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This will be one of the biggest weeks of the year here in Vegas, not only for bettors but for all our sportsbooks. March Madness gets underway this Tuesday and Wednesday with the first four teams battling to see which ones will get in the Big Dance starting Thursday and Friday.

We will take a quick look at how the brackets were set up and launch this bettor’s opinion on the draw.


The selection committee has made North Carolina the No. 1 seed. The biggest crock is they have Kentucky a 4 seed. I guess it’s the blind leading the blind. If and when North Carolina meets Kentucky I would make the Wildcats a 2-point favorite over the Tar Heels.

They made Indiana a 5 seed. These guys must be smoking some good stuff in the committee room. If the Hoosiers play Kentucky, which it looks like they will, well UK would be a 3-point chalk over IU. The East draw looks like a bad one for all three of these teams.

We also see West Virginia and Xavier in the East. Now let me see, Xavier got a 2 seed and they would be a dog vs. both Kentucky and Indiana. WVU somehow got a 3 seed and would also be dogs vs. Indiana and Kentucky. We will see how this one plays out.


Kansas got the 1 seed and deserves it. The Jayhawks will be able to get to Louisville and the Great Eight with no problems. The only teams that look to have a shot at KU are Arizona, Miami-Florida, Villanova and maybe a tough Wichita State squad if they can get by Vanderbilt in their play-in game.

The teams in the region that could upset are California and Iowa. Kansas is playing with much confidence and is as well coached as any team in the tournament. Rock Chalk will be a tough out.


I have a huge opinion. Somehow the brain trust has made Virginia the 1 seed over Michigan State. More weed on display in this selection as we just saw the Spartans win the Big Ten tournament. For information only – if these two hook up Michigan State would be around a 5-point favorite.

Virginia will get by Hampton in their first game on Thursday but then must take on most likely either Purdue, Iowa State or even Butler. Any of the three could take out the 1 seed. Michigan State, in this bettor’s opinion, will have little trouble getting to Chicago for the Great Eight. Sparty’s main danger will come from Utah, Gonzaga and a red hot Seton Hall team.


This looks to be the weakest bracket with the 1 seed Oregon and the 2 Oklahoma. If these two play each other the Sooners would be the favorite. Oregon got the 1 seed winning the PAC 12. If the Ducks played Michigan State they would be an 8-point dog. Do you see something wrong with this? The 4 seed Duke would also be around a 2-point favorite vs. Oregon.

The Ducks did get an easy first game facing the winner of Holy Cross/Southern on Wednesday, then will play either a red hot St. Joe’s team or Cincy. Duke’s main danger will come from Baylor, who can beat them on the boards.

The Sooners got a real nice draw as they open with Cal State-Bakersfield, most likely play VCU and move on to face either Texas or Texas A&M.

Next week we will get deep into the teams that make it through this week. They don’t call it madness for no reason. It will be one crazy week of hoops!

Pletcher comes big

We had two Kentucky Derby prep races this past Saturday. In the Tampa Bay Derby, Destin, trained by Todd Pletcher, finished first while Outwork was second. The winner drew away from his barn mate late to not only break the track record but also earn the top Beyer number of the year for 3 year olds so far, a 100. This colt has really moved forward. The 5/2 chalk and one of the early Derby favorites, Brody’s Cause, who was making his 3 year old debut, never ran a step.

At Santa Anita they had a field of six in the San Felipe. Danzig Candy got a very easy lead on a speed-favoring course and took them wire to wire. The 8/5 Mor Spirit ran on for second and the 2/1 Exaggerator third after an eye popping closing run down the inside. It looked like he would keep going but the early effort may have gotten to him. Mor Spirit’s effort seemed the best from this handicapper’s point of view. All three runners will move on.

Almost Thursday!

Well, this play is a no brainer as we will all be wearing our green for Saint Paddy’s Day. Since the Irish play on Friday we will move the selection from our normal Thursday and take the Irish over either Michigan or Tulsa, who battle it out on Wednesday. The Irish, who are a 6 seed, will be around a pick’em vs. Michigan and a small 2-point favorite if is Tulsa time.

Right now, our record is 5-2 going into this week.

Get in our GT bracket buster contest. It’s free and, as always, you just never know, you could be walking around lucky and not even know it!

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GT’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Twitter: @SabesBet. Email: [email protected].

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