Late-Night Lookahead: Six Thursday Games the Public Will Love
As we settle in to watch Nevada blow San Jose State out of the gym by less than 21, let’s take a look at a few games that could have sharps and squares on opposite sides tomorrow.
Hofstra (-1.5) at James Madison
7 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Hofstra: To a square bettor scrolling through tomorrow’s games judging teams they know nothing about simply by records, Hofstra should definitely catch the eye. The Pride are 17-11 overall and 10-6 in conference to JMU’s 9-19 and 5-10.
Laying only 1.5 points, you say? Easy winner.
Why sharps might like JMU: Don’t be too fooled by James Madison’s overall record. They’ve actually now won three of their last four, but even in their losses they tend to keep games very close. Despite being 9-19, their average game margin is just a 1.8-point loss.
Rider (-1.5) at Monmouth
7 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Rider: At 21-7 and 14-2 in conference, Rider is sitting pretty in first place in the MAAC, riding (see what I did there?) a 10-game win streak. At an almost non-existent spread against a 10-18 Monmouth team, this is a spot the public should hammer.
Why sharps might like Monmouth: Monmouth is another team whose record may not tell the whole story. They have three one-point losses (so that almost non-existent spread may play a role after all), and three losses to some powerhouse teams (Virginia, Kentucky, and Seton Hall).
If a line looks too good to be true, it probably is. And this one looks too good to be true.
Washington Capitals (-115) at Florida Panthers
7:30 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Washington: In general, the NHL doesn’t attract a ton of square bettors, which makes it a tough sport in which to identify sharp action. But this game should catch the eye of the public as they’ll have the opportunity to take the first place Caps, a team they see in the playoffs year after year, laying only a -115 against a team on which they probably can’t name a player.
Why sharps might like Florida: Yes, Washington is first in the Metro, but it’s by no means been a very impressive season for a team with such talent. Their goal differential is a measly +7, their road record is 14-10-5 (read this as 14-15 for betting purposes), and they’re just 4-4-2 (again, 4-6) in their last 10 games.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are playing decent hockey as of late, at 7-3-0 in their last 10. They’ve also played the fewest games in the entire NHL, making their point total of 58 slightly misleading.
No. 14 Arizona (-6) at Oregon State
9 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Arizona: See what it says in front of “Arizona”? That’s why. Squares flock to ranked teams playing unranked opponents, especially in cases where they aren’t laying a huge number. Throw in Oregon State’s not-so-impressive 5-9 conference record and the public should be completely sold on the Cats.
Why sharps might like Oregon State: Arizona is an impressive 21-6 overall this season, but they’ve struggled to cover despite their success. They’re now 10-15-2 against the spread this season, and, for what it’s worth, 2-10-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-7.5) at Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Oklahoma City: OKC has just about everything a public bettor looks for. Their record is significantly better (33-26 vs. 18-39), they’re led by flashy star power, and bettors can take them laying a single-digit line.
Why sharps might like Sacramento: Similar to Arizona, the Thunder have been winning but not covering. They’re now 25-34 against the spread this season, 20-33 when favored, and just 7-18 when favored by six or more.
LA Clippers at Golden State Warriors (-11)
10:30 p.m. ET
Why the public will love Golden State: Steph. KD. Klay. Draymond. The Clippers don’t have Blake anymore. Avery Bradley is questionable.
Need I continue?
Why sharps might like LA: Heading into the All-Star break, the Clippers were hot. They’ve won five of their last six (all without Blake), headlined by their most recent 10-point victory on the road in Boston. They’re now 31-25 ATS this season, compared to Golden State’s 26-31-1.
Photo: Russell Westbrook
Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports