Raise your hand if your bracket had No. 1 seed Virginia, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Arizona and No. 5 Kentucky losing before Saturday’s South Regional final in Atlanta.
Thought so. Neither did I.
Not even Nostradamus could have predicted and bet on a No. 9 vs. No. 11 for a trip to the Final Four. Kansas State vs. Sister Jean’s Loyola of Chicago. And the winner is …? Your guess is as good as mine.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, I’m headed to D Las Vegas and the Golden Nugget, where two of the more fascinating entrepreneurs in Las Vegas are going head to head for a possible million dollar payoff.
Before the tournament, Derek Stevens, owner of D Las Vegas and a Michigan alumnus, bet $25,000 at 40-1 at the Golden Nugget that the Wolverines would win the tournament. The payoff is $1 million.
At the other end of the bet is Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Golden Nugget and the richest Texan I know who didn’t make his money striking oil. He amassed a fortune with the Landry’s restaurant conglomerate, which includes Morton’s and McCormick & Schmick’s. He also owns casinos in Atlantic City and Louisiana.
Fertitta was an original owner of the Houston Texans of the NFL, but he was forced to sell his share because of the league’s outdated rule preventing casino operators from ownership. So he joined up with a more progressive league and bought the Houston Rockets of the NBA.
On Thursday, Michigan played as well as any other team we have seen in the NCAA Tournament. Texas A&M was headed home 10 minutes into the game.
The Wolverines will meet ninth-seeded Florida State on Saturday in the West Regional final. Michigan is a 4½-point favorite (-105) with the total 143½ (-110) at the South Point.
Oh, yes. Stevens’ Wolverines defeated Tillman’s alma mater, Houston, by one point in the second round. It’s just another reason that this is the most interesting bet in Las Vegas.
First pitch less than a week away
MLB’s regular season begins Thursday — the first time all 30 teams will open on the same day.
With Giancarlo Stanton joining Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees are the 9-2 favorite at the South Point to win the World Series.
But are last year’s champs being overlooked? The Astros are a second choice with the Cubs at 5-1, even though Houston’s lineup still looks strong around MVP Jose Altuve. They still have a loaded rotation that includes Dallas Keuchel, they get a full season out of Justin Verlander and added Gerrit Cole.
The Dodgers are an 11-2 fourth choice, but they had the most significant injury in spring training when third baseman Justin Turner broke a wrist. Yet, they still build around Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, the best starter and closer in the game, so don’t feel sorry for them.
The other short-priced teams include the Nationals (7-1), Indians (8-1) and Red Sox (8-1).
We can’t wait for the season to start, especially since it will provide a new menu of betting options. By the time the bumpy road to the Final Four finally gets us to San Antonio, we’re going to need it.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.