May Madness: Is this the best betting weekend in sports?

May 3, 2012 |
May Madness: Is this the best betting weekend in sports?
Boxing, basketball, hockey and horses are just a few of the wagers availble this weekend.
Boxing, basketball, hockey and horses are just a few of the wagers availble this weekend.
Cinco de Mayo – which falls on Saturday, May 5 – is the perfect excuse to sit back and enjoy some cervezas.

But, if you like a little betting with your beer, this weekend is a piñata stuffed with wagering goodness just waiting to get bashed with a stick.

On top of the nonstop playoff action in the NBA and NHL, and the ongoing MLB marathon, sports bettors are being treated with some annual wagering musts, like the Kentucky Derby and Floyd Mayweather’s light middleweight bout with Miguel Cotto.

Here’s a look at all the action available this weekend:

Kentucky Derby

It’s the 138th Run for the Roses and we’ve got everything you need to cash in during the Kentucky Derby. Oddsmakers have had a tough time capping the field, which lacks a true head-and-shoulders favorite.

Right now, Bodemeister is the chalk at +400, followed by Union Rags (+450), who has been the most-bet horse heading into the weekend. Check out our Kentucky Derby betting trends, the race favorites and the best long-shot bets at Churchill Downs this Saturday.


When Floyd Mayweather isn’t busy bashing Manny Pacquiao and misplacing betting tickets worth $80,000 (which is just a drop in the bucket for the man known as “Money”), he’s going off as a -600 favorite to defeat Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Saturday.

Our boxing expert Evan Korn, tackles the odds for this junior middleweight title bout and gives his picks for Saturday’s fight. The round total is set at 9.5, with the over set as the chalk at -294. Mayweather has gone to the cards in five of his last seven bouts, with the most recent fight ending with a controversial KO of Victor Ortiz in the fourth. Note to Cotto: Don’t touch gloves.

NBA Playoffs

There are four huge games on Saturday, including the San Antonio Spurs trying to put the stranglehold on the Utah Jazz, up 2-0 in their opening-round Western Conference playoff series.

The Spurs finished with the best record against the spread during the lockout-shortened season, 42-20-4 ATS, and have kept the money train rolling in the postseason, winning and covering in the first two games against the Jazz. Going back to the regular season, San Antonio has cashed in 11 of its last 12, with the lone blemish coming as a push.

NHL Playoffs

There is a standalone game in the NHL Saturday, but if the Rangers and Capitals have three extra periods in them again, that should be more than enough hockey.

New York took a 2-1 series lead on Marian Gaborik’s goal at 14:41 of the third overtime Wednesday. It was Gaborik’s first goal in nine games, after scoring 41 times in the regular season. If the Rangers can get their star going again it could spell the end for Washington. Gaborik is a streaky scorer, netting goals in back-to-back games 17 times this season. New York is a -105 road favorite in D.C. Saturday.

MLB betting

Baseball season can be a bit overshadowed on a Saturday such as this. But there are some interesting matchups on the May 5 schedule. The Baltimore Orioles, the biggest money winner so far with more than 10 units earned, are visiting the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.

The top over bet in the bigs, the Houston Astros, host the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals while the most-profitable under play, the Oakland A’s visit the Tampa Bay Rays.

UFC on FOX 3

If boxing and playoff hockey just aren’t violent enough, the UFC comes to your rescue with its UFC on FOX show Saturday, headlined by Nate Diaz and Jim Miller. The lightweights are vying for a shot at UFC champ Benson Henderson.

Miller is the betting favorite at -229 while Diaz is priced at +180. The underdog may hold some value when you size up the two fighters, giving Diaz a four-inch height advantage and a five-inch edge when it comes to reach. If Diaz can frustrate Miller and get him to brawl, MMA bettors could be barking all the way to the bank.

Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

Most Sprint Cup races have three or four solid favorites. However, Talladega has turned out to be the toughest NASCAR track to handicap, thanks to the always-looming “Big One”.

The 2.66-mile superspeedway is known for its nasty crashes that can clear out half the field in a matter of seconds. And with the return of pack racing to NASCAR’s biggest tracks, the odds on another massive wreck have shot through the roof.

Our NASCAR expert, Greg Engle, likes Dale Earnhardt Jr. because of his experience with pack racing on the superspeedways. You can grab Lil’ E around +900 at most books. Kevin Harvick (+900), Jimmie Johnson (+1,100), Kyle Busch (+1,200) and Jeff Gordon (+1,200) are also expected to run up front. But there is solid value at the back of the pack, especially if the “Big One” strikes early on Sunday.

What else are you betting on this weekend? Give your picks in the comment box below.

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