Mike Stewart / Associated Press
Saturday, April 1, 2023 | 2 a.m.
The NCAA Tournament remains the top betting attraction in Las Vegas sports books for its final few days, but the gap is thinning.
There’s a lot more sports drawing interest and therefore dollars with the start of the new Major League Baseball season as well as leagues like the NHL closing in on the playoff race. Bets are also already flying for next week’s first and most prestigious golf major of the year, the Masters.
Weekend Wagers is going to dip into all of it in a return after a two-week hiatus to focus solely on the tournament. I’ve already locked a pair of Final Four wagers to be tracked here — Adama Sanogo to win Most Outstanding Player ($200 to win $600) and Matt Bradley over 11.5 points ($220 to win $200) — and will place one more below.
But options are diverse this weekend as a whole, so let’s celebrate that by handicapping it all below.
Read on for this week’s weekend wagers. Odds are the best currently available in Las Vegas at publication time with the sports book noted. Plays outside of the column will be linked and tracked in the record at the bottom of the page.
MLB (0-0, $0): Los Angeles Angels -170 vs. Oakland A’s (BetMGM)
$340 to win $200
The Angels started this year’s campaign with a 2-1 loss to the A’s on Thursday despite 10 strikeouts from Shohei Ohtani, and the response was predictable. Same ol’ Angels, on pace for another highly disappointing season. But I’m not buying into that talk, especially not after a single game. I think the Angels are in store for a much better season, and a big reason is the man on the mound today. Los Angeles’ rotation is looking much better, and Patrick Sandoval has a lot to do with that. The 26-year-old was excellent at the end of last season and should pick up where he left off against a light-hitting A’s side. This number should be more around -200.
XFL (2-2, $70): Vegas Vipers -3 vs. San Antonio Brahmas (STN Sports)
$165 to win $150
The hometown XFL team’s constant quarterbacking flip-flop between Luis Perez and Brett Hundley was getting old, so props to them in ending it by trading the former away earlier this week. Hundley gives the struggling Vipers a better chance anyway. Vegas should get its second win of the season today at Cashman Field as San Antonio is statistically even worse than it. The Brahmas haven’t been able to move the ball with any consistency, while the Vipers’ biggest issue is turnovers. The former is more predictive than the latter, and that’s part of the reason why Vegas should at least be a 3.5-point favorite.
College basketball (1-2, -$195): San Diego State -145 moneyline vs. Florida Atlantic (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
$290 to win $200
Scoring is projected to be sparse in this game considering the total of 131.5, so every point is worth ever-so-slightly more in the betting market. That’s why I think the moneyline in the first Final Four game is off. A 2.5-point spread in favor of San Diego State — which looks about right to me — should correspond to about a -150 moneyline typically but arguably even more in this instance. I’m pretty confident the Aztecs win outright today, but not eager to lay any points, so a moneyline wager it is.
NHL (0-3, -$680): Vegas Golden Knights -110 vs. Minnesota Wild (SuperBook)
$220 to win $200
Marc-Andre Fleury is set to return to T-Mobile Arena this evening, but it’s unlikely he’s as effective as he was in his heyday with the Golden Knights. The 38-year-old has fallen off drastically in Minnesota this year to the point where he’s a clear second option behind Filip Gustavsson. The Golden Knights have their own issues in goal to go with injury concerns, but they should be on their best form after dropping a winnable game in San Jose on Thursday. Vegas should be about -120 on home ice against the most popular player in franchise history.
NHL (0-3, -$680): Arizona Coyotes +105 vs. San Jose Sharks (SuperBook)
$200 to win $210
I couldn’t find anything I liked in the NBA — either on Saturday’s two-game slate or in futures markets — so I’m throwing in a bonus NHL play. There’s a strong chance Kahkonen starts in net for the Sharks, and whenever that happens, it’s worth betting against them regardless of the circumstances. And the circumstances admittedly aren’t great here with Arizona playing on a back-to-back with goalie Connor Ingram expected to start. But the Coyotes have been more competitive than expected all season, including recently, and aren’t outmanned by the Sharks to begin with. If they’re squaring off against Kahkonen, they should be favored to win.
NASCAR (2-1, $190): Ryan Blaney to win Toyota Owners 400 at 20-to-1 (Golden Nugget)
$100 to win $2,000
The Ford driver doesn’t have strong history at Richmond, and it doesn’t make any sense. The short track with high tire wear should fit perfectly with Blaney’s strengths as a driver. Maybe this is the race where he breaks out. Speed isn’t supposed to lie, and Blaney has driven one of the fastest cars in the NASCAR Cup series all year. It’s gotten old to bet on him constantly for the last couple years without any winning results, but I still believe they’re coming eventually. Maybe they’re coming now with his price having drifted this high. Blaney is more commonly 18-to-1 at other sports books, but that’s also worth taking.
Golf (0-2, -$400): Thomas Pieters to be the top finishing LIV golfer at Masters at 25-to-1 (Caesars/William Hill)
$80 to win $2,000
The longtime DP World Tour standout might not be the biggest-name golfer on the floundering Saudi-backed LIV Tour, but he’s one of the best. He also has a previous fourth-place finish in the Masters, in 2017, and a skillset that should sync with Augusta National. This is way too high of a price on Pieters in what figures to be one of the most popular index prop markets for the next week’s major. I couldn’t find any more current outright prices to pair with my position on Scottie Scheffler from the last Weekend Wagers column this week, but this looks like a particularly strong bet in a corresponding market.
Weekend betting column year to date: 12-17, -$240
Weekend betting column all-time: 491-514-5, $17,886.95
Previous pending future wagers: Vegas Golden Knights at 15-to-1 to win the 2023 Stanley Cup ($200 to win $3,000); Giannis Antetokounmpo to win NBA MVP at 7-to-1 ($300 to win $2,100); Minnesota Timberwolves to win Northwest Division at +150 ($200 to win $300); Minnesota Timberwolves to win Western Conference at 15-to-1 ($100 to win $1,500); Minnesota Timberwolves to win NBA Finals at 33-to-1 ($75 to win $2,475); New Orleans Pelicans to win Southwest Division at +350 ($200 to win $700); New Orleans Pelicans to win Western Conference at 24-to-1 ($50 to win $1,200); New Orleans Pelicans to win NBA Finals at 55-to-1 ($50 to win $2,750); Golden State Warriors under 53 wins ($220 to win $200); Los Angeles Clippers under 52.5 wins ($220 to win $200); Boston Celtics to win the NBA Finals at 7-to-1 ($300 to win $2,100); Chicago Blackhawks to have lowest regular season point total at 6-to-1 ($200 to win $1,200); Luka Doncic to win NBA MVP at 4-to-1 ($450 to win $1,800); Boston Celtics to win Atlantic Division at -220 ($660 to win $300); Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); Atlanta Braves at 5-to-1 to win the National League ($300 to win $1,500; Atlanta Braves at 10-to-1 to win the World Series ($300 to win $3,000); Buffalo Bills at 9-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($300 to win $2,700); Scottie Scheffler at 13-to-1 to win the Masters ($200 to win $2,600); Adama Sanogo at 3-to-1 to win Final Four Most Outstanding Player ($200 to win $600); Matt Bradley over 11.5 points in national semifinal ($220 to win $200)
Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or