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!
NBA: Heat (-5.5) at Celtics (8:00 p.m., ESPN)
It’s hard to imagine many non-Celtics fans will be betting the Celtics here, with Miami being Miami and on a decent 22-game winning streak. Despite always having a target on their backs, the Heat are 15-14 ATS as a road favorite. Boston is 3-3 ATS as a home favorite. The Celtics haven’t lost at home in almost two months.
Here’s how the Heat-Celtics season series has gone, so far.
10/30: Miami (-6.5) wins and covers at home, 120-107.
1/27: Boston (+4.5) wins and covers at home, 100-98.
Despite losing, Miami is favored by an extra point, in reference to the last game. Revenge is a possible reason, but you know neither team needs motivation, here. The real reason is how unstoppable the Heat have been; they’ve only lost one game since that loss. And Kevin Garnett is doubtful.
I don’t see a reason to bet this. The spread might be a bit inflated towards the popular Heat, but with Garnett probably out and Miami on a roll, I can’t back Boston.
Pass, lean Celtics, I guess
NHL: Flyers (-115) at Lightning (+105) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
The Flyers were stupidly big favorites on Friday. We bet against them, and even though we lost a close one; it was the right bet, in my opinion. On Thursday, they were also priced stupidly. That time, our bet won. They’re stupidly favorites again, and while it will hurt if we’re burned again, I can’t help it. Oddsmakers are in bed with the Flyers, and I don’t know what they see in them. They are ugly and have a bad personality, despite confounding hype. That is not the type of team you should allow in your sacred, proverbial bed, unless you have loose morals.
Philadelphia is 29th in 5-on-5 plus/minus per 60 minutes. Tampa Bay is ninth. The Flyers 27th in RPI, which is actually a somewhat useful hockey stat (though the Lightning are 26th). Anders Lindback’s goaltending hasn’t been great for the Lightning, but Ilya Bryzgalov’s hasn’t been great for the Flyers, either. Goaltending is basically a wash.
Special teams are basically a wash, too. The Flyers are very good on the power play, but Tampa Bay is very good on the penalty kill. Tampa Bay is pretty good on the power play, and the Flyers are passable on the penalty kill. There is nothing pointing in the Flyers direction. Neither team is playing especially well of late, but the Lightning’s form has been a bit better.
Add in a bit of home-ice advantage and the fact that the Lightning will be out for revenge for these questionably dirty Zac Rinaldo punches, and I just don’t get why the Flyers are favorites here.
And as I mentioned last time, if you are going to bet against the Flyers (or on the Lightning, for that matter), the puckline (-1.5) is typically a smart bet.
Lightning ML (+105), $20 to win $21 AND Lightning -1.5 (+284), $10 to win $28.40
NHL: Ducks ML (-133) $10 to win $7.52 AND UNDER 5 (+114), $5 to win $5.70
Kings ML (-170), $10 to win $5.88 AND Coyotes TEAM TOTAL UNDER 2.5 (-145), $20 to win $13.79
NCAAB: Middle Tennessee State +3 (-110), $15 to win $13.64 AND ML (+135), $5 to win $8.10
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 64-50 (+$115.31)
What else is on: NBA: Knicks at Jazz (-10.5) (10:30 p.m., ESPN). That’s all (sadface).
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag