If you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know today to make informed betting choices, you’ve come to the right place!
1. Eichel not interested in extension
On their fourth head coach in the last four years, you could understand why the Buffalo Sabres are hesitant to part ways with Dan Bylsma after just his second season. But if they have any intentions of extending star Jack Eichel after next summer, firing Bylsma may be necessary. Reports this morning indicated Eichel won’t sign a deal when he reaches restricted free agency unless there’s a new coach in charge.
You can understand Eichel’s frustration: despite emerging as an elite-level scorer in just his second season, his Sabres continue to struggle. Even with veteran acquisitions like Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo, the Sabres have seen younger teams like the Leafs leapfrog them for a playoff spot. Stuck in a rut and unhappy with the coaching situation, Buffalo isn’t a very promising bet for next season if nothing changes.
Should Bylsma return behind the bench, keep the Sabres in mind as a prime candidate for the “fired head coach bump.” This season, we saw five teams fire their coaches; three went onto make the playoffs, and the Islanders finished just one point short.
2. Gonzaga loses another core piece
The 2017-18 Zags seemed like a nice candidate to duplicate UNC’s effort this year, and return to the national championship after losing the previous season. But if they’re going to achieve that goal, it will be without leading scorer Nigel Williams-Goss, who declared for the NBA Draft yesterday.
Having already lost Zach Collins to the draft and Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Matthews to graduation, the Zags will have an entirely different look next year, led by Josh Perkins and Jonathan Williams. Mark Few is still capable of leading this team on a deep tournament run, but their odds will certainly get much longer with arguably their three most skilled players departing.
This might be the group you hold off on betting during the season, as they adjust to new roles, then take to win their region in March.
3. Barcelona tries for a second miracle
They’ve dug themselves a big hole again by getting pasted 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal to Juventus. But Barca has every football fan on the edge of their seats today, wondering if they can duplicate their incredible comeback against PSG, which saw the team come back from a 4-0 deficit.
Juventus plays too tight defensively in front of Gigi Buffon, and the ageless keeper has only allowed two goals in Champions League play so far. With Barca sending everything at them in an all out attack, look for Juve to score on the counter and get a draw.
Photo Credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_5087) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.