Value at top of the Sweat Barometer 

February, 23, 2011

Before I get to the Sweat Barometer Sal from and I work up each week, I wanted to spread the details about the event in Las Vegas we're doing with Caesars. It's free entry with open bar from 7:30-9:30 at Shadow Bar on Wednesday, March 16. I'll be breaking down brackets with Alan Boston and some other wiseguys. Space is limited, so if you'll be in Vegas for the tourney and want to attend, RSVP to this email address:

Now, onto the show.

For the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about value, as in: is there any to be had on the college basketball futures boards out there?

You can glean some from the new Sweat Barometer below. But, at this point in the season, we're starting to get a good sense of who is coming together as a team (the Johnnies, currently 75-1) and which early season risers are starting to reveal their weaknesses (UConn, 3-4 its past seven games, including a loss to St. John's, is currently 25-1).

"This year the field is as wide open as I can remember," the Hilton's Ed Salmons told me. "I can think of 20 teams that could win it based on how the brackets shake out. It could be whoever is hot at that time."

Which is exactly how wiseguys have been betting the futures market all season. Early in the year, money flowed in on Michigan State. Then UConn. Then, Ed told me, Kansas State saw a lot of action. Then it was Kentucky, followed by Washington when it streaked into the national conversation. Finally, before Texas lost to Nebraska, the Horns were getting all the love. Even Wisconsin got some play, moving from 75-1 to 40-1 at the Hilton.

With so many teams and so many options, what's a gambler to do? Well, I did some of my own calculations and pegged 10th-ranked Zona as a nice future option. Currently the Cats are listed as 30-1, behind 11th-ranked Georgetown (20-1) 17th-ranked Syracuse (25-1) and 22nd-ranked Kentucky (20-1), among others. Clearly, Zona is suffering from a lack of public support.

I also asked Sal to give me his take and he gave me a surprising answer: Pittsburgh at 12-1. Sure, the Panthers are ranked fourth in the country. But take a look at the futures odds: They trail Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Texas. "This team is going to get a No. 1 seed," says Sal. "And yet that's not reflected in the price. They should be closer to four or five to one."

See, even at the top of the polls, there is at least a little value to be had.


Each week Jason Gilbert of Streak for the Cash will breakdown how Streakers are faring with college hoops.

It was a roller coaster of emotions this week on the streak board. Some previously hot teams broke some hearts this week. On Monday, North Carolina failed to cover the 12-point spread at home against Boston College, a team the Heels had destroyed 106-71 a few weeks ago. Also, Saint Mary's failed to cover its five-point BracketBuster spread when it hosted Utah State. Both ruined more than 85 percent of streaks.

Then on Tuesday, Ohio State fell on the road at Purdue as a one-point favorite, which cost 91 percent of users their streaks.

Some teams to keep riding your streak on are Louisville, Texas A&M and Arizona, who were in the Sweat Barometer Top 25 last week.

Records and RPI are through Tuesday's games.