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: Indiana (-5.5) at Minnesota (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
Minnesota has two quality home wins, vs. Michigan State and Wisconsin (in OT). There’s no reason to think Indiana will lose. But will they cover? Both teams should be motivated, and I don’t really see any edge here. It’s a big spread, but it should be a big spread.
Indiana is probably too much for Minnesota and I wouldn’t bet against their talent. But I wouldn’t count on them to cover a 5.5-point spread on the road, either.
Pass, lean Indiana
College Basketball: Florida (-8) at Tennessee (9:00 p.m., ESPN)
Florida has been a curious case for bettors all year, since the bible, KenPom, rates them so highly. KenPom says this spread should be 12. And when you add in the fact that Tennessee is coming off a 4OT win on the road on Saturday, there does seem to be a bit of value.
But the Gators have lost two of three on the road, both as significant favorites. I’m not sure you can trust them to cover a monster spread.
There are reasons to bet Florida here. But I’m just not comfortable taking an unproven road team with a target on their backs at -8.
Pass, lean Florida
NHL: Bruins (-145) at Islanders (+137) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
This is an interesting matchup. The Islanders are dead last in the NHL in 5-on-5 plus-minus per 60 minutes. But they’re third in 5-on-4 plus-minus per 60, and they take very few penalties. So, they should be able to neutralize the Islanders’ biggest strength.
Boston is better in every aspect of the game, except the power play, but they’re heavy road favorites. I’m not sure they’re worth the price, so we’ve got to think outside of the box.
The Bruins are a great defensive team with a great goalie, and as I mentioned, their biggest strength is stopping the Islanders’ only big strength. So, I like the Islanders to score fewer than 2.5 goals. Normally I’d take the game under, but I don’t trust New York’s defense.
Boston has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 10 of 15 games (67%), while the Islanders have scored 2 or fewer goals in 9 of 19 games (47%). Because of the matchup and since it’s not heavily juiced, I like the Isles team-total under.
Islanders UNDER 2.5 (-115), $20 to win $17.39
TV: NCIS (9:00 p.m., CBS)
Sam helps an Afghan elder, who assisted him years ago when he was wounded on a mission, search for the man’s missing nephew.
The Afghan elder is actually an old rug and NOT an old person from Afghanistan (+2500), $15 to win $375
NHL: Penguins -1.5 (+195), $10 to win $19.50
Coyotes/Canucks UNDER 5 (+114), $10 to win $11.40
Avalanche ML (+168), $10 to win $16.80
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 47-34 (+$112.48)
What else is on: College Basketball: Auburn at Alabama (7:00 p.m., ESPNU), Memphis at Xavier (7:00 p.m., ESPN2) and Wake Forest at Florida State (9:00 p.m., ESPNU)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag