Best Bets of the Weekend for All Sports | March 23

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Best Bets of the Weekend - Gamble Online Michigan
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

Who says it has been a bad winter for Michigan college sports? The Michigan women open up NCAA Tournament play Saturday in Los Angeles, while there is a huge college hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State for the Big 10 Tournament title. Plus, I reveal my favorite March Madness Cinderella theory and give you a Sweet 16 pick.

NCAAW: NCAA Tournament Michigan vs. Kansas Best Bet

Kansas -1.5 (-108) at FanDuel

The Women’s NCAA Tournament starts with first round games Friday and Saturday. Michigan was sent out to Los Angeles to be in the Southern Cal “pod.” The Trojans are the top seed and one of the favorites to win it all.

Michigan earned the ninth seed after going 20-13 and finishing sixth in the Big 10. They are in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven years. This isn’t their best team. Iowa whipped them twice. They’re led by junior guard Laila Phelia who averages 16.8 points.

Kansas is in the tournament for the second time in the last three years. They are a lot like Michigan, a middle of the pack team in a big conference. The Jayhawks started 10-10, but then surged and have two Top 25 wins over K State and Oklahoma. Freshman guard S’Mya Nichols averages 15.2 a game.

With a spread like this, it’s basically a pick’em and Kansas has played a better schedule and has gotten better as the season goes on.

fanduel sportsbook
Kansas -1.5 (-108)

NCAAB: To Make Sweet Sixteen Best Bet

St. Mary’s (+150) at BetMGM

I know everyone has their favorite little ideas when making their NCAA Tournament bracket and bets, mine is simple: we always underrate the West Coast teams. It’s a simple reason why. The time zone difference keeps them from the mainstream media and no one knows how good they are. Then when the NCAA Tournament starts, one or two of them break through, like San Diego State last year.

St. Mary is my West Coast team this year. They beat Gonzaga two out of three times. They are second in the country in defense allowing only 58.7 points per game. They started 3-5, and then went on a 16-game win streak. They have international flavor in their lineup, with Augustas Marciulionus from Lithuania and Alex Ducas from Australia. They know how to play.

If seeds hold, they’d get Alabama in the second round. It would be the clash of the nation’s highest scoring team against a great defensive team. What do people always say? Defense wins championships. Take the BetMGM bet for the Gaels to reach the Sweet 16.

betmgm sportsbook
St. Mary’s (+150)

College Hockey: Michigan at Michigan State Best Bet

Michigan State -1.5 (+165) at DraftKings

All this talk about basketball…it’s still hockey season in Michigan. Sunday is Selection day for the NCAA Tournament, the 16-team cleverly named “Frozen Four.” But first, a little battle in East Lansing for the Big 10 Tournament title between Michigan State and Michigan.

This will be the fifth meeting of the season for these two teams. That’s nothing, sometimes they play nine times. It’s the most played rivalry in college hockey and this will be the 342nd meeting all time and first time for the Big 10 tournament title.

Michigan has been the best team in the Big 10 lately, reaching the Frozen Four in 2022 and 2023, but State has been revitalized after a long dry spell and become a big story. They’re No. 3 in the nation and led by Joey Larson with 15 goals. They’re going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.

Michigan State has won three of the four meetings this season. They keep it going at home.

draftkings sportsbook
Michigan State -1.5 (+165)

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.