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!
College Basketball: Syracuse (-1) at Marquette (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
Syracuse shows signs of being an elite team, but they’ve struggled in all of their tough games the past month. Their last impressive win was Jan. 19 at Louisville (which was a really impressive win). Marquette has been undefeated at home, and has been impressive. The metrics favor the Orange, but home-court advantage and recent play imply that this is a fair line.
There’s just one key stat that stands out. Syracuse forces turnovers on 24.3% of possessions (19th in the country). Marquette turns it over on 20.5% of possessions (192nd). ‘Cuse’s strength coincides with Marquette’s weakness. Against Louisville, an even better team at forcing turnovers, Marquette lost by 19 and turned it over on 27.9% of possessions.
That makes me lean slightly towards Syracuse, but not enough to make a play. This game could go either way.
Pass, lean Syracuse
College Basketball: Kansas (-1) at Iowa State (9:00 p.m., ESPN2)
I’ve seen people on Twitter call this a “trap” game, implying that Kansas should be favored by more. But I’m not seeing that. Kansas has struggled lately — their offense can look downright ugly — and they needed overtime to beat Iowa State at home. Kansas is a completely different team on the road. The line makes sense.
Iowa State isn’t great on defense, but their offense is very, very good. Kansas has the athleticism/talent edge as you’d imagine, but their offense is impossible to trust, on the road. The Cyclones rely a lot on the 3-ball, and they’re good at it. If Iowa State makes their threes, they can easily pull the supposed “upset.” But I wouldn’t call it an upset.
Then again, I think Iowa State is a bit overrated and Kansas’s stock is as low as it will ever be. The Jayhawks beat Ohio State and Oklahoma State on the road. Iowa State hasn’t done much against good teams. Kansas is battle-tested and has something to prove.
There isn’t a huge edge here, but I think Kansas is in a different class than Iowa State, and is worth a small play, ugly offense aside.
Note: Kansas is the nation’s best team at defending 2-pointers (38.3%).
Kansas -1 (-107), $10 to win $9.35
NHL: Stars (+139) at Predators (-147) (8:00 p.m., NBCSN)
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is an elite goalie, and it’s tough to bet against elite goalies. The Stars are starting backup Christopher Nihlstorp. He’s been good, but that makes them less appealing than if they were starting their own elite netminder, Kari Lehtonen.
Both teams have been mediocre lately. They’ve had similar profiles this year. Nashville is at home, with the better goalie, so they’re favored. The line does seem a bit unfavorably skewed towards Nashville, but again, I don’t want to bet against the better goalie.
The under is usually tempting with the way Nashville plays, but with the Stars’ backup in and Nashville struggling, I’m not comfortable betting this game.
PASS, YOU CRAZY DEGENERATE
TV: Rules of Engagement (8:30 p.m., CBS)
Jeff tries to change his unhealthy eating habits after he accidentally consumes a “special” cupcake and lands in the hospital. Meanwhile, Russell forces Timmy to be his wingman when his date brings her mother on their big night out.
Jeff DIES from the “special” cupcake, because there’s evil POT in it (+1000), $30 to win $3,000
NHL: Canadiens/Senators UNDER 5 (-110), $10 to win $9.09
Flyers/Maple Leafs OVER 5.5 (-110), $5 to win $4.55
Ducks ML (+138), $20 to win $27.60
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 44-33 (+$109.49)
What else is on: Women’s College Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma (7:00 p.m., ESPN2); Men’s College Basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall (9:00 p.m., ESPNU)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag