March Madness Tournament Bracket Info

Does tournament playing site favor any team. For instance the Metro Atlantic tournament will be played at the Times-Union Center in Albay – the home floor of the Albany Great Danes – and the Mountain West Conference will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas – the home court of UNLV. Also keep in mind some tournaments play the first round on the home floor of teams with the bettor record and then shift to a neutral site.
How a team has performed on the road, or on neutral floors, during the regular season offers important insight into how it will perform at tournament time. For the record Auburn is 10-3 away from home, Duke is 10-4 while Kentucky is 5-7 and Vanderbilt 0-12.

Strength of schedule is a vital part of the winning equation. Here are the teams that have played the strongest schedules of all the 351 teams. In order, here are the teams that have played the toughest schedules in the country. Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Xavier, Texas A&M, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Temple. At the other end of the spectrum, in 51st place., is Alabama A&M.

Current form is extremely important. Two perfect examples of this are Oklahoma (16-11) and Utah (17-9). The Sooners opened the season 14-2 and earned a national ranking but in their last 10 games are 2-8 straight up (SU) and 1-9 against the spread (ATS). As for Utah, the Runnin’ Utes opened their season respectably but all at once seemed to wake up and stand 4-0 in their last four games and two contests back took Arizona to the money in Tucson before losing 74-73 to a Wildcat team that had to hit 64.4% of its field goals to win.

Check and then double-check the injury list to make certain there are no key players out with injuries. For instance, what is the status of Duke superstar forward Marvin Bagley (21.17 points, 11.42 rebounds per game) who has missed the team’s last three games with a knee injury? Will Notre Dame finally get back superstar forward Bonzie Colson (21.4 points, 10.4 rebounds per game) who has missed the last 14 games with a foot injury?

Coaches earn their keep at tournament time and it simply a matter of fact those that have won at tournament time year after year are strong candidates to keep right on doing so.
The spacing of games is extremely important. The winner of the Big East Tournament has to win four games in five days to get the automatic invite to the NCAA Tournament. Tiring, to say the least and teams with depth always have a slight edge. The team with the most overall quality depth is Wichita State which runs 11 players deep.

An underdog that pulls off a major upset is a strong candidate to lose its next game.
There are many elements to winning at tournament time but these eight basics should arm you for success this year.

Written by Mike Anthony for VegasTopDogs.

​Which NFL team has the best WR tandem in 2017

In Green Bay – when healthy, anyone with eyes and common sense could say Adams & Jordy can easily be called the best when they are on the field. 26 TDs and 2254 YDs between them in 2016 certainly makes a strong case for them to be called the best WR tandem. But, this season, under some extenuating circumstances, they have just an avg of around 48 YD/game between them and only a handful of combined big plays so far, for Green Bay takes them quickly out of the discussion for this season.
In 2016 everyone was all about Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. A couple of players who have both shown their awesome skills when playing. In 2017 – Crabtree has put up only 601 yards receiving and Cooper is adding just 42 YDs/game. Not great numbers to me. TE Jared Cook is leading the team in receiving yards, 1st downs, and YDs/catch for any player with 25 or more for the team.
What happened? The Oakland OC Todd Downing – messed up the Raiders offense up in a strange way this year. Cooper can play like a man against boys, at times on the field, with his skills and speed. For fans who don’t like Crabtree – will always find a low end flaw – but honestly they are ignoring his skillset. Solid, it is not even close how steady he has been, and you can’t ignore the 30 year old’s career numbers.
How about mentioning DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller? Hopkins is getting 94 YDs/game.  And Fuller is chipping in with 16/YPC. The huge advantage that Hopkins has over many top WRs is really very obvious to me. As we all have seen this WR play with 10+ different QBs in 5 seasons, and continue to put up 1000 YD seasons and produce TDs. One genuinely could argue the case that Hopkins isnt truly one of the top 3 WRs in the league. He is the biggest and the most serious difference maker on a Houston team when it comes to wide receivers. Hopkins always makes his QBs better, and Fuller is that 15+ YPC guy that every team needs.
Philly has a pretty nasty combo in Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Yes – it was just 1 year ago, no one cared about Agholor. When he came out of USC, he was watched with very lofty expectations, including by myself. After only 36 receptions and just a pitiful 10.1 YD/catch – along with a huge dropsy problem – it was getting easy to toss him by the wayside thinking he was just yet another WR bust. Not so fast. In 2017 – Agholor has gotten the Eagles a 52 YDs /game, and Jeffery has been nothing but excellent with his nose for the end zone. And if we are being honest – no team has really stopped them. Maybe not the biggest numerical WRs in the game, but they have been unstoppable as a tandem so far. Alshon is one of the strongest WRs in the league, at 6-4 and 230lbs, he seems to find a way to catch the ball at the 10 and can drag it along another 3-4 more yards, with DBs draped on him.
But, Minnesota has some special things going on up North, in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. They have a few guys who have been nothing but a blessing for OC Pat Shurmur. With 9 games of 90 YDs receiving or more between them, they both have awesome and precise route running and loading up a hefty total average of about 145 YPG – how can it be possible to look passed these deadly Minnesota WRs?
Thielen has been more productive in yards than the high priced Jeffery, and Diggs has been far more productive than big prospect Cooper this season. We are looking about play production. On a back to the wall situation, 3rd and long, :05 seconds left – your going to want Diggs and Thielen getting open for your team. No disrespect to any of the other WRs listed and many other excellent players, but I am going with these 2 based on their ability to split DBs, and find the pockets to get the ball. They are also really good blockers. They are guys that are playing with a QB in Case Keenum who before this 2017 season, was averaging just 6.7 YPA and around 205 YDs passing/game. One could argue he has turned the game around and the game has finally slowed down for him after 6 seasons, yes. But, for the sake of argument, lets also consider the fact that in 2017 – Keenum is throwing for 20 TDs and around 248 YPG, based on his WR threats.
When Diggs is in the game – it allows Adam to get more one on one coverage – which means more opportunity. Thielen is a true student of the game (which is always a great respectful thing to see) and seems to also be very well liked by his teammates. Which says a lot for his personality to go along with the “Great Adam Thielen story”.Thielen has the best hands in the league, in my opinion – and he is an unbelievable route runner and clutch performer.  With 12 games with 5 or more catches and 7 games of 10+ targets this season for the Vikes. As well as Diggs running great routes, which are always crisp and clean. When Diggs came out of Maryland – he was not seen as a genuine WR1 but he has shown with hard work and determination, a player can succeed. No one has been able to really shut down this combination. As they have stacked up a total of 10 games of averaging 15+ YDs/catch between them.
After so many recent years of 2 yard swing passes and running the ball for what seemed like 40 carries/game – Minnesota has something very special going on Diggs and Thielen have arrived, at just 24 and 27 years old, their assault on DBs should stay around for many, many seasons to come, bringing many happy seasons to Minnesota fans. As long as they stay healthy, and the Vikes keep the play calling as good as it has been, these guys are the beast of the NFL.

