Three Review-Journal sports department members and three professional handicappers have been given $2,000 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 as to their picks:
Adam Hill, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $2,390 Sunday: Lost $120
Today: Betting $385
Bet 1: $220 on Connecticut-Kentucky under 140 Comment: Both teams are playing great defense, and the Huskies often wait until late in the shot clock to shoot.
Bet 2: $165 on Virginia Commonwealth +2½ over Butler Comment: Take the points in a game that could come down to the final possession. The Rams have been dominant in the tournament.
Mal Van Valkenburg, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $2,125 Sunday: Lost $20
Today: Betting $660
Bet 1: $330 on Connecticut-Kentucky under 140
Comment: Both teams stress defense. This should come down to a half-court game and resemble a chess match, which will limit scoring.
Bet 2: $330 on Virginia Commonwealth +2½ over Butler Comment: If VCU is hitting its 3s, this will be easy. Butler games seem to come down to the last possession, so getting the points is nice.
Matt Youmans, Review-Journal
Bankroll: $2,259 Sunday: Won $43
Today: Betting $242
Bet 1: $132 on Butler -2½ over Virginia Commonwealth Comment: The Bulldogs will slow the pace, defend the perimeter and get key plays from experienced leaders Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack.
Bet 2: $110 on Connecticut-Kentucky under 140 Comment: Both teams could be a little tight in this spotlight. The Wildcats held a better offensive team, Ohio State, to 60 points.
John Kelly, EOG.com
Bankroll:$255 Sunday: Lost $5
Today: Betting $198
Bet 1: $143 on Butler -2½ over Virginia Commonwealth
Comment: Look for Brad Stevens’ defense to contain VCU point guard Joey Rodriguez. The Rams might experience stage fright.
Bet 2: $55 on Kentucky -2 over Connecticut Comment: The Wildcats face softer competition in the Final Four than they did at their regional, where they defeated Ohio State and North Carolina.
Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet
Bankroll: $1,465 Sunday: Lost $290
Today: Betting $660
Bet 1: $330 on Kentucky -2 over Connecticut Comment: I prefer the Wildcats’ balance, and their length on the perimeter can disrupt Huskies guard Kemba Walker.
Bet 2: $330 on Connecticut-Kentucky under 140 Comment: Kentucky’s defensive resolve is underrated. Don’t expect many transition buckets, and possessions should be limited.
Ken Thomson, SportsXRadio.com
Bankroll: $910 Sunday: Won $300
Today: Betting $550
Bet 1: $275 on Butler -2½ over Virginia Commonwealth Comment: No team has stopped Bulldogs guard Shelvin Mack, the most clutch player left in the tournament.
Bet 2: $275 on Kentucky -2 over Connecticut Comment: Senior big man Josh Harrellson will make the difference for the Wildcats.