bosak if the fourth seed, I have to believe Wright might be a slight favorite here. After all, as the 9-seed last year he made his way through the bracket and won it all. This year he’s seeded sixth and he’s right back in it. Bosak finished fourth last season, so maybe that played in consideration with his seeding, after how he finished his campaign this year. He has won one more match than he did last year, and I’m sure he’s wanting to represent Big Red, but Wright is going to be not only wrestling for a title, but to put the exclamation point on a team title for Penn State. Also, Wright defeated Bosak handidly earlier this season. Revenge factor? Eh… I think the oddsmakers make Wright a -115 choice.

MY PICK – Couple of wrestlers looking to make a name for themselves, and I have to go with the lower-seed. Whenever you have – in any sport – a lower seed listed as the favorite, the oddsmakers are clearly telling you who is going to win. Wright gets the win here.

197-pound championship 1 Cam Simaz (Cornell) vs. 2 Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro)

Our final battle that pits the top two seeds, and only one that does not involve a Big 10 wrestler. Leading the charge is Cornell’s Cam Simaz, who has finally gotten over the hump after finishing third the last two years in the collegiate championships. Simaz is 30-1 coming into the final, and is a four-time all-American out of Michigan. Honeycutt, from Edinboro, a four-year university located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, is 40-1 and avenged his only loss of the season by knocking off Pittsburgh’s Matthew Wilps, 6-3 in overtime, in the semis. After spending his entire career at 184 pounds, the redshirt senior would love nothing more than to culminate a rather fulfilling career with a championship at 197. As even as this match could be, we might be looking at a match where the oddsmakers would have their only pick’em bout, at -110 apiece.

MY PICK – You know what, I’m taking the lower seed in this one, just because he’s going to want to put his school on the map in this event. Look for Honeycutt to pull this one out for Edinboro pride.

Heavyweight championship 4 Zachery Rey (Lehigh) vs. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota)

In the final match, the heavyweight bout, Rey comes in as the No. 4 seed, though he is the defending champion and looked every bit like one in the semifinals, defeating top-seeded Ryan Flores, from American U., in the semis. Rey, another Lehigh-product looking to feed off some momentum from the basketball team that knocked off March-behemoth Duke last night, won close matches all the way to the semis, before dispatching of Flores, 6-2. He takes on the No. 2 seed from Minnesota, who has shown progress from a year ago, when he finished seventh. On the flipside of what Rey did in his first four matches, Nelson made quick work of his first three opponents, and then eked out a 4-3 decision over Oregon State’s Clayton Jack, the No. 3 seed. Nelson was an all-American as a sophomore in 2011, but again, Rey is the defending champ and has found a knack for winning the tough ones. The oddsmakers would lean toward Rey here, making him a -115 favorite.

MY PICK – Finally in this last match, I’m taking the favorite, which is the lower seed. I think Rey will defend his championship successfully, adding a little highlight reel for his Lehigh counterparts on the hardwood, giving them some momentum for their game tomorrow against Xavier.

Again, all information pertaining to odds/sports betting is for entertainment purposes only.