The latest mock brackets for the NCAA tournament have UConn, Pitt, UNC and Oklahoma occupying the number one seeds. Of those four, Oklahoma is the only safe bet not to make it to the elite eight. They’ve fallen from the ranks of a deserving number one seed, losing not only without Griffin lately, but with him, as well. They’re shaky right now, let’s see how they regroup for the Big 12 tournament. I’d put my basketball betting money on Memphis as a safer bet to get to the final four than the Sooners.

Continuing on, the current #2 seeds are Duke, Memphis, Michigan State and Louisville. Again, I see an odd man out here in Michigan State. Some argue they haven’t done enough to grab a number one seed, but I’ll take it a step further and say Kansas has done more than them to earn a number two seed right now, especially after the dousing they gave Missouri, who in turn earned a big home win themselves over Oklahoma. But it’s really a toss-up. In a heads-up match, though, my college basketball betting money would be on Kansas over Oklahoma. With the way Oklahoma’s been playing lately, and Missouri’s weakness being away from home, you have to bet on Kansas as a favorite in the Big 12 tournament. If they win, it should guarantee them a number two seed in the tournament. Oklahoma could fall to a number two with another loss, as well. And while I’ve ragged on Mizzou in the past NBA odds, I really thought they’d done enough, even if they don’t win the Big 12 tournament, to earn a number 3 seed come NCAA tourney time. That was, of course, until they tanked it against Texas A&M. Welcome to the 4 or 5 seed MU.

Checking out the latest college basketball odds I breezed over UNC, but they deserve a mention about their defense, and why it could be a big difference maker for you when filling out your bracket. For something that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, a few statistics worth citing. First, the team is in the top 25 in the nation in defensive efficiency. Second, they are the top team in the nation in scoring margin (and no, that’s not just running it up on the other end). And third, people said the same thing about them in 2005…obviously not a crystal ball, but you can never be too sure what you believe from the “experts” these days. So, while they might not be an elite defensive team, you really couldn’t say right now it’s an Achilles Heel for them by any means.

The semi-finals are upon us. UConn vs. Michigan St. and UNC vs. Villanova. Two clear college basketball betting favorites here, but much room for debate and analysis when it comes to betting on these Final Four games next weekend.

For the first match up, UConn vs. Michigan St., expect of course UConn to be moderate favorites. I see the Spartans going in as 4-point dogs, and I’ll tell you what – take Michigan St. This is a team on a mission. They stifled Louisville and held them to 38% field goal shooting. UConn struggled with Missouri’s less-impressive but still formidable defense on Saturday, and for all their hype and talent, couldn’t put Missouri away late even though Missouri seemed to miss every big shot possible down the stretch of the last 7-8 minutes.

UConn, however, should win the battle of the boards, which should help them keep the momentum on their side in the transition game. Michigan State will be able to keep up, but the danger comes if they’re calling too many timeouts in a short span of time. The Spartans probably feel better about their upset win than the Huskies do about their squeaker…so the confidence and momentum is probably rolling in green at the moment.

In the end, though, I’m picking Michigan St. as a straight upset in this one, but certainly to cover the spread. I think they’ll jump out to an early lead, maybe build it up to 8 or 9 by midway through the first half, then the two teams will fight back and forth, UConn will wear the Spartans down a little inside and make it close, but not close enough.

OK, on to game #2, which should decisively see UNC crush Villanova. I’ve all season long said Oklahoma was the best team in the Big 12, which was one of the top 3 conferences in all of the NCAA this year, and UNC handled them. The game Sunday wasn’t as close as the final score (still a dozen in favor of the Tarheels) would have you think.

Ty Lawson and Danny Green looked fantastic as they dealt with the Sooners and so-called superstar Blake Griffin. Griffin got his points, but the rest of Sooners went a painfully atrocious 2-19 behind the arc. Nova won’t fare any better against the Tarheels defense.

