After a year of forced retirement, I find myself over-competitive about a lot of things, and have started informally gambling on, well, just about everything. Without further ado, here are my house lines for a large handful of bets on the upcoming week in Sarasota.
6:1 on Polar Bears to win. You get good value here for a bet on a defending champion that has only upgraded their roster. The house thinks that championships aren’t just talent, and it’s more about getting hot at the right time. Long odds reflect how hard it is to get hot twice in a row.
5:2 on a final that is a combination of Blackbird, Wolverines, and/or Ghost. That’s a lot of experience and size coming from the Open and Women’s divisions in one year. Jeff Graham and Aaron Richards were both huge mismatches in open, like Chase was, and they have those athletic backup players that make the difference like Tyler Conger did.
2:1 on Slow White in the semis or better. Why so high on this group? History – roster stability. Slow seems to turn in big performances most years even with massive roster change. Institution knowledge about how to take themselves the right amount seriously in pressure situations. One of the Mixed teams that has most consistently earned respect from Open teams for the quality of the players coming out of this team. Their seeding finally respects that this year, even if other gamblers will write them off as an upset special.
3:1 on an undefeated team leaves the chase in Quarters.
4:1 on Wheelchair. Not bullish on a group that played great Open when they were in great shape. Are they in shape? You know Kubalanza will be. Everyone else might have a hard time motivating when the roster looks so strong.
10:1 on Chalant, and the house is terrified. This is a group that could catch a groove.
3:2 on the Beyondors in the final. Dugan factor.
Even money on Fury to win. Even if they didn’t have top talent, they have a knack for ignoring the score when they are down and just plugging away at what they do well.
2:1 on Riot. If it’s windy, the loss of Rohre to a ligament tear is going to be crucial. Can they keep Kawai & Griffith rested until the big games?
12:1 on a non-Fury-or-Riot team to win. That doesn’t mean a team has to beat them both, mind you…formats allow for beating just one if one of them slips. That’s why the house hates putting a line here on who will be in the final. One bad early East Coast morning and one of these teams could be chasing the format all weekend. Last minute odds will change if the weather stays nice, which will definitely play more to the speed of Traffic.
2:5 on Showdown to break seed. I like this team, call it a hunch.
2:1 on Revolver to win. Advice to new gamblers: If you can get an even bet of “the field vs. any one team”, you should take it immediately. Sarasota is a grueling weekend in the Open division, where blowouts are still 15-11 games. Revolver is stacked, but even the best team in the country is still just a Robbie Cahill ankle-turn away from an uphill battle. As deep as they are, this isn’t as big of a worry as it is, for example, for Doublewide. But Robbie changes the matchups around him in a way that makes everyone else’s job easier. In Revolver’s favor, though, is that teams that tank against them allow them to save on fuel later.
6.5:1 on Ring to win. “Get hot” factor.
3:1 on Doublewide in the final, which is gambling on the weather as much as anything. Hot, humid and windy is going to feel like home to Kurt, Brodie, Chris and Austin natives. More turnovers means a smaller group of players can play more points.
2:5 on Southpaw breaking seed. They play hard, and won’t be discouraged in the back door rounds. When brains and plans leave, I still like this team to win the late games that decide placement.
Even money on either Goat or Furious to finish the tournament with the most TMFs. No explanation given.
No line given on Ironside’s pre-bracket record. Flip a coin: they are either the dominant team that only lost a single game last year with a new star in Peter Prial, or they are facing a hungry TruckStop and then powerpools against Double and Chain.
3:1 on Chain to win, which is bullish. Strong team with a renewed emphasis on quickness (their Achilles heal last year). Zip as their Patrick Ewing? Greg Swanson is one of the best 10 male handlers currently playing this sport. Cahill, Hassell, Kachikawa, Holt, Matsuno and Brodie are also on that list. It’s not odd that the best cutters now are trending shorter/quicker, while the best handlers are taller? It’s not odd, it’s matchups.
5:2 on everyone agreeing that certain always-smiling NexGen player should be on the all-tournament team when the dust settles.
Gamble away. Not with me, because, you know, that’s illegal. Good luck all.