Computer Picks: 08/02/2010—Monday Morning Hangover

Updated: February 8, 2010 at 6:46 am by Jeff Tay

After such a stirring weekend of sports, it may be difficult for many sports fans to find anything on Monday to truly get excited about, but perhaps, it won’t only be the fans who will appear slightly disinterested. As I may have mentioned before, Mondays this season have been unfavourable to both the home teams and the Overs; the speculations being that because road teams usually have less weekend distractions to deal with away from home, and that there tends to be less spring in the steps of players coming out of the weekends.  If there is any truth to these speculations, then there should be no reasons to suggest that this Monday will be significantly different.

However, even beyond the players, there may even be yet another group that could be a little less sharp than usual as a result of the busy weekend, and that group could be the oddsmakers. Of course, the oddsmakers are almost always very good at what they do, but if any of the betting lines seem slightly unusual this Monday, it could actually be the result of a Superbowl hangover. The one betting line that is currently leading me to this conclusion is the SJS/TOR Over 5.5 which is opening at +110. To open the Under 5.5 here at -130 almost seems nonsensical, as the price here is identical to the line offered in last Friday night’s tilt between Calgary and Florida. When the opening O/U line in a matchup between the Sharks and the Leafs is identical to that of a recent matchup between the Flames and the Panthers (the Over 5.5 +110 and Under 5.5 -130), then something is just a little bit off.

On the other hand though, all of the other NHL betting lines actually don’t appear to be too far from the ordinary, but this one oddity may be all that we need to really put focus on.

_ _ _

Editor’s Choice: San Jose Sharks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Over 5.5

The Pitch: J.S. Giguere may have gotten 2 shutouts in 2 starts with the Leafs so far, but are we really to believe then that he should be on pace here for a similar performance? In two meetings against the Sharks this season, Giguere has allowed a total of 9 goals on 62 shots for a .855 save percentage. San Jose has also scored at least 3 goals on 6 of their last 8 road opponents, and Toronto will be the second-worst home defense that they have faced during this stretch. Meanwhile, Toronto has also averaged 3.60 goals per game in their last 5 at home, and 4 of their last 6 games overall have gone over the total. It would also be worth mentioning that San Jose has actually seen the score go over the posted total in each of their last 6 games.

The Fine Print: Perhaps, all is not rosy when it comes to the Over 5.5 here, as the Sharks have a GAA of 1.80 over their last 10 road games, and the Leafs have 3 shutouts in their last 5 games at home. If it weren’t for these stats, this line would have undoubtedly been a 6.0, and a good goaltending performance from either side could very well be enough to shut down the Over in this game. Furthermore, a case of Monday night sluggishness could also slow the pace of this game down.

The Final Transaction: A solid purchase. The Over 5.5 here offers good line value in a matchup that would usually see a posted 6.0, and it even offers plus-money (+110), provided that the line doesn’t move too much. There’s no need to go crazy with the big units here, but the line just looks wrong and should be attacked accordingly—or am I just feeling the effects of a ‘Monday Morning Hangover’ myself?

_ _ _

Best Over/Under Offer: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks Over 5.5

The Pitch: If the Kings wanted to pad their offensive stats, they would choose to play the Ducks every day of the week. The Kings have scored at least 4 goals in each of their last 5 meetings with the Ducks, dating back to last season, with 3 of these meetings occurring this season. Furthermore, the Kings have also been impressive lately, averaging over 4 goals per game over their last 7 road games, and over 3.75 goals per game during their current 9 game win streak. Anaheim has also averaged nearly 3.9 goals per game over their last 11 games at home, and they managed to score 4 on the Kings in a 6-4 loss on Thursday.

The Fine Print: Jonathan Quick may have allowed 7 goals in his last 2 starts combined, but prior to that, he had allowed just 6 goals in his previous 4 starts, and was almost solely responsible for none of those games going over their posted totals. Meanwhile, Jonas Hiller be looking to redeem himself after surrendering 6 to LA on Thursday, and prior to that outing, he had only allowed 4 goals in his previous 4 starts combined. Both of these teams have also played to more Unders than Overs over the course of this season, and their head-to-head meetings so far may not have been accurate indications of how they are more likely to play in future games.

The Final Transaction: Buy it and try it. Mondays aren’t the best days to be playing the Overs, and there also seems to be a majority consensus on the Under on consensus boards, which is indicative of the good defense that these two teams are capable of playing, but the Kings seem to torch the Ducks every time that they meet up, and Jonathan Quick’s last 2 starts may also be a sign of fatigue, which also favours the possibility of both teams having big nights on offense.

_ _ _

Best Moneyline Offer: Philadelphia Flyers -120

The Pitch: The New Jersey Devils need to play good defense at the moment, because they haven’t figured out how to put the puck in the net for quite some time now. The Devils, who got off to a great start on the road this season, have averaged just 1.54 goals per game over their last 13 on the road. As for their defense then, the Devils have actually allowed at least 3 goals in each of their last 5 games overall, and Martin Brodeur has not posted a save percentage better than .900 in 4 straight starts. Conversely, it is actually the Flyers who are shutting down their opponents, as they have held 7 of their last 8 opponents to 2 goals or less. Philadelphia has had trouble scoring lately as well, but they are at least doing well at one end of the rink, as opposed to neither end for New Jersey.

The Fine Print: Philadelphia has proven over the course of this season, that they have been unable to score on top-tier road defenses at home, as they have managed an average of less than 2 goals per game against these teams. The Flyers will also be coming off a road trip in which they covered a lot of distance, and jetlag could be an issue. The Devils managed 42 shots on goal against the Rangers on Saturday, and a similar effort here could be more than the Flyers can handle. Furthermore, Ilya Kovalchuk could be due to score his first goal or goals with his new team, as he managed to net one in his last visit to Philadelphia with the Thrashers.

The Final Transaction: A solid purchase. Philadelphia has won 2 out of their 3 meetings this season with New Jersey, and they have held the Devils to exactly 2 goals in both of those wins. The Flyers have also had a tendency this season to bounce back with wins after losing 2 consecutive games, and New Jersey has won just 4 of their last 13 games overall, and 1 of their last 8 on the road. Philadelphia’s travel schedule does offer some slight reason for concern though.

 _ _ _

Other games: It’s really tough for me to find a solid pick to endorse tonight. This looks to be at least a slightly slower Monday for me than usual.

Edmonton has actually scored 4 goals in each of their 2 meetings with Phoenix this season. Neither team appears to be scoring much lately though. I’d be hesitant to bet anything here.

The Under in this game seems to make sense. St Louis has had 4 of their last 5 games go under the number, and Colorado 6 of their last 8 go under as well.