We’re in a bit of a black hole on the sports calendar right now if you don’t bet the NBA (and I don’t), as there’s not a lot of college basketball, baseball is still weeks away (I’m not bothering with spring training, baseball bets are hard enough to win in the regular season), we’ve still got a month until the USFL kicks off and soccer is in an international window.
But there’s some small tournaments and hockey available, so we’ve got a few good options until we get to Thursday. These plays might go under the radar, but they can be a nice boost to the bankroll until we get to the Sweet 16. Here are my plays for March 22.
ISLANDERS TTO 3.5, +115
The Senators come in as a royal mess after trading virtually everyone usable beyond their long-term pieces, and the Islanders tended to light up the board against Ottawa anyway. New York has lit the lamp at least four times in nine of their past 10 matchups with the Senators, and with Filip Gustavsson giving up just short of four goals a game, that looks likely again here.
VANDERBILT-XAVIER O142.5, -110
It’s always easiest to hit an over when points are scored with the clock stopped. That’s why Vanderbilt has cashed the over 20 times this season: the Commodores foul their opponents fairly regularly. Vanderbilt averages 18 fouls per game and committed 20 fouls against Dayton in their second-round win. Plus, Xavier gets to the line often, ranking 14th in free throw attempts. Vanderbilt shoots even more from the stripe, ranking seventh. Expect these teams to score a good amount without the clock moving.
NORTHERN COLORADO-UNC WILMINGTON O152, -110
This is the third game in three days for these teams, which is never easy, but Northern Colorado cannot play defense. The Bears have been down this road before in the Big Sky tournament and gave up 87 points to Montana State on Day 3, the seventh time in nine games that they’ve allowed a team to score more than 77 points. UNCW isn’t the fastest team around, but the Seahawks can score when they get the chance to run, and they’ll likely have no problems against the Bears’ almost-nonexistent defense.
ABILENE CHRISTIAN TTU 69.5, -110
Don’t be fooled by the 102 points UAB scored against Middle in the C-USA semifinals. That game went to three overtimes and UAB scored 40 points after 40 minutes. Throw out the overtime, and the Blue Raiders would have held nine straight opponents to 68 points or fewer. Middle has put on a defensive clinic in the first two rounds of the CBI, and the Wildcats shot better in two games in Daytona Beach than they have all season. I expect a regression to the mean for Abilene Christian here.
PREDATORS-KINGS U6, -110
The goals have come in bunches for Nashville, but I think that won’t replicate itself here. First, Nashville is on a back-to-back, while Los Angeles hasn’t played since Saturday. Second, Anaheim and Toronto both give up a lot more shot opportunities than Los Angeles, which leads the league in allowing the fewest shots on goal. Finally, the Kings are absolutely not scoring right now, having scored three or less in eight straight games (11 straight if you don’t count overtime). Nashville doesn’t need five goals to win this one; two or three would be sufficient.