Monday's NHL trade deadline saw a flurry of activity across the league. The biggest deals of the day included the Islanders picking up Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Senators, the Hurricanes acquiring Vincent Trocheck from the Panthers, the Penguins adding Patrick Marleau from the Sharks and the Golden Knights getting goaltender Robin Lehner from the Blackhawks.
With the deadline in the rear-view mirror, we now enter the final home stretch of the regular season. The mediocre teams are battling to make the playoffs, the good teams are jockeying for postseason positioning and the bad teams are packing it in and counting down until golf season. This unique time of year presents under-the-radar value for savvy hockey bettors.
Most teams sit between 61 and 64 games played. This means they have roughly 20 games left of their 82-game regular season. Historically, now is the best time of year to bet favorites.
In Games 1 to 59, favorites have won at a 58% since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports. From Game 60 and beyond they improve to 61%.
However, the real key here is focusing on favorites Game 60 and beyond that made the postseason the previous year against opponents who missed the postseason the previous year. These teams are 64% since 2005. This is due mostly to experience and motivation. The playoff teams from last year are battle-tested and want to taste the Stanley Cup playoffs once again, leading to greater hunger and effort.
We saw this bear out last night as the Blue Jackets defeated the Senators 4-3. Columbus was a favorite with a line move in their favor (-200 to -230) and also made the playoffs last year while Ottawa did not.
Here are the system matches for Tuesday
Islanders -140 vs Rangers
Predators -290 vs Senators
Blues -200 vs Blackhawks
Tuesday's action features 26 college basketball games, 7 NBA games and 13 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's discuss several Tuesday games in college hoops receiving big bets and heavy smart money.
7 p.m. ET: TCU (15-12) at Iowa State (11-16)
This isn't the sexiest game of Tuesday's slate as it features two unranked teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. But that hasn't stopped wiseguys from identifying an edge and getting down hard. TCU started the season an impressive 12-3 but have gone just 3-9 since. However, the Horned Frogs did take down West Virginia 67-60 their last time out as 4.5-point dogs. Iowa State has dropped three of their last four, most recently getting shellacked 85-57 at the hands of Texas Tech as 5-point dogs. This line opened with the Cyclones listed as 3.5-point home favorites. Sharps think the line is a bit high and have come down on TCU at + 3.5, dropping the line down to 3. TCU has value as a road conference dog with a line move in their favor. The last time these teams met TCU 81-79 on Jan. 4.
9 p.m. ET: Texas Tech (18-9, ranked 22nd) vs. Oklahoma (16-11)
This Big 12 showdown is technically a neutral-site game as it takes place off-campus in Oklahoma City at the Chesapeake Energy Stadium, home of the OKC Thunder. These conference rivals are trending in opposite directions. Texas Tech is peaking at the right time, winning five of its last six games, including an 87-57 beatdown of Iowa State its last time out as a 5-point favorite. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has dropped three straight, most recently falling to Oklahoma State 83-66 as a 1.5-point dog. This line opened with Texas Tech listed as a 3-point "road favorite." Despite the public loading up on Tech, this line has dropped to 2.5, signaling sharp reverse line movement on Oklahoma. The Sooners have buy-low value as an unranked conference dog against a ranked opponent. This is also a revenge spot as the Sooners lost to the Red Raiders 69-61 on Feb. 4.
9 p.m. ET: Nevada (18-10) at Wyoming (7-21)
On paper, this Mountain West showdown looks like the layup of the century with Nevada. After all, the Wolfpack has a far better record and is riding a five-game winning streak while Wyoming is dead last in the conference and has lost 12 of its last 14 games. This line opened with Nevada listed as a 9-point road favorite. Despite more than two-thirds of bets laying the points, the line has fallen to 8.5 or even 8 at some shops. Why would oddsmakers drop the line to make it easier for the public to cash with Nevada? Because professional bettors who the house respect got down on road dog Wyoming. Back on Jan. 14, the Cowboys hung tough with the Wolfpack and only lost 68-67 at Nevada, easily covering as 14.5-point dogs.
Remember: the betting market is fluid and changes as more action rolls in. Be sure to visit our Free VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page for the latest lines.