ESPN Streak for the Cash, March 17 Picks and Analysis

In one of the early Streak for the Cash matchups, the Saint Louis Billikens led by forward Dwayne Evans (21) look to secure the Atlantic-10 Tournament Championship as they take on newcomers Virginia Commonwealth. The A-10 Championship between VCU and St. Louis is just one of the free sports picks you can find in this post. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After the last few days of frenetic college hoops action, it’s finally selection Sunday. There’s still plenty of on-the-court (or field) action to pick in today’s Streak for the Cash and even some “in or out” prop picks for the field of 68. Today’s board has plenty of variety with games from the college tourneys finishing up this morning, the NASCAR race in Bristol, the MLS, the PGA Tour, the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, the NHL, and the NBA. Plenty of picks to choose from to be sure, but these are the ones I’ll be watching closest today:

3/17 Streak Picks

9:30- Norwich City win or Draw: Norwich has earned a win or draw in five of their last six EPL matches with the exception being a 4-0 loss at Manchester United. Today they’ll take on Sunderland who they beat 2-1 at home earlier this season. Sunderland has not picked up a win in their last six EPL matches so I think City’s a decent option as they travel to the Stadium of Light this morning. Confidence Meter: 5 (out of 10)

March 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) face off during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

12:38- Boston Bruins: The Bruins and Penguins are the marquis matchup of the NHL schedule today. Both are playing extremely well and sit near the top of the Eastern Conference. The two met earlier this week with Boston jumping out to a 2-0 lead before letting it slip away as Pittsburgh won 3-2. The Pens have won eight in a row but will have a tough choice to make in net as starter Marc-Andre Fleury played last night in Pittsburgh’s 3-0 win over New York. The Bruins also won last night getting a 4-1 win at home over the Capitals. Boston should have Tuukka Rask in tend their goal after he didn’t play last night. The Bruins have the better goaltender situation and could have easily won the first meeting. I think they’ll get it back today in Pittsburgh in what should be another great game. Confidence Meter: 3

1:05- Miami Hurricanes: The ‘Canes are favored by two as they take on the UNC Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament Final. It would be the first ever ACC tourney win for Miami while the Heels are looking for their 18th tournament title. Miami beat North Carolina  twice this season by nine in Chapel Hill and in an impressive 25-point win at home. The Tar Heels have the size to challenge Miami down low, but I don’t think their guards will be able to limit the backcourt duo of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott. North Carolina has been inconsistent this year and barely squeaked past the Terps in their semi-final. Confidence Meter: 5

1:05- Saint Louis Billikens: VCU and Saint Louis both avoided upset bids in the last round to meet in the Atlantic 10 Championship game. Newcomer to the A-10 VCU beat UMass by nine while the Billikens ousted Butler by 11. Both these teams appear primed to make a long run in the tournament, but which one will get the win today. Saint Louis has won 14 of their last 15 including a 14-point win over VCU. They’re favored by 2 1/2 in this one and their steady, defensive-minded approach has served them well during their run. I think they’ll get the tournament win today, and be ready for them to make a run in the tournament as people get to know Dwayne Evans and their interim coach Jim Crews. Confidence Meter: 6

1:05- Florida wins by Double Digits: The Gators aren’t perfect, but all but one of their losses have come in true-road tests. This game will bo on a neutral court as they take on Ole Miss who they beat in Gainesville by 14. Florida has won both of their SEC tournament games by double digits, but Ole Miss is playing well having edged out Mizzou by two in the first round and beating Vandy by 12 yesterday in the semifinals. Their offense is ranked in the top ten in the nation, but Florida has won every single one of their 26 wins by 10 or more. I think they’ll get #27 today and the SEC Tournament Championship with it. Confidence Meter: 4 1/2

1:10- Houston Dynamo win or draw: Houston won their first MLS game 2-0 over DC United and has been busy in the Champions League since then with a pair of games against  Santos. They’ll travel to FC Dallas  who have started 1-0-1 beating Colorado in their opener and losing to Chivas last week. The Dynamo have the talent to at least earn a draw although I am a bit concerned about fatigue. Confidence Meter: 4

1:50- Any Other Golfer: After a crazy Saturday at Copperhead, the leaderboard is full of possible winners as 16 golfers are within three strokes of the lead. In this prop, it’s George Coetzee and Justin Leonard against the field. Both are part of a three-way tie for first but with so many golfers in striking distance, I think AOR is the more likely outcome. Confidence Meter: 6

Mar 15, 2013; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Maria Sharapova (RUS) pumps her fist as she won her semi final match against Maria Kirilenko (RUS) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

3:10- Sharapova wins 2-0: In the BNP Finals Sharapova faces Caroline Wozniacki who she has a 6-2 lifetime record against. The two met in Miami last year and Sharapova won but not in straight sets. The rest of her six wins have all been in straight sets although the only other time they met at this event Woz got the win. In this tournament, Sharapova has won all of her matchups in straight sets while Wozniacki needed three to oust Kerber in the last round after getting a win in the quarterfinals when Azarenka withdrew.  Confidence Meter: 6

3:35- Ohio State Buckeyes: The Buckeyes and Badgers are familiar foes as they face off for the Big Ten Tournament Championship today at the United Center. Both teams won handily at home in their two regular season meetings. This would be the Buckeyes third tournament championship in four years and they’re favored by two. Wisconsin has already exceeded expectations getting this far, but I don’t think they’ll be able to finish their run with a win. Confidence Meter: 3

6:00- Yes Tennessee in field: Tennessee looked to be in the tourney before dropping their first SEC Tournament game to Alabama. The Vols have some nice wins at home, and were cruising right along until the Tide rolled them in the first round. They’ll most likely be playing in the first four, but I think they do squeak in. Confidence Meter: 3

6:00- No Virginia NOT in field: ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, SI, and CBS Sports all have Virginia out of the tournament in their projections. The Cavs have nice top-end wins over Duke, UNC, and at Wisconsin, but they lost some ugly games and getting rolled by NC State in the tournament won’t help their cause. I think they barely miss on this one. Confidence Meter: 5

7:00- Washington Capitals: Both the Caps and the Sabres are coming off losses last night as they face off tonight at the Verizon Center. Washington is 7-7-0 at home while Buffalo is 5-8-2 on the road including one loss to Washington in DC already this season. The Sabres haven’t won on the road yet this month, but the Caps have also lost four of their last five. The goaltender situation is a little unclear, but regardless of who starts I think the Caps get a much-needed win at home. Confidence Meter: 4

Mar 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves point guard J.J. Barea (11) congratulates Ricky Rubio (9) after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

7:00- Minnesota Timberwolves: The New Orleans Hornets head to the Target Center to take on the T-Wolves in a matchup of struggling NBA teams. The Wolves are 6-26 since January 9, but they did crush the Hornets in their last trip to Minnesota early in February. Both teams have just one win in their last five, but the Wolves are showing signs of improvement at home where they’re 15-16, have won two of their last three, and beat the Spurs their last time out. The Hornets are 10-24 on the road and have lost 10 of their last 13 and their last five games on the road. This won’t be a beautiful game to watch, but I think the short-handed Wolves get the win. Confidence Meter: 3

8:00- Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers look to avenge their 6-0 loss to Nashville as they host the Preds tonight at the Rexall Place in Edmonton. Nashville has won just once in their last nine road games and starting goaltender Pekka Rinne has been pulled in each of their last two games. The Preds are solid at home but have struggled on the road and Edmonton will be motivated to get a big win at home tonight. Confidence Meter: 5

Streak Scoreboard-March:

Yesterday’s Record: 15-13

Total Record for the month: 125-101-1

Confident Picks (6+): 50-24 (6-2 yesterday)

Longest Personal Streak this month: W6

Current Personal Streak: W1 (Oregon)

Topics: College Basketball Picks, NBA Picks, NHL Picks, Soccer Picks, Streak For The Cash Picks

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