Welcome to Odds of the Unconventional, where odds and sometimes analysis on props involving non-major US sports are given.
NCAA Track and Field Championships Picks
No odds are made for the track and field championships, unfortunately. Therefore, after a brief look into the props, here are some opinions:
Men’s 4x100m — Auburn vs. Any Other Team
Auburn posted the best time in qualifying but it wasn’t by much. Their 38.47 time was 0.01 seconds better than UNC A&T’s time of 38.48. The top 5 finishers posted times that are all within 0.30 seconds or less of each other. Too close to be confident in but Auburn do have 2 All-Americans running in this event (Kahlil Henderson, Teray Smith) and are bolstered by a veteran lineup with 2 seniors and a junior to go along with a freshman. I’d go with Auburn here but with very, very little confidence. AOT feels like just as wise of a pick.
Men’s 3000m Steeplechase — Edwin Kibichiy (LOU) vs. Any Other Competitor
Kibichiy placed third last year in the 3000mSC and was awarded as a first-team All American in the event. The redshirt senior posted the fasted qualifying time a couple days ago, finishing .24 seconds ahead of Darren Fahy (SR) of Georgetown. Fahy finished fifth at last year’s 3000mSC finals. Kibichiy’s season best is 3 seconds faster than Fahy’s in the 3000mSC. There are plenty others in this race with a chance as well but Kibichiy has to be the favorite. If need be, Kibichiy has the talent to run an 8:30 and the rest of the pack has yet to demonstrate they can keep pace with that. There’s always a chance of a fall or slip-up when it comes to the steeplechase but, based on shown ability, I’d lightly favor Edwin Kibichiy to take first here.
Pick: Edwin Kibichiy (LOU)
Men’s 100m — Christian Coleman (TEN) vs. Any Other Competitor
It’s between Coleman (TEN), Belcher (NC-A&T), and Burrell (HOU) in this one. No others were able to break 10 seconds Wednesday. Regardless, make no mistake, this is Coleman’s race to lose. The other two hadn’t posted sub-10s before the NCAA Championships. Coleman, a 2016 Summer Olympics participant, posted a ridiculous 9.82 in the qualifiers, shattering the previous record of 9.89. He’s already getting comparisons to Usain Bolt – that’s how bright this guy’s future is. His time was good for 4th fastest all-time by an American in the 100m. Christian Coleman should be a solid favorite for this race and, after Wednesday’s record-setting performance, seems to have this race in hand if he can perform up to his capabilities.
Pick: Christian Coleman (TEN) ✓
Men’s 800m — Emmanuel Korir (UTEP) vs. Any Other Competitor
Korir was the third fastest runner in the 800m in the qualifiers, though he did win his heat. He certainly has the ability to win this race, posting the second-fastest 800m time in NCAA history this season. He also has broken the world record for the fastest indoor 600m – this freshman can fly. The 800m can be prone to upsets more than most races and it’ll likely be a close one. However, Korir may pull away when it comes down to it, as nobody comes close to his 1:43 posted earlier this season. If Emmanuel Korir performs up to his ability, it should be his race to lose.
Pick: Emmanuel Korir
Men’s 200m — Christian Coleman (TEN) vs. Any Other Competitor
It’s Coleman vs. Belcher once more. Belcher was able to outlast Coleman in their qualifying heat by .2 seconds. Again, Coleman has the raw talent advantage, posting a sub-20 time that was the 2nd best NCAA 200m time in history (into a headwind as well). He comes into this race as the reigning 200m indoor champion as well. Belcher has not posted a sub-20 in his college career. Coleman ought to be the favorite in this one, though there are others that can sneak in if he doesn’t run one of his better races. It’s not as solid as his 100m event, I feel, but Christian Coleman is head-and-shoulders the best sprinter in his events.
Pick: Christian Coleman (TEN) ✓
Men’s 4×400 — Texas A&M vs. Any Other Team
The Aggies won their heat by 3+ seconds on Wednesday and are the reigning indoor 4×400 champions. Florida are the ones to watch here to dethrone them, as they came in 2nd in the indoor championships by nearly a whole second. Still, after watching that race, the Aggies’ anchor looked to have more in the tank while UF’s anchor looked gassed down the final stretch.
Pick: Texas A&M ✓