Chat with Chad Millman
Millman once spent so much time with Vegas bookies, wiseguys and gambling junkies that he wrote a book on the subject. "The Odds" is a tale about those characters, their big scores, their bad beats and why they can't quit the game. His weekly column, Behind the Bets, jumps off from there, examining the massive world of gambling?from how the lines are set to who is setting them to what's on the horizon for the sports betting industry. It's a mix of tips, tactics and the stories about the players who have failed. And those who hit it big.
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Millman Archive: Columns
Chad Millman (4:01 PM)
Hey all, here to talk about the tourney.
Ralph (New Jersey)
Which first round seeds get the most action?
Chad Millman (4:03 PM)
Ralph, it's always the same teams. Duke, UNC, UConn. This year Pitt will, too. Its mostly squares looking for a good time in the books who do the betting from thursday to sunday. And those folks are looking to play the favorites.
Kevin (Waukee, IA)
Do you think Wake Forest could knock off Louisville? Wake Forest has a couple of very talented players and I think Louisville is ripe for an upset. W
Chad Millman (4:04 PM)
I'm a big wake fan. They've got three guys who could be top 16 picks in the nba draft, more than any other team. So for sure there is a chance. But i think Louisville will win. In one of my recent behind the bets columns i wrote about now or never teams, these guys almost always make the finals, and louisville is one of them. wake is not.
Any reason to think all 4 number 1 seeds won't at least reach the elite 8?
Chad Millman (4:07 PM)
Sure. There's always a reason. If Lawson doesn't come back for the second round, assuming UNC doesn't stumble in the opener, it's vulnerable. Everyone who follows ncaa tourney hoops will tell you that guards are the most important players on the floor, much more than high profile big men. They control tempo, limit mistakes, all the stuff vital in the madness. Without Lawson, the heels could struggle.
Steiny (NYC) [via mobile]
So Chad, who do you think is going to win it all?
Chad Millman (4:09 PM)
I love Pitt. I have a bunch of teams that I think are final four worthy--pitt, unc, gonzaga, louisville, oklahoma, ucla--based on some stats we concocted regarding who always makes the finals. teams with at least two future nbaers and two senior starters made it 90% of the time the past four years. I had all these teams play each other in our bracket predictor game, and pitt went undefeated.
Over/unders, you like them or stay away?
Chad Millman (4:10 PM)
like em, if you are playing them by half. Meaning take the under in the first half, when players are tight. And the over in the second, when teams are shooting a lot of free throws.
Is there more betting on individual games or on teams to win the tournament?
Chad Millman (4:12 PM)
Individual games by far. That's where the fun is for so many people who don't know much but want to have a good time with their friends. Futures on who will win it all get less action largely because of the odds available. Unless you really know the sport it's a waste of money.
Fantasy league draft tonight (points + rebounds + assists). What would your top 5 picks be? Griffin in the top5 even though OK is unlikely to go final 4? Do you drop the Tarheels down now due to risk (Lawson obviously)?
Chad Millman (4:14 PM)
Definitely take Griffin. I'd take one of the Pitt guards, too, since they will be around for a while and consistently average in the 15-18 ppg mark plus a couple assists. Blair is a good choice too, because of the rebounds. And Jeremy Pargo, he'll light it up and dish it out, and i like the zags to go pretty far.
UConn has 2 senior starters and at least 2 NBAers on the team! Why didn't you list them?
Chad Millman (4:14 PM)
You're right. When I was writing the list i knew i was forgetting a team. I actually have UConn going to the finals...and losing to Pitt.
Obviously, never bet on a 16 seed, because they've never won. However, do you think you should put anything on a 14 or 15 seed? It's happened a few times and I'm guessing you probably get some good odds, which, if you win, brings some good money.
Chad Millman (4:16 PM)
i'd stay away from picking 14 or 15 straight up, but against the spread, if the number is right, those teams can give the higher seeds a pretty good run. would need specifics on what you are thinking, though.
Did your bracket predictor factor in the Dyson injury? How does that work?
Chad Millman (4:18 PM)
it did not take his injury into account. although i'm not sure it would have changed all that much. this is a pretty strong team. if aj price were out, it would be one thing. but dyson is a loss i think they can overcome.
I think people try to outsmart everyone, looking for the upsets everywhere. Wouldn't it be a smarter play in your bracket pools to be a little more conservative? Pick more chalk then anything?
Chad Millman (4:19 PM)
nope. you gotta pick a few upsets early on, since most brackets give big points for those games. By the time you get to the later rounds, everyone has the same teams and you're not going to make up any points.
Jordan (San Pedro, CA)
How far do you think the jayhawks will go in the tournament?
Chad Millman (4:20 PM)
these guys are tricky. they were so up and down this year, partially because they are a young team. if they play like they did in early and mid-feb, when they trounced mizzou, they can be great. But i also spoke to a wiseguy today who thinks they will lose to north dakota state.
When the Blue Devils are playing some of their better basketball, I truly believe they can match up against anyone in the country. Give them 2 halves like the 1st half of the UNC game in Cameron, and they are a force? Thoughts?
Chad Millman (4:22 PM)
totally. but they rarely play like that. and in the tourney they are so dependent on threes that it always ends up hurting them. they get confused if those shots aren't dropping. this is a more athletic team than duke has had in the past, but i still wouldnt put good money on them beyond the second round.
Is it just me or does this year's tournament seem harder to pick one solid team that you think will go all the way? It seems like every team has some faults.
Chad Millman (4:23 PM)
i agree. so many teams rotated through that number one spot this year its hard to say if there are a lot of faults, or just really great teams competing for one spot. that's why i like pitt though, they played in the best conference and have the intangibles, like solid d, that i think teams need as the tourney wears on.
How many hours of work do you think will be lost to the tournament?
Chad Millman (4:25 PM)
ha, more than any employer would like to know. they've done studies on lost productivity during the tourney. i cant remember specifics, but the numbers, as you can guess are surprisingly high.
Doug Gottleib (ESPN headquarters)
yes you heard it here first....ND State over Kansas. Mark it down!!!
Chad Millman (4:26 PM)
Doug, you're the best anticipator in the history of college hoops. And I agree. But I posted this upset in a column about two hours ago.
Teg (Paso Robles, CA)
Hello Chad...I have been noticing that some beleive the pac-10 is weak. With being a ASU allum, do you think the sun devils can reach the sweet 16 with wins over Temple and Syracuse?
Chad Millman (4:27 PM)
Love the Pac 10. I think ASU will confuse people with its D and I think Washington is rested and ready for a good run, especially playing out west. I don't think it's the strongest conference, but it will get some teams going deep.
ron (norborne, mo)
i have Arizona, USC, Mississippi St, Utah st, Michigan, W. Kentucky, VCu, Wisconsin, & tennessee winning first round. what you think.
Chad Millman (4:28 PM)
i like SC, Utah State and Tenn. None of the rest.
And your final 4 is?????
Chad Millman (4:28 PM)
uconn, gonzaga, pitt, louisville
ron (norborne, mo)
i have louisville and syracuse in the championship and louisiville winning it. It that a good pick.
Chad Millman (4:29 PM)
horrible pick, at least the syracuse part. not a big fan of louisville, either. feel like they suffer from the same three point syndrome that duke does.
The economy is already in tough straights...with everyone trying to get updates on the games while at work, should we be worried that the economy is about to get worse?
Chad Millman (4:30 PM)
think of it as a buying opportunity. stocks will go down and you can take advantage of the dip. call it the tourney effect.
Chad Millman (4:30 PM)
hey everyone, thanks for the questions. i gotta get back to work. Good luck this weekend.