When I was growing up, I was perhaps the greatest AWANA participant in the history of the world. For those that are not familiar, AWANA is a Christian based program through your church that focuses on youth development. You perform arts and craft, Bible verse memorization and sport related games and activities. You are split up in teams each week and you are awarded points for Bible verses recitations and each game that you win as well. It is broken down by age group in efforts to make it fair.

Except it wasn’t fair. Not to any team that had to face me in AWANA. The winning team each week would get an extra piece of candy at the end of the night. It was not about the candy for me though, I just loved winning. I would regularly recite 25+ Bible verses in a short span while other kids struggled to get through a few during the allotted period. When it came to the sports and races, nobody could touch me. I was the fastest kid in the program, even beating the older kids (including my older brother) in the upper age bracket. All this and humble too…

Me, my brother Pete, and our friend Josh were the three best people at a game called “bean bag on the head relay.” I was obviously the best but all three of us were levels better than anyone else. I have not done this in maybe 20 years, but I would be willing to bet anyone that they cannot beat me in a bean bag on the head race even to this day. We would even sneak into the basement during and after church services just to practice balancing a bean bag on our heads and sprinting around like idiots. Our plan was to dominate the game at the local AWANA Olympics versus all the other churches in the area.

So it is finally the day of the AWANA Olympics and me, Pete and Josh are PUMPED. We are about to dunk on all these other churches that have no idea what they are up against once they bust out the bean bags. This is what we have been training all year for, it’s go time.

Except in all of our confidence, we forgot to factor in one thing – we don’t choose who participates in which event. The program director – Linda (Josh’s mother) was the one selecting players for each event. She said, “Alright bean bag on the head relay. Let’s get Peter, Josh, and J—eremy.”

My heart sunk. I sat back down as I couldn’t feel my legs. I felt a huge lump swelling in my throat and I couldn’t fight it any more. I did what any other very masculine 11 year old boy would do – I started balling. I mean I was really wailing to the point where it was noticeable. I couldn’t even cheer them on, I knew this clown Jeremy was terrible at the game and sure enough he dropped the bag off his head and we lost. But most importantly, all my training and confidence meant nothing since I somehow didn’t get picked despite Linda watching me dominate the game for years.

She noticed I was devastated and pulled me aside and gave me some lame excuse that she knows I am great at the game but it is good to get other new kids like Jeremy involved and blah blah blah. Morale of the story is to never trust anyone named Linda… but also to not let your confidence blind you so that you are able to see every angle.

There are a few spots this weekend that I think the market is likely too confident in and we can try to take advantage of.

Tyson Pedro vs Modestas Bukauskas

Tyson Pedro has had back-to-back first-round finishes since returning from the long layoff. But those were two cupcake matchups, and he was not even remotely aggressive in either of them. Not only is Pedro a big favorite but he also has a solid inside distance line and will likely garner more than 30% ownership.

But I am much less confident than the market that Pedro wins or that he wins and pays off his price tag on DraftKings. Bukauskas is not a great fighter but he is better than Pedro’s last two opponents and likely can survive longer as well. Without a first round finish, I find it difficult to see Pedro finding any type of ceiling at his price. For that reason, being underweight to the field on Pedro makes a ton of sense to me and naturally that makes me want to be overweight to Bukauskas for extra leverage.

Josh Culibao vs Melsik Baghdasaryan

I feel this slate is likely decided in the mid-range on DraftKings which means we need to talk about this fight. I am still finalizing my ownership projections but the sentiment of the market seems to be on Culibao despite the odds being close to a pick ‘em. Culibao has looked pretty good fighting better competition and I think that is where most of the confidence comes from.

But Melisk Baghdasaryan is a very good striker and will have more power than Culibao as well. If the market is going to be heavier on Culibao than Baghdasaryan or if this fight gets squeezed in general, then it is an easy decision point for me to overweight Baghdasaryan in my lineups.

Shane Young vs Blake Bilder

This is another mid-range fight that will be important this week. I am expecting the winner to score well and want to make it a point to have a lot of this fight across my lineups. The confidence on Young is a bit confusing to me. I picked him to win as well and I do think he is the more skilled fighter but feel the market is overblowing it.

Young is more durable than Bilder but just as hittable on the feet and has proven to not fight with a high fight IQ either which is concerning if you are confident in him this week. I am not going to shy away from Young for these reasons because I do still think he can win and score well. However, I plan to have a lot of Bilder as well as I am less confident than the market on Young and if he is going to be the heavier owned side on DraftKings like I expect, then it makes sense to have more Bilder across my teams.

So be mindful about your confidence level this weekend while building your teams. We are not nearly as smart at predicting outcomes as we think we are so don’t allow your confidence to blind you this weekend.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2