What’s the most frustrating thing in sports betting? Backing a team on the spread and watching them fritter away the lead that matters to you in the closing moments to ruin your cover. And it happened to me twice last night, as Duke and VCU both had leads on the spread in the final minute, yet managed to give up enough baskets to cost me the cover. Duke ended up with a four-point win over Virginia when the line was five, and most aggravatingly, Virginia Commonwealth won by six with a 6.5-point spread when George Mason opted not to foul with eight seconds left.
Add it all up, and a day that should have been 3-2 turned into 1-4, definitely not the way I want to go into parlay day. But we’ll give it our best shot to get some momentum going. Here are my plays for February 24.
NHL PARLAY: CAPITALS-RANGERS U6, WILD-MAPLE LEAFS O6, CANUCKS TTU 3, +345
The Rangers are not giving up a lot of goals right now, and for the most part, neither are the Capitals. Washington’s power play has also been kind of punchless as of late, ranking 28th in the league, so there’s a case to be made for a low-scoring battle in the Garden. The Leafs are the opposite: Toronto isn’t stopping anyone but Pittsburgh right now and Minnesota has conceded four or more against four of its past five foes. Finally, the Flames just aren’t giving up goals. None of their February opponents has scored more than twice against them, and Vancouver only averages 2.6 goals per game.
BUBBLE PARLAY: INDIANA ML, MURRAY STATE -3, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE-ORAL ROBERTS U166.5, +390
I don’t trust Indiana in the slightest away from Assembly Hall. But at home, Indiana’s a perfectly reasonable bet against a lesser side, and Maryland certainly qualifies. Murray State had no problems with Belmont in the first meeting and can essentially lock up an NCAA bid with a win at home tonight, and this is just too many points between the Jackrabbits and the Golden Eagles. The total of the first meeting was 158, and that number makes a lot more sense than this one.
BIG SKY PARLAY: MONTANA-SOUTHERN UTAH O143, EASTERN WASHINGTON-NORTHERN COLORADO O155, PORTLAND STATE +6.5, +465
Something went out of Montana’s defense when the calendar flipped to February, as the Grizzlies have given up 70 or more in five out of six games this month, including 86 to Idaho State, which hadn’t hit 80 against anyone but Idaho all year. The same holds for Eastern Washington, which hasn’t been stopping anyone as of late and hit 167 in its first meeting with Northern Colorado. Finally, Weber State just can’t be trusted to cover a spread. The Wildcats are 0-7 ATS in their past seven games, and they do just enough to win but not cover each time out. Portland State has improved a fair amount and should be able to hang at home.