Sometimes, something looks too good to be true for a reason. That proved the case last night in the Florida-Alabama game, as Gators TTU 69.5 seemed like as close to certain as it got. Florida’s offense wasn’t scoring much of anything as of late. Alabama’s defense had locked down its first 10 SEC opponents to under 69.5. It all seemed like it should have been a comfortable cash.
And then it wasn’t, as Alabama’s defense just let down in the second half. The Crimson Tide gave up 44 points in the second half…and the team total under cashed by half a point. It worked, but only barely. That’s something to remember: you’re only rarely going to beat the books by a wide margin. Usually, you’re going to win by a point or two when you win. Luckily, they all count the same.
Hopefully, these count in the win column. Here are my plays for February 9.
EARLY GAME PARLAY: NORTH FLORIDA +1.5, LIBERTY -14.5, STONEHILL-MERRIMACK UNDER 125.5, +596
North Florida’s played exceptionally well in Jacksonville this season. The Ospreys are 8-1 at UNF Arena this season and even managed to beat cross-town rival Jacksonville at Swisher Gym. And yet, they’re getting points at home against a Florida Gulf Coast team that’s struggled to do much away from Fort Myers.
The rest of the ASUN is counting down the days until Liberty leaves for C-USA, as the Flames keep torturing the league. Bellarmine couldn’t stick close in Louisville and hasn’t done very well on the road, making Liberty a strong play in Lynchburg. Finally, Stonehill’s played out some real grinders in its first Division I season. The Skyhawks have played under nine times in their past 10, and topping 120 is an adventure for them. Merrimack is good defense, no offense, which should make the under a solid option here.
NHL PARLAY: FLAMES ML, ISLANDERS ML, PANTHERS ML, +235
Sometimes, you just need to take the wins where you can find them. Calgary knows that lesson well, having won six straight off Detroit. The Flames don’t get to see the Wings often, but when they do, they make the most of it. The Islanders welcome in the Canucks with Bo Horvat now in their lineup, which shouldn’t help Vancouver’s cause at all.
Finally, the Sharks have badly struggled against the Panthers for years now, going 5-16 against Florida in the past 21 meetings. With this Florida team again holding a major talent edge, the hosts should prevail.
LATE NIGHT PARLAY: MONTANA-IDAHO STATE UNDER 133.5, SAN FRANCISCO TTU 70.5, SAN DIEGO-SANTA CLARA OVER 157.5, +485
The past three trips to Pocatello haven’t gone great for Montana’s offense. The Grizzlies have dominated the Bengals over the past decade-plus, winning 23 of 24 against Idaho State, but that’s with defense, not offense. On Montana’s past three trips to Reed Gym, the Grizzlies didn’t hit 65 points even once. Idaho State’s played good defense at Reed this year, and its numbers are skewed by playing multiple overtime games at home. Against Weber State, the teams ended regulation tied at 52, then went well over in the extra period. If we avoid overtime, the under looks good.
San Francisco enters the Kennel, which is the Dons’ personal house of horrors. The Dons have not played well in Spokane against Gonzaga for well over a decade, and that’s because of the Bulldogs’ defense. San Francisco has failed to hit 70 in Spokane in 15 of its past 16 visits to Gonzaga, and even though the Bulldogs aren’t as dominant as in past years, they’re still strong at home. To finish it, San Diego’s nickname is the Toreros, and they live up to their name on defense. San Diego barely plays a lick of defense, giving up 78 or more in nine of 11 West Coast Conference games. Santa Clara likes to run, so this over is reasonably in play.