Look, Nova plays with energy, but is only riding a 4-game winning streak, and their depth is their Achilles heel. If you really watch Nova you realize quickly their scorers are their starters, their defense is their starters. Fisher may have made the winning shot over Pitt, but that doesn’t pass for depth. UNC’s guards are much stronger than those of Pitt, and be prepared for them to run circles around Nova. All UNC has to do here is play smart, disciplined ball and make their shots. They should roll.

While no one is going to have a 100% success rate when betting basketball, there are some tactics one can successfully employ to ensure they are maximizing their edge when betting on basketball. These five tips on basketball betting are designed to help increase the bettor’s advantage when betting on basketball over the basketball-betting career.

Basketball Betting Bankroll Management

One should never put too many eggs in one basket. When betting on The Nicks, it is wise to bet no more than 2% of one’s betting bankroll on any single game. This ensures that a surprise loss will not wipe the bettor out.

Pick your Spots

When betting on basketball, a bettor should pick and choose their spots. Just because games occur in mass daily does not mean a bettor must wager on every game each day. Nor does it mean that a bettor should wager on every game for the entire season on a specific team. Pick your spots. Bet when a basketball team has an edge with respect to both the line and against their opposition. If you cannot find the edge, do not bet. Patience is key to successful basketball betting.

Avoid the Lengthy Road Trip

While some basketball teams may perform well on the road, avoid giving action to teams that are playing multiple games in a short period of time, especially when playing on the road. Few basketball teams fare well when tasked with playing against four teams over a five or six day span. During the end of their tiresome road trip, teams begin to under-perform. Do not let their underperformance affect your bankroll.

When the Line is Close, Find the Money

When betting the dog in basketball, instead of taking the dog and points when the NBA lines are between plus 1 and plus three, consider betting the money line on an outright win. The money line will pay better on the straight up win than you will receive taking the underdog with points. If a basketball team is worth betting when they are being spotted a mere few points, they are certainly worth betting for an outright win.

Do Not Marry the Trends

While trends can uncover some amazing things in basketball betting, one should not marry the trends. Supposing a visiting team dominates the home team religiously, beating them by an average of four points the last seven out of ten times. While this statistic suggests the visitors own the home team, it does not ensure a profitable bet can be guaranteed when wagering on the visitor. A bettor must remember that if they have uncovered a trend in basketball betting, the odds makers have already factored this trend into their line. Thus, the value of knowing a trend has already been priced into their line.

March 21: Hawks at Cavs: Atlanta’s quietly put itself in the #4 seed in the East, just under the three powerhouse teams, of which the Cavs are a part of. Won’t matter come Saturday, expect a 9-point line in favor of the Cavs, who, despite Atlanta’s 6-game win streak to match that of Cleveland’s, will roll over the Hawks. The Cavs, despite what I still consider to be a great NBA betting option, and a lack of championship depth, will almost assuredly increase their record-threatening home record pace. By the way, Cleveland beats teams by an average of 9 points a game…best in the entire league.

March 21: New York Knicks at Orlando: Another great Eastern Conference Saturday game, this time between a team in the Magic trying to prove they belong in that elite class, and the Knicks, beaming from a renewed sense of confidence stemming from their recent and unexpected road success. The Knicks still have a mountain to climb to reach that #8 spot, but to hear it from their mouths, they have as good a shot as anyone. I doubt it, though. The stink from Isaiah Thomas’ awful management skills will keep this team down for at least another year. I’ll put the NBA Odds at 2:1 and give the Magic a 7-point line, but I wouldn’t be so quick to plunk down a huge chunk of change on them. Confidence can carry a team a long way, especially on the road these days. If the line is that large, I’d give the Knicks a chance.

