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!
NHL: Rangers (-134) at Flyers (+125) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
The Rangers were Cup co-favorites at the beginning of the year. I laughed, cried and bet against them all year. Betting against them all year was the greatest gift I’ve ever given my wallet… besides betting against the Flyers, who have been even more of a disappointment. This isn’t a surprise — if you bet against the Rangers every single game this year, you’d be down 5.1 units (a unit is an average-sized bet), and that number is 8.4 for the Flyers. And, obviously, if you bet selectively and intelligently (and were granted some good fortune), you could have profited more than that.
But I can’t bet on both teams to lose, because that’s against the rules, and I’m a law-abiding man (I would never actually bet these games I recommend… I’d be in jail!).
So. In net: Steve Mason, laughingstock, vs. Henrik Lundqvist, perennial Vezina contender. Massive edge, Rangers (though that’s the case in most of their games, and they still lose often). Mason has been even more awful than co-laughingstock Ilya Bryzgalov, so this most certainly doesn’t look good for Philly. Perhaps that’s what they want us to think. But it’s a little late for that, as the Flyers virtually eliminated from the playoffs, and the Rangers have a mildly comfortable lead on the final spot.
The Flyers lost four in a row before somehow annihilating the Canadiens and Carey Price. One of the worst offensive teams in the NHL scored 7 goals against one of the best goalies, who strangely struggled. It was weird, so I will call it a fluke. The Rangers have won five of seven in impressive fashion. They’re on better form.
Both teams struggle mightily to score, 5-on-5. The difference is the Rangers have elite defense and goaltending, and the Flyers have awful defense and goaltending. Philly relies heavily on its impressive power play.
The teams have played played four times this season:
Flyers 2, @Rangers 1
Rangers 2, @Flyers 1
Flyers 2, @Rangers 4
@Flyers 2, Rangers 5
The Flyers haven’t topped 2 goals in any matchup, and in an important game, against Lundqvist, that trend seems likely to persist. But, the Flyers are actually solid at home (12-6-2), and the Rangers are shaky on the road (8-10-2). You can’t count on the Rangers offense on the road, even against Mason. The only constant here is Lundqvist. He’s given up fewer than 3 goals in six of seven games. Against an abysmal offense, this is worth a small bet. Though the possibility of a 3-2 game is always looming, so don’t go crazy.
Flyers team total UNDER 2.5 (-115), $5 to win $4.35
NHL: Kings at Sharks (-12.5) (10:30 p.m., NBSN)
As I outlined last week, the Kings are a strange team, with a strange goalie, in Jonathan Quick. Quick is starting tonight, against Sharks backup Thomas Greiss. Both goalies have been awful, overall. Greiss has seen limited action so his numbers don’t mean as much, but Jonathan Quick, the same goalie who carried the Kings on his back to last year’s Stanley Cup, has been a liability this season. He’s actually been good at home, which means he’s been awful on the road. Awful as in a .885 save percentage, 3.21 GAA and a 5-8-2 record. Yeah. He also was pulled after giving up three goals in 28:24 the only Sharks-Kings matchup this year, a 4-3 loss.
All of this makes you love the Sharks, but then you realize you can’t trust Greiss. He’s played just five games all year. He started the year with two good games (a shutout win and then a 2-1 loss against high-powered Anaheim), and he followed that with three bad games (three losses, a combined 14 goals allowed).
Here’s the great thing: these teams have low-scoring, great goaltending reputations, so the total is set at the lowest possible threshold, 5, heavily juiced to the under. This is fantastic. The Sharks offense is bad, unequivocally, so if this wasn’t priced as such, I’d hesitate to bet the over. But it is priced as such, and I love the over at as fat of a price you’ll ever see. Anything can happen in hockey, but you won’t get a juicy price like this very often.
Note: Sharks are 14-1-5 at home. I feel like you should know this, even though I can’t recommend a side here.
Kings/Sharks OVER 5 (-108), $30 to win $23.07
TV: House Hunters (-12.5) (10:00 p.m., HGTV)
Hippie Chick vs. Army Guy in Durango, Colorado
A self-described hippie and her Army vet husband disagree about what kind of home to buy with their $350,000 budget in Durango, Colo. While she wants something older with character and a space for practicing yoga, he’s pushing for a new house that’s low maintenance.
Mr. Tough Army Man gives in and becomes Mr. Sensitive Yoga Man With High Maintenance House, because that’s true love and that’s gripping television, (+275), $10 to win $27.50
NHL: Islanders/Panthers OVER 5.5 (+114), $15 to win $17.10
Maple Leafs +150, $10 to win $15
Senators ML (-162), $20 to win $12.34
Hurricanes team total UNDER 2.5 (-130), $30 to win $23.08
Lightning ML (+148), $10 to win $14.80
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 114-83 (+$78.15)
What else is on:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
7 p.m. | MLB Network
Philadelphia at Cincinnati or Arizona at New York Yankees
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag