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: Penguins (+115) at Rangers (-120) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
This is a weird game. The Penguins are undoubtedly the better team, but they’re missing Sidney Crosby and they just lost their 15-game winning streak. They also made multiple trades (including one for Jarome Iginla), and their lineup is in flux. I’ve seen some smart people backing the Rangers, and the line has moved in their favor. It opened at Rangers -105. Presumably, that’s because people are assuming the Penguins won’t be fully motivated. I think that might be a bit off base (the Penguins don’t have a commanding lead over the Canadiens for the No. 1 seed in the East), but the Rangers are at home, just outside of the playoffs. They do have an edge, motivation-wise.
I just don’t see how you can back the clearly inferior team as a favorite, though. The winning-streak-let-down angle does scare me away from the Pens, but it doesn’t make me want to bet on the struggling, less talented team. I immediately look to the under, since 10 of Pittsburgh’s last 11 games have seen five or fewer goals. Marc-Andre Fleury has elite stats because of his elite defense, and Henrik Lundqvist is as good as any goalie in the league. The Rangers also struggle mightily to score (though they added Ryan Clowe). They’ve scored fewer than three goals in 10 of their past 14 games. Books have adjusted by setting the total at 5, but the only difference between that and a 5.5 total is the greater chance of a push. While everyone is infatuated with the Rangers, fire away on the under at plus-money.
UNDER 5 (+119), $20 to win $23.80
NBA: Knicks at Hawks (-1.5) (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
This opened at Hawks -3.5. That makes sense, since the Knicks just beat the (depleted) Heat on the road and have covered the spread in nine of their last 10 games. The Hawks have been good lately, too, though, covering in 8 of their last 12. The Hawks are 24-13 at home, but just 14-21-2 ATS. The Knicks are an impressive 20-16 on the road, and 18-6-2 ATS. They’ve won nine games in a row. They’re on a back-to-back, but they’re 9-7 ATS in those situations.
I don’t really see an edge anywhere. The Knicks are better, but they’re on the road on a back-to-back. They should be slight underdogs, and they are slight underdogs. Gun to my head, I’d pick the home team with the lower public perception.
Pass, tiny lean to Hawks
MLB: Braves ML (-125), $10 to win $8
NHL: Canadiens ML (-115), $30 to win $26.09 AND FLYERS team total UNDER 2.5 (+100), $5 to win $5
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 98-72 (+$83.88)
What else is on:
COLLEGE MEN’S LACROSSE
5 p.m. | ESPNU
Villanova at Georgetown
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
7 p.m. | ESPN2
Boston at New York Yankees
10 p.m. | ESPN2
San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers
7 p.m. | ESPN
New York at Atlanta
10 p.m. | NBATV
Memphis at Portland
7 p.m. | ESPNU and 9:30 p.m. | ESPN
McDonald’s All-American games
8 p.m. (same-day tape) | Fox Sports Net
Galatasaray at Real Madrid
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag
Photo via NHL.com