Ngannou-Miocic, Best MLB Bets, Elite 8 & Final Four: The Ticket With Adam Kramer: In this edition of his weekly column The Ticket, Adam Kramer talks about the new heavyweight superstar in UFC, laments over his horrible golf beat over the weekend, and celebrates the start of baseball season. He also dives into a wild week of NCAA Tournament picks and action as the Final Four nears.
Ngannou-Miocic, Best MLB Bets, Elite 8 & Final Four: The Ticket With Adam Kramer
I’m going to be frank. Francis Ngannou cost me money. In fact, a nearly perfect night of UFC wagering was undone by this magnificent spectacle of a human.
The Ngannou-Miocic main event at UFC 260 was loaded with hype and intrigue despite being a rematch. Stipe Miocic, perhaps the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time, going up against perhaps the greatest physical presence in all of MMA.
I thought Miocic would recreate the strategy that conquered Ngannou in the first Ngannou-Miocic matchup: Get the fight to the ground. Tire Ngannou out. Outlast some early haymakers, and thrive later.
After about three minutes, I realized this was likely not to be the case. And not long after, Ngannou provided a series of violent, heavy punches that put Miocic away just as the second round was getting started. And we had a new champion.
As for me, my Stipe +115 ticket went up and flames. That’s OK. It was still a good night. For those who had Ngannou in the -145 range, enjoy it. Those prices might be hard to come by in the future.
I get Mike Tyson vibes watching the 263-pounder operate. Muscles bulging. Long, massive arms swinging wildly. A neck the size of an oak tree. A back story that is miraculous, touching and hard to fathom.
He speaks softly and with care about others. He hits like a sledgehammer. And he’s poised to become one of the biggest stars in UFC and perhaps beyond. He also might be a sizable chalk no matter the opponent from this point forward.
Talk of a potential matchup between Ngannou and UFC legend Jon Jones, who is moving up to heavyweight, started the moment the Ngannou-Miocic fight ended. Whether that happens will likely be decided in the weeks ahead, although the possibility of the fight will linger regardless of whether they agree quickly.
This is the fight the UFC world wants to see. It’s also a fight that would convince non-UFC diehards to pay $69.99 for a pay-per-view.
The Westgate in Las Vegas posted early odds on this potential fight: Ngannou (-180) and Jones (+160). Even against a star like Jones, Ngannou would be a massive favorite.
Consider that, at the moment, there is likely no one who would push those odds any closer. The last value on the next great heavyweight superstar appears to have run out.
I, of course, wasn’t able to take advantage. I hope you did.
At the Window: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
A little basketball, a little golf. Oh, the golf:
THE GOOD: Michigan (-1.5) vs. Florida State to make the Elite 8: This line stunk. I know Michigan has been up and down, but when the Wolverines dipped to a 1.5-point favorite against Florida State on Sunday, I pounced. They responded with a convincing win over the Seminoles that was never all that close. Clean, easy win. I also have a futures bet on Michigan to win the tournament, so this victory has a bit more pop to it.
THE BAD: Alabama Overtime Gives me a Big L in CBB. I jumped on Alabama at halftime against UCLA on Sunday — a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. Down 11, I live-bet Alabama (+3.5) for the game. The Crimson Tide clawed back to a lead, and then the game went back and forth. With UCLA up three and the clock expiring, Alabama hit a magnificent game-tying three.
To be clear, this wasn’t magnificent for me. I wanted the game to end. Overtime, in this instance, could be dangerous (and it was). UCLA got hot. Alabama got cold. And I ultimately lost largely because the game was extended. This was bad, but it wasn’t even my most painful loss from Sunday.
THE UGLY: Scottie Scheffler’s Runner-Up, Match PlayFinish: Oof. Say it with me again. Ooooooof. If you read this column last week, you know I pegged Scheffler at 50/1 to win the event. He made it into the championship match and ultimately fell to Billy Horschel. This one stings. I mean, it really, really stings. I was able to hedge some heading into the final 18 holes, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
But to ride out a futures bet from Wednesday to Sunday and come up just short—on 50/1 no less—is going to eat at me for a while. So many holes played and matches won. And I still came up short.
What I’m Watching: Welcome Back, Baseball
Opening Day: By golly, we’ve made it. And after we were deprived of a full baseball season last year, I am going to sink into Opening Day. April 1 will kick off the 162-game season, which is wonderful news for baseball fans and bettors alike. I have some futures to celebrate the occasion, and I will get to those momentarily.
March Madness: We’re not done. By Tuesday night we will have our Final Four. And in one week, we will have a champion. We still have UCLA, an 11-seed, making a run. We still have Gonzaga trying to cap off a perfect, unblemished year with a perfect postseason. Some fascinating games and betting opportunities still to follow.
Valero Texas Open: Our final pre-Masters tuneup takes us to Texas. While the field isn’t likely to be robust due to the timing, this last stop before the first major of the year will certainly command plenty of television time. It will also provide plenty of inspiration to gather all my Masters bets. There will be many.
What I’m Betting: Let’s Zero in On MLB Futures, Shall We?
Fine, one basketball selection. Give me Michigan (-7.5) vs. UCLA. I mentioned above that I am already invested in the Wolverines, although I love how they’re playing and I really like them in this spot.
Now, in honor of the season starting, a look at some of the baseball bets I am on this season:
Houston Astros to win the 2021 World Series (+2200) at Unibet: The division is there for the taking, and the team still has plenty of talent.
Los Angeles Angels Under 83.5 Wins (-106) at SugarHouse NJ: I love the offense, but the pitching is still too much of a mess for my liking.
St. Louis Cardinals Over 86.5 Wins (-110) at PointsBet: Great infield, quality pitching and a division that should produce a lot of wins.
Fernando Tatís Jr. to Win 2021 NL MVP (+850) at BetRivers: He’s here, his team is talented, and the world is ready to celebrate a fun, talented superstar.
Luis Robert To Win 2021 AL MVP (+2500) at BetMGM: What I said for Tatis, apply it to Robert. Enough said.
Ke’Bryan Hayes To Win 2021 NL Rookie of the Year (+350) at bet365: He’s the favorite and the right choice. Was awesome in small doses and had a monster spring.
Jacob deGrom To Win 2021 NL Cy Young (+400) at BetMGM: Another favorite, although deGrom is poised for a monster year. He’s hitting 101 on the radar gun and has an offensive that should support him plenty.
Done reading the latest edition of The Ticket that includes Ngannou-Miocic, Best MLB Bets, Elite 8 & Final Four picks? Use some of this intel and analysis to place a bet at one of our sportsbook friends: