Three Review-Journal sports department members and three professional handicappers have been given $1,000 fantasy bankrolls to bet during the NCAA Tournament -- two picks per day of either sides, totals or one of each. Below are their bets for today, with a brief explanation of their picks:
Adam Hill, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $1,412 Thursday: Won $200
Today’s plays -- Betting $132
Bet 1: $66 on Louisville -9 over Arizona
Comment: The Wildcats aren’t ready for the huge step up in competition the Cardinals will present.
Bet 2: $66 on Michigan State -1 over Kansas
Comment: The Spartans have more scoring options than KU, which relies on just Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich.
Mal Van Valkenburg, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $930 Thursday: Lost $15
Today’s plays -- Betting $440
Bet 1: $220 on Arizona-Louisville over 139
Comment: Both teams have averaged more than 70 points in their past five games. That’ll continue here.
Bet 2: $220 on Oklahoma -1 over Syracuse
Comment: The Sooners have the best player in the tournament, Blake Griffin, and he’ll make the difference.
Matt Youmans, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $1,161 Thursday: Won $170
Today’s plays -- Betting $154
Bet 1: $77 on Oklahoma -1 over Syracuse
Comment: If Blake Griffin avoids foul trouble, he’ll make sure one Big East team loses in the Sweet 16.
Bet 2: $77 on Kansas +1 over Michigan State
Comment: Jayhawks coach Bill Self is 7-1 in revenge games against teams that beat him the first time during a season.
Jim Kruger, VegasSportsAuthority.com
Bankroll: $1,324 Thursday: Won $400
Today’s plays -- Betting $550
Bet 1: $341 on Syracuse +1 over Oklahoma
Comment: The Sooners aren’t used to playing against a zone. Syracuse’s guards are better 3-point shooters.
Bet 2: $209 on Kansas-Michigan State over 138
Comment: Michigan State plays more up-tempo out of conference, and Kansas loves to run.
Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet
Bankroll: $1,420 Thursday: Won $250
Today’s plays -- Betting $275
Bet 1: $165 on Syracuse +1 over Oklahoma
Comment: Syracuse is mastering Jim Boeheim’s zone and has enough scoring to counter Blake Griffin.
Bet 2: $110 on Gonzaga +9 over North Carolina
Comment: The Zags rate a puncher’s chance with their varied weapons and size on the perimeter.
Erin Rynning, SportsMemo.com
Bankroll: $1,115 Thursday: Lost $20
Today’s plays — Betting $440
Bet 1: $220 on Syracuse-Oklahoma under 152
Comment: Both teams have impressed with extended zone defenses, which will slow the pace in this one.
Bet 2: $220 on Kansas-Michigan State over 138
Comment: When these teams met in January, the market total was 145, which gives us value in an up-tempo game.