March 21: Lakers at Bulls: Sticking with the Saturday theme, and since this one is on national TV for everyone to watch, the best team in the West comes and visits the two-faced, often inexplicably horrible Chicago Bulls. As much as it pains me to speak ill of my Bulls, they’re just an NBA odds train wreck. For a team with this much talent, they should be right up there with the Hawks fighting for home court in the first round, but instead they’re fighting with the Bucks, Knicks and others for the right to get plowed by the Cavs. How ironic it used to be Chicago waiting to prey on the sacrificial #8 seed. Anyway, Lakers get a 10-point line here, and easily cover. Bulls will start to fade even more as we come down the home stretch. All they can hope for is another miracle in the lottery and maybe some production out of their big men next year.

The NBA draft is usually something to look forward to each year as a sports fan. It’s arguably the sport with the most recognizable names and faces, making for dramatic announcements and trades throughout the event. This year, however, once you got past Griffin, it started to go downhill pretty quick into obscurity. Nevertheless, there are some gems in the college basketball betting field that you’ll want to study and follow throughout their rookie season. If they don’t have an immediate impact on their team winning games this coming season, they just might during their sophomore year. Or, they might not. Hate to play spoiler, but there’s a whole lot of Sam Bowie potential in this year’s draft.

I’m actually going to start with Blake, because I think, while the basketball betting Clippers really had no choice, he’s nowhere near the game changer everyone seems to think he is. I can see him settling in as a nice Ron Artest, 14 points per game type guy, but in no way would I predict (or put money on) him rising to superstar, or even star, status. Bet on him being a role player that’s capable of creating his own shot when he needs to. His size gets him caught in-between positions, which could actually work out to be a good thing for him. He can muscle away some smaller forwards, but can’t really bang with the big guys down low. Don’t get caught up in the hype, avoid the Clippers as you normally would.

Hasheem Thabeet lands on the Grizzlies, a team still in search of a point. Not a point guard, just a point of existence. That aside, this athletic shot-blocker is a one-dimensional option who didn’t really deserve to go No. 2. I’m getting tired of NBA players who can’t score. It’s the big leagues, boys, you should be able to do everything, and really well. I don’t care how well you can jump for a rebound, leave the Ben Wallace’s, Joakim Noah’s and Thabeet’s at home and give me some more points. Defense might win championships, but offense wins fans, baby. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you Thabeet won’t have much of an impact on the Grizzlies’ winning percentage this year or the next.

And finally, Ricky Rubio. Yeah, for some reason the Wolves den is now crowded with rookie point guards, but Rubio will be the star, and he WILL impact the team’s winning percentage. Even at the ripe young age of 18, you can expect some flash and dazzle from him. Now, the Wolves were 24-58 last year, I wouldn’t exactly bank on them getting back to the playoffs (nor would they have a shot at escaping the first round even if they did). But a 9-10 game turnaround is not out of the question, nor is a .500 season the next year. If you’re watching the Wolves as either a team to bet on or against, you also have to wonder if a Jonny Flynn deal is actually going to come? And if not, how long until someone gets unhappy about playing time?

Online poker is a growing trend. Before when someone wanted to play poker they either had to drive to the casino, or they had to gather a group of their friends to play. Now when a person feels the need for a game of poker all they have to do is connect to the internet.

While no one is denying that online poker is convenient, not everyone is completely comfortable with the idea. Since playing online poker means feeding the player’s credit card number into the computer, players wonder if they putting their financial security at risk, the concern is that someone will hack the systems database and steal the credit card number. The second concern people have with the concept of playing online poker is that they will lose track of how much money they have lost.

The safety of online poker totally depends on the person who is playing. Just like with most things, playing online poker requires a certain degree of common sense. When you use good judgment, you can maintain financial security and also enjoy a good game of poker.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are playing poker on a reputable website. The best and most secure, online poker sites are the ones that are directly affiliated with real world casinos. The best plan is to use the online poker room that is directly connected to your favorite casino.

You should avoid using your real credit card when you are registering to play. If you are interested in playing online poker you should get a prepaid credit card. These are really easy to use and can be purchased at just about every grocery store or pharmacy The pre-paid credit card means that even if the poker room does get hacked and your credit card number gets lifted, you won’t have to worry about being bankrupt.

Not only does the pre-paid credit card help you protect your credit, it can also prevent you from loosing track of how much money you have lost during the course of a game. Only put as much money on the card as you can afford to lose during the course of a game. Keep the card by your computer and make sure that it is the only card you use for playing poker. When the funds run out, you are done playing. Before you start to play decide if the amount you currently have on your pre-paid credit is going to be for a day, a week, or a month of poker playing.

In addition to being wise with your credit card when you play at PokerStar, you also want to make sure that you are going to actually be able to play. Some online casinos, no matter how well run, simply aren’t compatible with all computer. The best way to make sure that you won’t have any trouble playing poker online is to download a demo. If the online casino doesn’t have a decent demo than you should look for another online casino that does.

Poker has always been one of the most popular card games in the world. The only game that even comes close to matching it in popularity is blackjack. Considering the international appeal of poker it should come as no surprised that the online game that gets the most attention at online casinos is poker. If you are new to the idea of playing poker online, the experience can become a little intimidating. The newcomers often have no idea how to figure out what they should be doing.

Learn the Game

If you have never had the chance to play poker online before, online casinos are not the place to start learning. The only thing that is going to happen is that you end up getting seriously frustrated with how long it takes you to learn the game. By the time you do learn, the other players who were using the virtual poker room will have gotten tired and gone somewhere else to play. Instead of trying to learn how to play fire during the course of a game, you need to go to the library and pick up some books about the subject. Once you have learned the rules of poker you should have a friend help you play the game with you. Playing with a friend will allow you to really familiarize yourself with the game and learn the nuances at your own pace.

Be Honest About Your Skill

When you are ready to start exploring the online casinos you need to be honest about your skill level. The more honest you are, the least likely you will be to get in over your head. There are several online poker rooms that are perfect for novice and beginner poker players; you just have to be willing to swallow your pride and sign up for these rooms.

Consider Your Finances

The amount of money you can afford to lose during the course of a game is going to play a part in the poker room that you choose. The more money you are willing to spend, the more options you have. If you are on a limited budget you should look for a room with a very low limit. Remember that your funds will quickly disappear when you first start playing poker. It will take a little time before you are earning any significant money.

If you are known to poker you want to look for a room that is designed to allow you to communicate with the other players in the room. Even if you eventually decide that you prefer playing in a silent room that doesn’t have a chat feature, in the beginning your fellow poker players will help you through problems and further your education.

Once you have settled on an online poker room you need to sit back and enjoy yourself. Even if you eventually hope to poker to earn money, for now you are simply playing for the experience. Right now everything is new and shiny, you need to take time to drink it all in.

Single table tourneys have grown in popularity online and there are thousands of poker players who only play in these tournaments and don’t play cash games. Single table tournaments are great for players because there is a good chance of making money and they don’t cost that much to enter. No matter what the size of your bankroll is you will be able to find a single table tournament that fits your needs. I want to share some simple yet beneficial tips which will help you to become more consistent when you’re playing single table tournaments.

* Generally the best strategy is to play fairly tight poker on SpadeClub.com and make the best of your good hands when you get dealt them. You don’t want to play to many hands because then you’re just throwing chips away for no reason.

* It’s always best to be the bettor in single table tournaments because it gives you the chance to win the pot if everyone folds. When you’re calling you have no idea where you stand in the hand so it’s only wise to call if you’re trying to trap your opponent.

* Once your online pocker chip stack is low you need to be ready to move your chips in with any two cards. Typically about five times the big blind is when you should start looking at moving all-in because you need to double up or at least win the blinds.

* If you make it deep into the tournament and you have a big chip stack you need to make sure that you start bullying the table. You should have no problem stealing the blinds most hands which will help you increase your chip lead further.