​Deshaun Watson on pace for the NFL Rookie of the Year

Watson played for Clemson, and was a special guy that many watched in awe as he made big play after big play.
Entertaining Clemson fans – bringing the Tigers to the National Championship, and winning it all, beating the favored Alabama Crimson Tide, 35-31. Deshaun Watson was drafted 12th overall by the Houston Texans in 2017. When picked as the QB for any team – you have the teams and fans pressure on you immediately.  What kind of NFL player will you be? Will you bust, or will you be the next big star for the franchise?
After 6 games, 216 passing YD/gm, 15 passing TDs, and 82.3 QB rating to go with a great skill set, Watson is answering those important and typical questions. During 2017 – the vast majority of analysts and media outlets downplayed the QBs that were coming out in the NFL draft. DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, and Watson were all looked at as those young guys who would need time and patience.
DeShone Kizer has been terrible for the Browns so far with 3 TDs, 11 picks, and a horrible 47.8 QB rating. Mitch Trubisky hasn’t been great for the Bears either. Only getting 116 YPG, and showing no semblance of pocket presence is nothing for Chicago fans to get too hyped up about. And 10th overall pick, Patrick Mahomes hasn’t needed to see the field for the Chiefs as of yet.
Deshaun has been the quiet surprise that has been really caught many by the jawline and brought smiles for the Texans. Sitting in the entire NFL with 216 passing YD/gm – isn’t too shabby for a 22 year old QB who many thought was going to be another “patience” player to come out this year.  He has shown leadership in the pocket and a calmness around him when things get ugly and fall apart. His running ability makes him that much more dangerous, as he has also picked up huge 1st downs, and has a lethally good 7.2 YPC when taking off, when needing too. And in reality, he has transformed Houston’s offense very quickly.
With a 61.5% completion pct – which is currently better than NFL vets Matthew Stafford, and Philip Rivers- it is easy to see why many Houston fans are feeling pretty good with their 1st rd pick. Watson has already put together a resume of three 3+ TD passing games, three games of 250+ passing YDs, and with his 5 TD explosion vs a playoff contending Chiefs team, he really shined. Eyes opened up in a bigtime hurry about the guy playing QB in Houston.
Having a core WR group of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller is nice to get when lining up in the backfield, but besides career 4800 YD receiver, Hopkins . And Fuller is really more of just a speed guy – yet Watson is making them both better on the field, as he is kind of building his own story back there. Even TE Ryan Griffin, had numbers in 2016 of just 19 first downs and this season, he has become a legit concern for LBs to contain when they are trying to keep drives going. Watson has Fuller picking up 19.3 YPC – to his 13.5 from last season and already more than doubled his TD output. That speak massive volumes for his innate ability to make others better around him.
The Texans are playing loose football now – because they already own one of the leagues better defense ranking them 7th in the league for total yards. And a 10th league ranking for passing yards allowed at 203/game. Now, with Watson at the helm – they can afford to have some leeway with their play calling, allowing him to throw the ball, as well as try to get 26 year old RB, Lamar Miller more involved in the game. As his experiment in Houston has been nothing short of a huge disappointment, so far. If a team can get production from their QB – it always will open up lanes for the RB. And as well as long as the RB is making teams gather around the line, the QB can have a few seconds to get his passing game moving. It’s a system that we all know.
And of course, with a player like Watson – his dangerous running ability just adds to the threat on the field. I am not a big fan of “running QBs” – I have never said I have been, but when a QB has shown they can pass the ball, from the pocket with real NFL level of accuracy, like he has at 62% – and also bring the dangerous ability to be able to run the ball, if things break down, that is when I appreciate the game of that style of QB.
Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, and even Joe Theismann were all examples of the “QB who can run” – Watson is showing very early in his career, he can be one of those kind of players.
Like the talking heads of other media outlets –  I looked at the 2017 QB draft class and shook my head – thinking they were a class of nobodies. Nothing special was coming out of this QB class. Watson has done nothing but show me and the other “nobodies” just how wrong we may have been.
Deshaun Watson has showing through 6 games so far, that his QB skill set is more than just a glance and run. He can play with the best of the best – Houston better be ready to run with the special player – because he can take them far. He has shown he is best when the game means the most – it has been his calling card in football for his career. Watson is gonna be that guy for Houston.

