Good morning! The women's Final Four is set: (2) Oregon vs. (1) Baylor and (2) UConn vs. (1) Notre Dame.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Some New Jersey sportsbooks have begun issuing refunds (in the form of a credit) to losing bettors following bad beats in high-profile games.
Driving the news: When Zion Williamson's shoe exploded against UNC in February, PointsBet, an Australian-based operator with a mobile app in New Jersey, issued $100,000 in refunds to those who bet on losing Duke.
What's happening: These give backs are, at their core, a marketing ploy designed to generate publicity. Pick a high-profile game, announce the refund and sit back while The Action Network's Darren Rovell and others report on it.
The other side: Not all bettors like this idea. After all, how do you decide when money does and doesn't get returned? What's the precedent? Any sportsbook that engages in this too frequently risks looking like they're not legit.
The big picture: "The New Jersey sports betting market is becoming increasingly competitive, and it's a proving ground for anyone who wants to contest the broader U.S. online sports betting market," Chris Grove, managing director of Sports and Emerging Verticals at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, tells me.
Be smart: To paint this as nothing more than a marketing tactic designed to bring in new customers would be a mistake, as give backs are also designed to keep existing bettors around. Customer loyalty, if you will.
An American ownership group led by soccer investor Jordan Gardner announced the takeover of Danish club FC Helsingør last week. Their plan is to turn the club into a haven for young American talent.
Why it matters: Ever since the U.S. men's national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, U.S. Soccer and MLS have made strides to improve the next generation's development — and make sure we never get left out again.
What he's saying: The Athletic's Jeff Rueter spoke with Gardner about his ambitious plan (subscription). Here are some highlights:
Why Europe? According to Gardner, if you prove yourself in a lower level in most European countries — Denmark included — "you will get sold to a bigger club and move up the food chain very, very quickly."
Why Denmark? "There's no foreign player restrictions, pretty much everyone here speaks English, and there's a culture of playing young players at all levels of Danish soccer," said Gardner.
Target age group? Gardner says they'll have different pools of players, starting with 16-year-olds who they could bring over on educational visas since they can't sign pro contracts.
While the NBA's MVP race remains worthy of debate, the NHL's MVP race has been over for quite some time, with the Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov all but guaranteed to win.
By the numbers: Kucherov has 125 points this season (39 goals, 86 assists), which is tied with Joe Thornton (2005-06) for the most this century.
Go deeper: NHL Awards Watch
Photo: Keith Birmingham/Digital First Media/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
A month ago, we reported that Santa Anita Park, the storied Los Angeles-area racetrack where "Seabiscuit" was filmed, had indefinitely suspended all future races following the 21st horse fatality in 69 days.
Update: The track resumed races on Friday, and now another horse has died. Arms Runner, a 5-year-old horse, fell during a race on Sunday and sustained a catastrophic right leg injury that required it to be euthanized.
The big picture: "For decades, horse racing has experienced spikes in fatalities without adopting significant changes," writes NYT's Joe Drape.
P.S. ... There was also bill introduced in Congress last month that would create a private, independent authority to develop a nationwide anti-doping and medication control program for horse racing.
The bottom line: WTF.
Seven years ago today, Anthony Davis led Kentucky to a 67-59 win over Kansas in the NCAA Championship Game. It was the Wildcats' first championship since 1998 and the first championship of coach John Calipari's career.
Only eight pitchers in baseball history had a career ERA lower than 2.10 when they reached 500 innings pitched.
Answer at the bottom.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
🎥 Watch: Penn's epic triple-OT win over Yale
Pro-tip: Download The Action Network app to become a master at all this stuff.
1. Will Bryce Harper hit a home run in his return to D.C.?
2. Who will cover the spread in Nuggets vs. Warriors (-8)?
3. Will James Harden score Over/Under 39.5 points against the Kings?
🎰 Play now: Make your picks (cutoff time: 7:05pm ET)
Yesterday's results: Cubs-Braves combined for exactly 8 runs, so that resulted in a push … 32.7% said Arike Ogunbowale would score under 23.5 points. She scored 21 … 60.4% said the Hornets (+11.5) would cover the spread against the Jazz. They lost by 9 (111-102) ... Winner(s) announced Friday!
Kendall "That's a clown question, bro" Baker
Trivia answer: Craig Kimbrel, who somehow remains unsigned