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: Kentucky at Florida (-10.5) (9:00 p.m., ESPN)
Florida is the No.1 team in KenPom, third in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency. His numbers have this line at 16! So, why is the line only 10.5? It’s either because people love Kentucky due to the whole top recruiting class thing, or the numbers overrate Florida. Probably a bit of both.
Is there an edge here? I don’t think so. Kentucky hasn’t really “improved” like people are saying (at least by the numbers). They have one impressive win (at Ole Miss) and played Louisville tough. But I can’t really find a reason to play either team here. Both teams should be motivated, and Florida is the much better team, playing at home.
PASS, YOU DEGENERATE
College Basketball: Virginia Tech at Virginia (-13.5) (9:00 p.m., ESPNU)
Ah, good ol’ buy low, sell high! Virginia was the 42nd-ranked team in KenPom a week ago. Two blowouts later, they’re No. 22. The numbers say they should be favored by 16, but this is why the numbers aren’t always accurate.
Virginia Tech was actually somewhat sorta passably decent at the beginning of the year, but they’ve been awful recently against a relatively tough schedule. If they can’t keep it within 13.5 against their in-state rivals, there’s no hope.
It won’t be pretty, but the Hokies have a solid chance to cover.
P.S. If you bet this at the opening number, you’d have +15.
Virginia Tech +13.5 (-103), $10 to win $9.71
College Basketball: Michigan (-2) at Michigan State (9:00 p.m., ESPN)
Michigan has played four tough teams on the road:
Minnesota (W by 8, controlled game)
Ohio State (L by 3, OSU dominated early, Mich nearly won late)
Indiana (L by 8, Indiana dominated early, were in control entire game)
Michigan State’s most similar opponent to Michigan is probably Indiana (though the Hoosiers are slightly better). MSU lost by five, on the road.
This line might be a bit skewed towards Michigan, but not enough to warrant a bet. They have a trend of starting slowly on the road in their two big games, but I’m not buying that as a large enough sample size. This game should be close, which means you’ll have live-betting possibilities. If you can get either team as a decent-sized underdog, take them, and hope they come back. Then, take the other team, and you may win both bets.
PASS, YOU DEGENERATE
NHL: Rangers (+125) at Bruins (-132) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)
This line implies just a 45.5% chance of the Rangers winning. But their record is deflated by a tough schedule, while Boston’s is inflated by an easy one. Both teams are really good, but the Rangers are slightly better and have the better goalie. There’s no reason they should be underdogs, even on the road. Also, with these goalies, in a big game, fully rested, the under is worth a play.
Rangers ML +125, $10 to win $12.50 AND Under 5 (-105), $10 to win $9.52
Bonus Bets! NHL: Capitals ML +117, $20 to win $23.40, Ducks ML +145, $10 to win $14.50 AND Ducks/Blackhawks UNDER 5.5 (-117), $10 to win $8.56
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 22-15 (+$64.57)
What else is on: College Basketball: Seton Hall at Rutgers (7:00 p.m., ESPN2) and Alabama at Georgia (9:00 p.m., ESPNU)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag