Welcome to SportsGrid’s new, daily feature, where we tell you what sports are on TV tonight. Then, I do my best to help you win some money while watching. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing, and gambling is legal in your jurisdiction. Feel free to tweet hateful things at me if my advice moves you to do so. TV games are often the toughest games to find an edge on, so don’t go crazy, people. If I do recommend a bet, I’ll keep track of it, so you can tell me how awful (or wonderful?) I am. For record-keeping, we’ll assume a standard bet is $10. Occasionally, there will be 2x or 3x bets, maybe 4 or 5 if I’m feeling spunky. Good luck, America!
NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16: Oregon vs. Louisville (-10.5) (7:00 p.m., CBS)
This opened at -9.5, and that was the time to bet. Before you write off Oregon, though, realize that they’re 22-2 with Dominic Artis playing, and 6-6 without him.
But the matchup comes down to this: Oregon is 264th nationally in offensive TO rate, despite not playing tough defenses in the Pac-12. Artis is good, but he doesn’t protect the ball. Louisville and their pressure defense forces an absurd amount of turnovers, and it’s hard to see how they’ll lose here.
But will they cover 10.5 points? I’m not comfortable taking that bad number since 9.5 was available. Oregon likes to play fast, and they get sloppy. That plays right into Louisville’s hands, and they should win handily. But this is a bad number, and you shouldn’t bet bad numbers. I’ll stick with my tiny wager at the opener of -9.5.
Louisville -9.5, $2.50 to win $2.27
NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16: Kansas (-2) vs. Michigan (7:15 p.m., TBS)
I’m a diehard Michigan fan, and I’m shaking just thinking about this game. I’m terrified of the matchup, mainly because I’m terrified of Jeff Withey. But Kansas is sloppy and careless, and Michigan is neither of those things. And Michigan’s offense doesn’t rely at all on scoring in the paint, so I think we can survive the beast. This game has the potential to get ugly because Kansas’s defense can be downright nasty, and their offense can be gruesome. It also has the potential to be a fast, high-scoring, beautiful game if both teams play to their potential.
I don’t love the matchup, but I do think the wrong team is favored. There are plenty of things that concern me here, but I don’t think Michigan should be catching points to a sloppy team like Kansas. And most importantly, Trey Burke.
Michigan +2 (-105), $10 to win $9.52 AND ML (+120), $1.50 to win $1.80
NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16: Michigan State vs. Duke (-2.5) (9:30 p.m., CBS)
This opened at Duke -1. I don’t really know what to think about this game. Both teams play to their stereotypes. Michigan State is tougher, has the better defense and will absolutely dominate the boards. Duke is an awful rebounding team, but protects the 3-point line well and shoots as well as anyone. Duke will get no offensive rebounds but protect the ball. Michigan State will turn the ball over but hound the offensive glass.
I don’t see much reason to bet this game. But I’m in full no-cop-out mode, and when in doubt, take the tougher team, catching the points. I’d expect this to be close, and those 2.5 points will be nice to have on my side.
MSU +2.5 (-107), $5 to win $4.67 AND ML (+130), $0.75 to win $0.98
NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida (-13) (9:55 p.m., TBS)
This opened at Florida -11, but if you blinked you missed it. Fortunately, I didn’t blink. The obvious reason to back Florida is that, if this was a first-round game, Florida would probably be -18, at the very least. You’re getting a ton of value based on the season-long stats, but there are clearly reasons to like Gulf Coast based on recent play.
If I had to bet, I’d say Florida covers. It’s hard to ignore the full season statistics, and Florida is the most efficient team in the country. FGCU has been unbelievable, but Georgetown (despite their seed) was far more vulnerable than Florida, and so was San Diego State.
I will think outside of the box for this one, though, because the inside of the box is for squares. Florida blows teams out but struggles in close games. If this one’s close, I think Dunk City has a great shot. But I think Florida probably blows them out. I’ve never done this before, but I have Florida ATS, and I’ll add Gulf Coast on the moneyline. I think the moneyline is too large given Florida’s late-game struggles. If Florida covers, I make a few bucks. If Gulf Coast wins, I make a lot of bucks. If Gulf Coast covers and loses, I lose 2.5-times a normal bet. I’ll live (I think).
And then I get to root for Dunk City.
Florida -11, $15 to win $13.64 AND GULF COAST ML (+735), $10 to win $73.50
NHL: Ducks (+147) at Blackhawks (155) (8:30 p.m., NHLN)
Jonas Hiller is in net for the Ducks, and Ray Emery is in net for the ‘Hawks. Hiller started the year out slow, but is playing as well as virtually anyone, right now. Emery has been incredible all year. These are two of the best defenses in the league. The public perception is that these are great teams that score a lot, so this total is 5.5, not 5. That’s stupid. It should be 5, and you should bet the under.
You’re also getting extra value because the Ducks are struggling, lately. That gives me pause for making this a big bet, but I’ll take the extra value.
UNDER 5.5 (-120), $10 to win $8.33
NHL: Lightning Team Total UNDER 2.5 (+105), $5 to win $5.25
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 88-66 (+$67.41)
What else is on: Nothing. Watch March Madness, if that wasn’t clear.
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag
Photo via Yahoo!