Money Monday

April 3, 2023

Three suggestions for early-in-the-week action

(5) San Diego State vs. (4) UConn
NRG Stadium – Houston, TX
9:20 PM ET
SuperBook Line: UConn -7.5

Connecticut isn’t just winning games in this tournament, the Huskies are blowing teams out. The Huskies have won by 24, 15, 23, 28 and 13 points, good for a cover every time they’ve been on the court during March Madness.

It’s also an average margin of victory of 20.6 points per game, just a ridiculous number considering they’ve played likes of St. Mary’s, Arkansas, Gonzaga and Miami, all well-respected teams. And speaking of Arkansas, UConn handled them with ease, an 88-65 beatdown in the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile, San Diego State also played Arkansas this season, a 78-74 overtime loss back in November. And while the Aztecs’ run to the title game has been impressive, the bracket has also broken their way pretty favorably.

Their win over No. 1 Alabama is the headliner, but SDSU is playing on the final night of the season after beating a 12 seed, a 13, a 1, a 6 and a 9. Again, this isn’t taking anything away from what the Aztecs have done, especially after their thrilling buzzer beater against Florida Atlantic, but outside of the Crimson Tide, San Diego State hasn’t faced a challenge like the one UConn will present.

Everyone wants a close national championship, but unfortunately that’s not going to be the case. The Huskies get yet another double-digit win and take home another national title. 

Hoops Harlen’s pick: UConn -7.5 (-110)


Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
8:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Dallas -190

Part of the reason Nashville remains on the outside looking in of the Western Conference playoff picture is its inability to beat Dallas. The Predators are 0-3 against the Stars this year, losing by scores of 4-1, 5-1 and 3-2.

The Preds sit at 84 points with seven games to go, behind Calgary and trailing Winnipeg for the final postseason berth. They’ve skated off losers in six of their last 10 games, so the Preds may be running out of steam. Realistically they’ll have to go 7-0 or 6-1 in their final few contests to make the tournament, and that feels unlikely.

Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off a tough loss to the Avalanche on Saturday night, as the battle for the Central Division is perhaps the most compelling in hockey. Minnesota has 97 points, Dallas and Colorado both have 96, but the Avs have a game in hand. The Stars desperately need the two points against the Preds to keep up, and they’ll play like a hungry team on Monday night.

The +50-goal differential the Stars possess is the second best in the West, trailing only Edmonton who’s +52. As mentioned, the Stars are 3-0 against Nashville this year and they’ll compete the clean sweep, essentially knocking the Predators out of the race while doing their part to try to win the central.

Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Dallas M/L (-190)


Arizona Coyotes at Seattle Kraken
Climate Pledge Arena – Seattle, WA
10:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Seattle -300

This is an extremely odd NHL schedule quirk. Arizona has just five games left in its season, with three of those coming against Seattle. It’ll be the first time to the two clubs have met all year. And for the Kraken, as they battle to hang on to one of the two wild card spots in the Western Conference, the meetings could not come at a better time.

The Coyotes have lost seven games in a row as they have the dreaded “e” next to their name in the standings, officially eliminated from postseason contention. During the losing stretch, Arizona has been outscored 30-16, including a pitiful 7-2 loss to a bad San Jose team on Saturday night.

It’s very clear they’re focused on golf and not hockey, as a trip to Seattle is their last road trip of the season. And the Kraken have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games, with a loss on Saturday to the Kings meaning a victory over the Coyotes would be the next logical result in the sequence.

Seattle’s scored 259 goals this year, good for fourth most in the West. They’ll have no problem lighting the lamp against a bad Arizona team, as this game is significant in assuring they don’t slip out of a postseason spot.

Climate Pledge Arena should be rocking as they cheer their team on to an easy victory and march toward their first playoff appearance in franchise history. The schedule makers set up an easy one down the stretch.

Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Seattle -1.5 (-130)

Perfect Parlay

Today’s best packaged deal

  1. UConn -7.5 (-110)
  2. Dallas Stars M/L (-190)
  3. Seattle Kraken -1.5 (-130)

Norm LaChatlier’s Three-Leg Parlay = +416

Hoops Harlen makes a great case for the Huskies. They’ve rolled through the tournament in a way that suggests more of the same in the title game. While 7.5 is a big number, expect UConn to essentially lead from start to finish. Throw in the two NHL games that are the best bets tonight for a +416 winner on a Monday night.

Three Things We Learned…

Takeaways from a weekend full of great games and performances

Women’s Basketball Takes Centerstage

Every sport needs a signature moment or player to create momentum on the popularity front. That’s what happened this weekend with the women’s game. During the Final Four, Caitlin Clark turned every Iowa game into must-see TV. In the semifinals, she led the Hawkeyes to an upset win over undefeated South Carolina, a victory that had athletes from all sports buzzing on social media. Then, Clark and company were getting a ton of attention on Sunday, even though they lost to LSU in the title game. Iowa’s high-scoring guard got people who normally wouldn’t watch women’s basketball to tune in. That’s a game-changing moment for the sport.


Never Say Never

The Trail Blazers had nothing to play for, entering the game without Dame Lillard and three other starters. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves were trying to maintain their spot in the standings, clinging to a spot in the play-in tournament. On paper, it looked like a blowout, which is why Minnesota was a 19.5-point favorite at home. But apparently, Portland didn’t get the memo. They pulled off the biggest upset in the last 30 years, winning 107-105 in one of the most remarkable, if not unnoticed, games of the NBA season.


Here Comes the Lakers

Don’t look now, but the Lakers are suddenly surging. Once thought to be at risk of not making the playoffs, Los Angeles is now only 0.5 games back of Golden State for the No. 6 seed in the West. They could avoid the play-in tournament, something that didn’t seem possible a month ago. At 40-38, the Lakers still have a chance of reaching as high as the No. 5 spot. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games and have won three in a row. And with LeBron James back in the lineup, L.A. is the team no one wants to face in the postseason.