Early College Football Lines for Week 1

Compliments of South Point Casino/Sportsbook in Las Vegas.
Last year’s schedule in Week 1 was one of the best ever,  said Mike Anthony, VegasTopDogs expert handicapper and former oddsmaker. The fact that these games are going up at the end of May will really jump-start the wagering handle now and throughout the summer months. These games will see a lot of action getting posted so early.
The South Point’s opening lines (home team in CAPS):
Saturday, Aug. 26
COLORADO STATE  -2  Oregon State
Hawaii  -1  MASSACHUSETTS
South Florida  -25  SAN JOSE STATE
Stanford  -38  Rice @Sydney, Australia

Thursday, Aug. 31
Ohio State  -21  INDIANA
MINNESOTA  -31  Buffalo
MEMPHIS  -23  Louisiana-Monroe
ARIZONA STATE -26  New Mexico State

Friday, Sept. 1
EASTERN MICHIGAN  -12.5  Charlotte
Washington  -33  RUTGERS
Navy  -21  FLORIDA ATLANTIC
WISCONSIN  -37  Utah State
NORTHERN ILLINOIS  -2  Boston College
Colorado  Off  Colorado State @Denver

Saturday, Sept. 2
MICHIGAN STATE  -18  Bowling Green
IOWA  -11.5  Wyoming
Miami (Ohio)  -8.5  MARSHALL
CLEMSON  -40  Kent State
Massachusetts  Off  COASTAL CAROLINA
PENN STATE  -39  Akron
Louisville  -27  Purdue @Indianapolis
NEBRASKA  -19  Arkansas State
CENTRAL FLORIDA  -21  Florida International
NORTHWESTERN  -28  Nevada
ILLINOIS  -11  Ball State
OKLAHOMA  -48  Texas-El Paso
NORTH CAROLINA  -14  California
MISSISSIPPI  -22.5  South Alabama
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA  -19  Western Michigan
Louisiana State  -8  Brigham Young @Houston
TEXAS  -23  Maryland
NOTRE DAME  -11  Temple
AUBURN  -36  Georgia Southern
GEORGIA  -11  Appalachian State
Kentucky  -13.5  SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
Houston  -17  TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO
North Carolina State  -8  South Carolina @Charlotte
OKLAHOMA STATE  -10  Tulsa
Michigan  -3  Florida @Arlington, Texas
Vanderbilt  -10.5  MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Alabama  -4  Florida State @Atlanta
BOISE STATE  -5  Troy

Sunday, Sept. 3
Virginia Tech  -5  West Virginia @Landover, Md.
UCLA  -4  Texas A&M

Monday, Sept. 4
Tennessee  -3  Georgia Tech @Atlanta

Check out VegasTopDogs for more sports betting info, predictions and articles.

Tony Romo or Dak Prescott

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A few months ago I was going to write the Cowboys will be fine going with Dak Prescott as the #2 QB behind Tony Romo.  Then the play that changed this article and the Cowboy’s season with Romo breaking a bone in his lower back in the pre-season.  The Dallas Cowboys currently sit at 3-1 after a win today over the SF 49ers and Romo is still expected to be out another month.

Dak Prescott was a 4th round draft pick has had a good enough preseason for the Cowboys to name him the starter. Prescott has shown Russell Wilson ‘esk’ qualities and hasn’t turned the ball over yet through 4 games.   I am not saying he’s the next Russell Wilson, however he has shown his type of leadership and play! The major thing that Prescott has going for him is the other 10 players around him. One of the best offensive lines in the league, plus weapons like of Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witton, Cole Beasley and 1st round pick RB Ezekiel Elliott who has been a stud so far.

Time of possession will a important key for Dallas this season. The more they can keep the ball, the less their defense will be on the field, which is one of their biggest question marks!  I think he will come back on October 30th after their BYE week against the Eagles.  If that happens it will be eight weeks since the injury. Let’s see how this plays out. One thing is for sure, you are going to be hearing about this a thousands times thanks to the media and if the Cowboys are 6-1 or 5-2 I think you have to stay with Dak.

Written by Mike Anthony for VegasTopDogs.