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: Devils (+129) at Flyers (-142) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
Both teams are hanging on to slim playoff hopes. This is a massive game for them both. I personally have strong thoughts about both teams, as I’ve hated and bet against the Flyers all year long, and I’m a diehard Devils fan (despite the fact that they’ve sucked, and I’ve rarely bet on them). Basic statistics, advanced statistics, common sense, psychology, word association, geology and any rational and irrational method you can use will tell you that the Devils have a massive goaltending edge. Martin Brodeur: exceptional. Ilya Bryzgalov: occasionally good, often bad. Sometimes indescribably bad. The Devils have won each of the past six Brodeur-Bryzgalov matchups, including a playoff series last season.
The Devils have lost 10 games in a row (though four were in overtime). I haven’t backed them once, because for much of that streak, they’ve looked awful. But their last two performances have actually been two of their best, all season. They looked great, outshooting two good teams (Ottawa and Toronto) 65-24, despite losing both games, 2-0. I assure you they looked great, but exceptional goaltending and inconceivable misfortune caused two losses. If the price is right, I’m comfortable backing them.
But, the Flyers have improved recently. They’re 4-1 in their last five home games, with wins over the Rangers, Bruins, Capitals and Canadiens, a pesky bunch.
But. Yeah. Bryzgalov has still been bad, and if the Devils can actually score a few goals for once, they are the better team here. Opposing goaltending has been killing the Devils, and it will (likely) not do so here. The Devils traditionally match up well with the Flyers, and that hasn’t changed. The Devils beat teams they can score on. The Flyers rely on their power play. The Devils have an exceptional penalty kill. Simple stuff, and there’s value.
Devils ML +129, $10 to win $12.90, Flyers team total UNDER 2.5 (+105), $5 to win $5.25 AND Devils team total OVER 2.5 (-105), $5 to win $4.76
NHL: Wild (+134) at Sharks (-147) (10:30 p.m., NHLN)
The Sharks are 15-1-5 at home, but 8-12-2 on the road. Unsurprisingly, this season series is 1-1, with both home teams winning. The Wild are a decent road team, but nothing special. On neutral ice (which isn’t a thing, but I’ll talk about it anyway), this is a virtually even matchup, with the Sharks getting a slight edge due to superior goaltending.
For this to be a smart bet at -147, you have to think the Sharks win more than 59.5% of the time. This is a home team that hasn’t yet clinched a playoff spot. A team that has won 71.4% of its home games, against a team that is nothing special. There is a bit of an edge here. Nothing crazy, because you have to realize that this is a low-scoring team that plays a lot of overtime games. But this is a very likely win.
Sharks ML (-147), $20 to win $13.60
NHL: Senators/Captitals UNDER 5.5 (-131), $40 to win $30.53
Kings/Blue Jackets UNDER 5 (-105), $20 to win $16.67
Panthers ML (+247), $10 to win $24.70
Islanders/Leafs OVER 5.5 (+105), $10 to win $10.50
Leafs ML (-121), $10 to win $8.26
Lightning/Canadiens OVER 5.5 (-114), $10 to win $8.77
…for s*i*s and gigs… PARLAY: Isles over 5/Sens under 6/Sharks ML/Kings under 5 (+554), $10 to win $55.40
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 120-87 (+$124.57)
What else is on:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
1 p.m. or 2:15 p.m. | MLB Network
San Francisco at Milwaukee or Texas at Chicago Cubs
7 p.m. | MLB Network
St. Louis at Philadelphia or Miami at Cincinnati
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag