Let me preface this article by saying that I am a gambling junkie. I love the action, the level of analysis and intellect that it takes to decipher odds and look for advantages against the house is a challenge that I greatly enjoy. But, unlike some people, I don’t put my money on the line unless I’m getting good bang for my buck rather than just a cheap win.
Far be it from me to use some -450 favorite in college hoops as a parlay multiplier. There’s not enough value in that and all you can do is fall victim to an upset.
So when Matt and the boys decided to expand the betting coverage, I was enthralled. It took me a day, but I finally decided what angle I want to take. In paying homage to Kmart’s “Blue Light Specials”, this is the first installment of Red Light Specials. This column, likely to run on days with a pretty full NHL slate will look at the best value plays for your money.
I like taking some chances. It explains why hockey has salvaged my brutal college football betting season. Here are today’s red light specials.
ATL -1.5 (+190) v. MTL
Montreal has been giving up shots on goal left and right and it has taken some outstanding play by Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak to propel them to win three of four. The Habs gave up 46 shots to Ottawa in a 4-1 win and 37 shots to Pittsburgh in a 3-2 loss. Now, the Habs head to Atlanta where they haven’t won a game in regulation since January of 2007.
The Thrashers will go with Johan Hedberg, who has been terrific this season. Despite a 1-6-1 against Montreal, he still has a .909 save percentage against them and is 5-1 with a 1.82 GAA and a ridiculous .944 against the East this year. Evander Kane is on a line with Bryan Little now and they generated seven shots on goal against Vancouver.
Montreal’s last road win outside Canada came against Washington on Nov. 20, but that game was started by Michael Neuvirth.
Look for the bounceback and pocket the Thrash cash.
BOS @ NYI o5.5 (+110)
Since a 6-7-2 start, the Bruins have rattled off a 10-2-3 scoring 3.1 goals per game in the process. The Islanders have given up 13 goals in their last three games. Dwayne Roloson leads the Islanders with a 2.78 GAA.
On the Bears’ side, Tim Thomas has a road GAA of 3.13, including 11 goals in his last two road starts. In the back of Tim Thomas’s mind is the notion that his shot to make the Olympic team and his starting job in Boston are both in jeopardy. Tuukka Rask has been outstanding and Ryan Miller’s just been insane for Buffalo.
In the last game, the Islanders won 4-1, but the two teams combined to go 0/10 on the powerplay. The Isles have allowed six powerplay goals over their last three games, while Boston has scored two PPGs in each of its last two contests.
Enjoy the special teams show from the Bruins and expect the Isles to scratch and claw back into it in their usual manner. Take the over and pot the bills.
FLA +1.5 (-120) v. PIT
From the “what the hell…” department, Florida travels to Pittsburgh fresh off a win over the host New Jersey Devils. The Panthers have played Pittsburgh extremely tough this year with both games going to overtime, to be won by Pittsburgh. The Panthers also squandered 2-0 leads heading into the third in each of those games. It’s a decent time to face Pittsburgh as Sidney Crosby is not 100% and Evgeni Malkin has not scored in his last five games despite putting 25 shots on net.
Tomas Vokoun has not won since Nov. 21, but has allowed more than two goals just twice in that seven-game span. Four of the seven have gone extra time.
If you want to get really adventurous, you can hope and pray that FLA cashes in on their huge underdog status and wins at +250. It was my original pick, but the one-goal game is a much safer selection and some of the best +1.5 value you will see all season.
Watch the Cats use the third of their nine lives against the Pens tonight.
It’s important for readers to realize a couple of things. First, the plays I suggest here have a large element of risk. That’s why the reward is much higher. It is important to have a stable bankroll before attempting these plays, maybe even trying to hit a safer play (like Matt’s BUF/NYR u5.5) to cover yourself if these bets don’t work out for you. Second, like I said, I believe in betting for value. You’re going to have bigger swings with plays like this, but take the Atlanta play as an example. Say you bet $5 at +190, your winnings are $14.50 (the $5 you bet + $9.50). If Atlanta wins, but only by one goal at -150, your winnings are just $8.33 ($5 back + $3.33). In this day and age of the “loser point”, it is tough to win on the puck line. (Hence why I’m a huge advocate of the 3 pt. regulation win!)
Also, unless it’s a college football or NFL spread, I almost never bet on lines with a minus in front of the payout. I’m not a believer in putting my money at risk without a chance to at least double it. It does not even cover the next wager. So like I said, if you follow these suggestions, be prepared for some swings.
Good luck players!