Gonzaga, Duke among Saturday March Madness betting favorites

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The betting line is set right where the Gonzaga Bulldogs have difficulty, but their second-round opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, have a spotty track record as an underdog.

As March Madness moves into the Round of 32, the Bulldogs and star point guard Josh Perkins are 3.5-point betting favorites against the Ohio State Buckeyes with a 143-point total in a Saturday matchup set for Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Gonzaga is 14-0 straight-up over its last 14 games, but only 4-12 against the spread in its last 16 games as a favorite of 3.0 or more, according to the OddsShark College Basketball Database. Ohio State is 13-31 SU in its last 44 games as an underdog.

The Kansas Jayhawks are 4.5-point favorites against the Seton Hall Pirates with a 153.5 total. Kansas is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games as a favorite of 4.5 or fewer.  Seton Hall is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS in its last eight games as an underdog of 4.5 or fewer. The total has gone over in nine of Seton Hall’s last 11 games, with an average total of 162.36.

The Kentucky Wildcats are six-point favorites against the Buffalo Bulls with a 156.5 total at Boise, Idaho. Buffalo is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games in March. Kentucky is 8-1 SU and ATS in its last nine games and the total has gone over in eight of those contests, with an average total of 149.44.

The Michigan Wolverines are three-point favorites against the Houston Cougars with a 134 total at Wichita, Kansas. Michigan is 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games. The total has gone over in five of Houston’s last seven games in March. The total has gone over in five of Michigan’s last six games, with an average combined score of 137.17.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are two-point favorites against the Florida Gators with a 134 total at Dallas. Florida is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against the Big 12, while the total has gone under in nine of the Gators’ last 12 games overall (average total: 132.75). Texas Tech is 0-7-1 ATS in its last eight games.

The Villanova Wildcats are 11-point favorites against the Alabama Crimson Tide with a 148 total at Pittsburgh. Alabama is 0-5 SU in its last five games against the Big East. The total has gone over in 13 of Villanova’s last 16 games, with an average combined score of 159.25.

The Tennessee Volunteers are five-point favorites against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers with a 130.5 total at Dallas. Loyola-Chicago is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 games. Tennessee is 11-0 SU in its last 11 games as a favorite of 6.0 or more. The total has gone under in six of Tennessee’s last eight games, with an average total of 131.75.

And the Duke Blue Devils are 9.5-point favorites against the Rhode Island Rams at Pittsburgh. The total has gone under in five of Rhode Island’s last seven games, with an 140.43 average total. The total has also gone under in eight of Duke’s last nine games, with an average combined score of 134.78. Duke is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games.

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 listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NIL and NCAA: What to know about the new policy and how NBC Sports can help

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As of July 1, 2021, a new NCAA policy has been in effect allowing student-athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image, and likeness (often referred to as NIL). As long as the activities are “consistent with the law of the state where the school is located,” athletes now have the opportunity to accept endorsements from brands, monetize their social media presences, and work with professional firms to coordinate deals.

Click here for additional information and guidelines regarding NCAA NIL policies and keep reading to find answers to questions such as how NIL works as well as how NBC Sports can help.

What is NIL and NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct is coming to a school near you. The program enables college student-athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) through a unique marketplace that connects athletes with advertisers. NBC Sports Athlete Direct will work to provide equal opportunities to all student-athletes, regardless of which team you play on or any statistical performance.

How will the NIL Marketplace work?

Advertisers will use NBC Sports Athlete Direct to make NIL offers available to college student-athletes. College student-athletes will then have the option to participate in the NIL offer. Those who decide to participate and complete the advertiser’s campaign requirements will be compensated based on a predetermined rate.

How much money can athletes make participating in NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Compensation will vary by advertiser campaign.

When will NBC Sports Athlete Direct launch and how can I sign up?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct will officially launch in the Fall of 2022 but prior to that, we will be launching a pilot program soon, exclusively for Temple and Vanderbilt student-athletes.

In the meantime, click here to fill out a student-athlete interest form and once it is available at your school, we will notify you and provide you with additional information on how to sign up.

If I participate in NIL offers from NBC Sports Athlete Direct, do I still have the freedom to do other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Yes, this program is non-exclusive so our student-athletes will have the freedom to participate in other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct.

What are the rules or restrictions for participating in this program?

Unfortunately, international students and students under the age of 18 are not eligible to participate in the pilot program at this time.

Kentucky to allow college athletes to earn off likeness

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday allowing the state’s college athletes – including players on the nationally renowned Kentucky and Louisville men’s basketball teams – to make money through the use of their name, image or likeness.

The Democratic governor said he took the action as a matter of fairness for college athletes. It will spare Kentucky’s colleges from being at a competitive disadvantage with rivals in other states that will have laws enabling athletes to profit off their name, image or likeness, he said.

“This is important to our student-athletes, who for decades, others – whether it’s companies or institutions – have profited on,” Beshear told reporters. “These athletes deserve to be a part of that.”

Beshear said his executive order takes effect July 1, when similar legislation passed in several other states will become law. His office said he was the first governor to make the change by executive order.

The governor’s action won praise from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. UK plays in the Southeastern Conference and UofL competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“Bringing the state of Kentucky into competitive balance with other states across the country and, more specifically, the Atlantic Coast Conference is critical,” Vince Tyra, U of L’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a release issued by the governor’s office.

UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said the governor’s action “provides us the flexibility we need at this time to further develop policies around name, image and likeness.”

“We are appreciative of that support, as it is a bridge until such time as state and/or federal laws are enacted,” Barnhart said in the same release from Beshear’s office. “The landscape of college sports is now in the midst of dramatic and historic change – perhaps the biggest set of shifts and changes since scholarships were first awarded decades ago.”

In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas, laws go into effect July 1 that make it impermissible for the NCAA and members schools to prevent athletes from being paid by third parties for things like sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances.

The NCAA had hoped for a national law from Congress that has not come, and its own rule-making has been bogged down for months. College sports leaders are instead moving toward the type of patchwork regulation they have been warning against for months.