* Try to trap aggressive titanpoker players in the tournament when you have a big hand. Try to make them think that you have a weak hand and then take all of there chips once they commit them to the pot.

* Make a game plan of how you want to attack the single table pokerstars.com tournament so that you’re prepared when you sit down at the table. If you want to play tight at the beginning of the game make sure you follow through with the plan when you start playing.

* Always follow your opponents throughout the game and try to learn as much as you can about them. Using the notes feature is your smartest bet to keep track of how players are playing. You can also use your notes in case you end up playing the same opponents again which is likely.

These are all great single table tournament tips that you can implement into your poker game so that you have a great shot at winning money. The top three out of nine players win some money in these tournaments so it’s fairly easy to become consistent and come in the top three every time. All you need to do is make sure you follow a game plan and not make any serious mistakes.

The ‘Legend’ of poker, Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, is requesting the kind encouragement of all who hear his message to support a young cancer patient. Margaret Hussman, a 15-year-old girl and niece of Brunson’s long-time friend Ray Hibler, is suffering from what is being called incurable cancer.

Doyle Brunson has already found several posts about young Margaret on his online internet poker blog at DoylesRoom.com, and is asking anyone with concern for the teenager to email her with encouraging words. Her email address is anne@ddgoose.com.

Margaret was diagnosed with cancerous Wilms’ tumors in her right hip and the lower lobe of her right lung. Doctors say the tumors cannot be medically treated.

“There is a 15-year-old young lady named Margaret Hussman, a niece of a longtime friend, who has untreatable cancer, ” Wrote 75-year-old poker star Doyle Brunson on his play poker online blog. “My ex-roomate in college, Ray Hibler, called and asked me to write her an encouraging letter recounting my ‘terminal’ battle with cancer 55 years ago. Margaret is a poker enthusiast and I’m certainly going to call. She is trying to spend her remaining days doing something new and enjoyable. Send Margaret an e-mail at anne@ddgoose.com I know she will appreciate it. For all of us, there is no promise for tomorrow.”

According to his person profile, Doyle Brunson was diagnosed with cancer in 1962. The doctors gave him 3 months to live. Doyle currently has his own website and he can be found playing there 5 days a week.

When betting college basketball, the home court is a factor. The home court advantage is a true advantage, because the home team is on their own grounds, which is a familiar and often friendly environment. The fans are typically supportive of the home team. With the pressure of the fans, combined with the road team having to travel, it is often difficult to pick up a straight up win on the road. While it might be challenging a basketball team to win on the road, it does not mean that the visiting team cannot be bet profitably when betting college basketball. A college basketball bettor is well served avoiding the money line when betting the road team.

In college basketball odds, the home team wins outright over 70% of the time, with the favorite team taking down the game over 75% of the time straight up. However, when the point spread is brought into the equation, the away team wins over 52% of the time. If the home team wins outright over 70% of the time, yet the away team comes out on top over 52% of the time, this suggests that the away team is best bet taking points when they are the underdog. To confirm that betting theory, we notice that the away dog wins over 51% of the games played. This confirms that we are best off betting the point spread and taking points when we are betting on a road dog in college basketball.

When the away team is favored, they win over 75% of the time on enemy territory. When the spread comes into play, the away team giving points covers nearly 60% of the time. This suggests that either betting line is a profitable path to follow when betting the road team as the favorite. Considering there is a 15% difference on away favorites between straight up results and the spread, a bettor is best served checking the money line to determine the difference in payout before deciding which way to bet. If the money line sits at 115 or closer, stick with the money line for the visiting favorite. If the money line is above 115, spot the home team points and bet the road favorite via the point spread line.

When betting the away team in college basketball, the basketball bettor is best served taking points when their team is a dog, while looking at the money line to determine the more profitable route in betting them as a favorite, such as the Duke Basketball Team. If the money line exceeds 115, spot the home team points on the bet. However, if the money line is 115 or closer, betting straight up via the money line is the most profitable angle.