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: Rangers (+104) at Flyers (-115) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
I don’t know why I have to keep repeating this. The Philadelphia Flyers have inarguably been one of the worst teams in the NHL this year. They have talent, but they’ve been abysmal. They have a bad goalie. They’re 27th in 5-on-5 plus-minus. They have above average special teams, but they aren’t elite. They surprisingly hung with their rival Penguins, on the road, last game; but overall, there’s zero reason to support this team right now.
The Rangers have been the better team. Both teams struggle to score, but Henrik Lundqvist has been elite as always, and the Rangers stop people. Looking at the full season stats, I’d say fire away, big time, on the Rangers. But the Rangers are struggling, so this is just a normal bet. I’d also normally recommend the Flyers team total under, but the Rangers are seriously struggling.
Rangers ML (+104), $10 to win $10.40
World Cup Qualifying Soccer: U.S.A. (+547) at Mexico (-161); Draw (+303) (10:15 p.m., ESPN)
The U.S. soccer team beat Costa Rica, at home. They don’t need this win. But Mexico is our biggest rival, so we’ll come to play. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann claims he is going to play aggressive, shooting for the win, despite the fact that a draw would essentially be a victory.
But Tim Howard is out. Jermaine Jones is out. Mexico is the better team. Estadio Azteca is arguably the toughest place to play in soccer. There’s altitude. There’s crazy Mexican fans cheering for their national team in their national sport in a game that means a ton. We beat Mexico in Azteca in a friendly last year, but it was a friendly and Mexico was just being friendly.
Mexico surprisingly drew its first two games in qualifying, and if they draw here, they’ll actually have to begin comprehending not making the World Cup, which would be catastrophic. There’s a lot going against the U.S. Mexico has 24 wins and one draw in their last 25 home qualifiers. We are 0-12-1 in actual games at Azteca. That’s bad.
Add that to the fact that you get a bit of value betting against the U.S.A. while residing in the U.S.A. (because people don’t like betting against their own country), and you’ve got yourself a great bet. The only question is: which bet offers the most value? You can bet Mexico -1 (+109). You can bet them on the moneyline, which loses if there’s a draw, at -161. Or you could bet on the Asian handicap of -.5, -1 (-126). The Asian handicap puts half of your bet on -.5 and half on -1 (which is refunded if Mexico wins by 1).
Since I’m making a much-larger-than-normal bet here, I’ll play it safe and take the smaller payout with the moneyline. Also, if you’re making a large bet like this, if the game is a draw deep into play, you can hedge your bet by live-betting on the draw (or U.S.A. to win).
Mexico ML (-161), $60 to win $37.27
NHL: Canadiens/Penguins UNDER 6 (-120), $20 to win $16.67 AND Penguins ML (-145), $10 to win $6.90
Islanders OVER 5.5 (+105), $10 to win $10.50
Hurricanes ML (-120), $20 to win $16.67
Lightning ML (-120), $10 to win $8.34
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 81-61 (+$142.22)
What else is on:
7 p.m. | TNT
New York at Boston
Men’s NIT Quarterfinal
9:30 p.m. | TNT
Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas
7:30 p.m. | ESPN
NIT, quarterfinal, Maryland at Alabama
Women’s NCAA Tournament, Second Round
7 p.m. | ESPN2
North Carolina vs. Delaware or Kentucky vs. Dayton
9 p.m. | ESPN2
Florida State vs. Baylor, Michigan vs. Stanford, Penn State vs. LSU or Notre Dame vs. Iowa
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag