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Blue Devils head into weekend atop 2019 NCAA Tournament odds

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Despite the Tennessee Volunteers sitting atop the college basketball polls for the third week in a row, they have been unable to supplant the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils from the No. 1 spot at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com as the favorites on the odds to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils are listed at +170 (bet $100 to win $170) to cut down the nets on April 1 in advance of Saturday’s ACC showdown with the Virginia Cavaliers while the Volunteers are the second choice to take home the title at +750.

Duke fell from the top spot of the polls following a surprising 95-91 overtime loss to the unranked Syracuse Orange as a 17-point home favorite on January 14. Since then, the Blue Devils have reeled off six consecutive wins though, going 4-2 against the spread during that stretch.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is riding a 17-game winning streak (10-6-1 ATS) since suffering its lone loss of the season to the 13th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 87-81 in OT as a 3.5-point underdog on the college basketball odds on November 23. The Jayhawks have lost three of their last four games overall, and they are currently the eighth choice to win the NCAA Tournament at +1600.

Virginia is the +800 fourth choice to win the NCAA Tournament right now and will have an excellent opportunity to move up in the polls and on the betting board with a home victory versus Duke on Saturday. The third-ranked Cavaliers lost the first meeting with the Blue Devils 72-70 on January 19 but beat the spread as 3.5-point road underdogs.

Other teams in the mix to win the national title include the fifth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (+900), seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines (+750), fourth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (+1000), ninth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (+1000), sixth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack (+2000) and eighth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (+2400).

The Wildcats host the Volunteers a week from Saturday in a huge SEC battle. North Carolina will also host Virginia on Monday in another big ACC game.

The 14th-ranked Villanova Wildcats, the defending national champions who have won the NCAA title in two of the past three years, are further down the March Madness odds board at +4000. Villanova is off to an impressive 10-0 start in Big East play going into a key conference road matchup with the 10th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Daytona 500 Odds: Betting Preview for Great American Race

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Winning the Great American Race once might generate confidence with bettors, but recent history shows that it means little once the race begins.

Joey Logano, one of the eight past champions in the field, is the +800 co-favorite on the Daytona 500 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Brad Keselowski (+800) and Kevin Harvick (+850) join Logano at the top of the board.

The favorites for the NASCAR Cup season opener at Daytona International Speedway also include Kyle Busch (+1200), who won in 2017, as well as Ryan Blaney (+1100), Clint Bowyer (+1100), Chase Elliott (+1100) and Denny Hamlin (+1100).

A chalk pick with Logano, who will start fourth, is justifiable, but the wide-open nature of motorsports means the value is farther down on the board and higher in the grid. Ten of the last 13 champions, including the last four, have been first-time winners. Five of the last six winners have started eighth or higher on the grid.

Picking Keselowski would mean being comfortable with a racer who has failed to finish in the last four runnings at Daytona International Speedway. Elliott is a big name bettors probably should fade, based on the fact he has also fared poorly on this track. Likewise, Harvick has failed to finish in four of his last five runnings on the track, while Kyle Busch has finished outside of the top five in each of the last two years.

Aric Almirola (+1100), who had the lead in the 2018 race until he crashed with a mile to go, still holds of a lot of value as bettors try to gauge whether he has put that misfortune in this showcase event behind him or it becomes some sort of mental millstone. Jimmie Johnson (+1800), who won the rain-shortened Advance Auto Parts Clash last Sunday, is one former champion who might worth taking a flier on.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+1500) has fared well in his recent restrictor-plate races and would fit the first-time winner trend. A darkhorse whose NASCAR odds for Sunday have dropped without killing his value, though, is Daniel Suarez (+2200), who ran well during the aforementioned Clash before getting stuck behind a wreck and ultimately finishing 10th.

It is tough enough to win Daytona twice in a lifetime, let alone twice in a row, so defending champion Austin Dillon (+3000) is well down the board at online sports betting sites. No driver has won the race twice in a row since Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Smith Jr., Curry, Team LeBron favorites on All-Star weekend NBA odds

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Overdoing it in the Slam Dunk Contest last year has given Dennis Smith Jr.’s odds a little more vertical, so to speak, entering NBA All-Star weekend.

Smith is the +200 favorite on the Slam Dunk Contest odds for Saturday in Charlotte at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The New York Knicks point guard was the favorite in the 2018 edition but a miss in the first round brought him back to earth, helping the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell – who’s not competing this time around – win the title.

The aesthetics of the dunk contest tend to favor players around the size of the six-foot-three Smith, who may have learned some lessons about the procedure of the event.

Miles Bridges (+225) of the host Charlotte Hornets is an explosive leaper who has the hometown advantage. The Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins (+225), as the tallest player competing, might be at a judging disadvantage.

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (+175) is the favorite on the Three-Point Contest odds, followed by defending champion Devin Booker (+450), Buddy Hield (+450), Seth Curry (+550), Kemba Walker (+900), Joe Harris (+900) and Damian Lillard (+900).

The fact that 10 players have won in the last 10 years highlights the randomness of the event. Beyond Stephen Curry, Booker offers excellent value in an event that is overdue for someone to win back-to-back, and Walker will be competing on his home floor, although no host-team player has won in the event’s 32-year history.

De’Aaron Fox (+250) has top odds in the Skills Challenge at betting sites, followed by Luka Doncic (+325), Trae Young (+375), Mike Conley (+550), Nikola Jokic (+600), Jayson Tatum (+600) and Kyle Kuzma (+700). International players comprise four of the last nine winners and Doncic might offer more upside than the favored Fox. The last three winners of this timed event have all been six-six or taller, so a skilled big such as the six-nine Kuzma poses a darkhorse threat.

As for the game on Sunday, Team LeBron is a 6-point betting favorite against Team Giannis. The higher value resides in the game MVP props, where superlative scorer Kevin Durant (+600) is co-favorite to win MVP with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team LeBron is loaded with three-point threats such as Durant, James himself (+650), James Harden (+1000), Klay Thompson (+4000), Damian Lillard (+4000) and Bradley Beal (+4000). Harden’s historic streak of 30-point games makes him an intriguing pick.

On the Team Giannis side, the Greek Freak himself would seem to pose the best chance; the game MVP always comes from the winning side and he would stand to play a major role in the betting-line underdog winning on these NBA odds.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.