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!
Let’s try and make a few bucks so you can turn those bucks into more bucks, betting on March Madness.
NCAA Tournament First* Round: LIU Brooklyn vs. James Madison (pk) (6:30 p.m., truTV)
Long Island is fun to watch. They are great shooters (12th in eFG%) and play at an incredibly fast pace. Of course, they play no defense which is why they are in this first round/play-in/stupid game. They lost to Kentucky 104-75, which tells all you need to know about them.
James Madison plays passable defense but can’t shoot.
I don’t know why I’m even thinking about recommending a pick. There is a reason why there’s no favorite in this game.
Pass, lean LIU cuz they’re fun
NCAA Tournament First* Round: Boise State (-1.5) vs. LaSalle (9:00 p.m., truTV)
This game should be interesting. Both teams are decent and shoot the three very well. This is a very balanced matchup, except in one area.
La Salle gives up the fourth fewest percentage of 3-point attempts in the nation. That leaves them very vulnerable to 2-pointers, on which their defense is abysmal. Boise State is very good at threes, and very bad at twos. So, you’d think LaSalle is well-suited to guard Boise’s biggest strength.
That’s enough of an edge for me to risk five doll hairs.
LaSalle +1.5 (-109), $5 to win $4.59 AND ML (+110), $0.75 to win $0.83
NHL: Blackhawks (-104) at Ducks (-106) (10:00 p.m., NHLN)
This is arguably the best NHL game of the season. The Ducks are just five points shy of the Blackhawks’ NHL-leading 51 points, with a game in hand. The game’s magnitude prompted the NHL.com headline: “Sizzling Ducks host Hawks,” and now I want some sizzling duck.
Both teams have two goalies that have played a lot, but tonight it’ll be Corey Crawford for the ‘Hawks and Jonas Hiller for the Ducks. Hiller was shaky to start the year but has been lights-out lately. Crawford has been incredible all year. Based on current play, this is a wash.
Overall, these teams are basically even. They are the class of the NHL right now. Anaheim won the first meeting, 3-2, in a shootout. You’d have to give the slightest edge to the home team in such a big game, but I don’t see a reason to bet the Ducks at -106.
You do have options if you want to bet, though. Betting on overtime at +285 implies a 26% chance of overtime. Not a horrible bet.
But I think there’s only one worthwhile bet here. It’s the under. Both teams are elite on offense, but the reason they’re so good is defense and goaltending. These are arguably the best two defensive teams playing in front of the two hottest goalies in all the land. Totals for teams like these are usually set at 5. For whatever reason, probably the hype behind both teams’ offenses, this total is 5.5.
Note: I recommend playing the 5.5 total at -126, but if you like to live on the edge, you can bet the under 5 at +160.
UNDER 5.5 (-126), $30 to win $23.81
TV: Criminal Minds (9:00 p.m., CBS)
The unit investigates victims who were documenting their personal lives and desires on blog posts and social media. Meanwhile, Kevin gets jealous when he learns that Garcia may have a new love interest.
The damning evidence is found via INSTAGRAM SELFIES, not Facebook statuses or Tweets (+975), $15 to win $146.25
NHL: Lightning Team Total OVER 2.5 goals (-130), $30 to win $23.08
Red Wings ML (-134), $20 to win $14.93
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 70-53 (+$173.03)
What else is on: NHL: Wild at Red Wings (7:30 p.m., NBCSN); NBA: Nets at Mavs (8:00 p.m., ESPN); Lots of crappy NIT basketball: (Various Times, p.m., Various ESPN-Family Networks)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag