LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - Whether you're buying or trading stocks, shopping for a new TV or wagering on sports, finding value is key. Here's a look at some value plays for Tuesday, February 4.
There's really only one game where I see some value tonight in hockey and it's in Minnesota where the Wild will host the Lightning at 8:00PM ET. I'm big on point differential in any sport and you'll hear me reference that stat in this blog on a daily basis. The Lightning currently own a goal differential of +25, compared to the Wild's mark of -4.0. Even when you factor in Minnesota being the home team, it's hard to pass up a solid Tampa Bay team laying only -105 odds at most sports books. (For first timers to money line betting, that means you'd win $100.00 for every $105.00 that you wager on the Lightning.) Tampa Bay has struggled in Minnesota of late, going just 2-5 in its last seven road games versus the Wild. But the Lightning have played balanced with all star Steven Stamkos out of the lineup with a broken right tibia and they're expected to have second-leading scroer Valtteri Fippula back from a lower-body injury after he practiced on Monday. The Lightning have also killed off all 12 power-play opportunities in their last four games and have three short-handed goals in their last five contests. Even on the road, the price is right tonight on Tampa Bay.
The Hawks are 16-7 at home this year and currently own the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 25-21. They've also won six of their last 10 games, including back-to-back wins over the 76ers and underrated Minnesota. If they point spread for their game versus the Pacers weren't listed at 3, I might be writing about how the Hawks were a value at home tonight. Instead, the Pacers can be had on the cheap at -3 and they too have won two straight, as well as seven of their last 10. Their point differential is +8.2, which is best in the league, and they're 14-8 straight up on the road this season. They're also 6-2 against the spread in their last eight divisional games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following an ATS win. But since Atlanta has played well of late and Indiana is 2-9 against the number in its last 11 road games versus the Hawks, the Pacers are only 3-point favorites. (Indiana also played on Monday night at home versus Orlando, so the price is reflection of their travel requirements as well.) It's not often that you can wager on Indiana with the spread this low and seeing as how the team doesn't play again until Friday (vs. Portland), I like the Pacers to cover the number tonight.
I'm not crazy about the selections of games tonight in college hoops. I always find value in a good team coming off a loss, such as Duke, but the Blue Devils are 17.5-point favorites versus Wake Forest and that's too rich for my blood. If Illinois were getting more than just 4 points versus a struggling Wisconsin team I'd think about the Illini as a decent home dog but they certainly haven't been great either. Iowa is tempting, especially at home, but laying six against an Ohio State team coming off a big win against Wisconsin is also a risky proposition. Honestly, the only value I see on the board is in No. 6 Kansas, which is only a 4-point favorite on the road versus Baylor. I know that the Bears are coming off a huge upset win over Oklahoma State but the Cowboys have been exposed of late and Baylor is maddeningly inconsistent. Do they have the talent to beat the Jayhawks outright? Surely. But they're liable to lay an egg too, especially seeing as how they've lost five of their last six games. I'd go with the steadier hand in Kansas, which favors my method of gambling on good teams with the Jayhawks coming off a loss to Texas on Saturday.