The Tampa Bay Lightning (29-15-4) take on the Dallas Stars (27-17-4) on Monday night as the NHL returns to action for the second half of the season. The Bolts are currently -128 (Opened at -129) road favorites and the Over/Under is set at 5.5 (Opened at 6). This one faces off at 8pm ET from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas.
We're expecting Ben Bishop (16-10-2 2.28 GAA) in net for Dallas and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning. (24-9-2 2.54 GAA). Last game out Bishop allowed three goals on 15 shots in relief of Anton Khudobin in Saturday's 7-0 loss to the Wild. For Vasilevskiy last game out he stopped 30 of 31 shots in Friday's 7-1 win over the Jets, and has now won 10 straight starts, and has a .917 save percentage in 35 games.
I just don't see the Stars being able to shut down Killhorn in this one, and he is my X-factor Monday. Killhorn is second on the team with a career high 20 goals thus far, he plays on the first PP unit and his a general thorn in the side of every team that faces him. He just gets it done. At one point he was on pace for 26 goals, 41 assists, and 67 points. All three would shatter his career highs.
Throw in Stamkos (4G last 3 games) and Kucherov who has has now got the team lead with 22G after scoring 5x times in the last 3 games, and his 54 points, and you've got a recipe for success on Monday night. Big D has to stay out of the penalty box or they're cooked.
Some trends to consider. Tampa Bay are 12-2 SU in their last 14 games, are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games against Dallas, and are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games this season. Head to head the favorite is 6-2 in their L8 matchups, and lastly the Lightning are 9-2 in their last 11 games following a win.
Play the Lightning up to -138.
Good Luck, Razor Ray.
Monday 5* FREE NHL ML Play
This is a 1* free play on Over 145.5.
The Tar Heels have fallen on hard times, with one of the worst records in the ACC this season. They had lost five straight before beating Miami 94-71 at home over the weekend. It was a nice win for a struggling team, but it was also the fifth time in six games that they gave up at least 70 points. History tells us that we could see a high score when these North Carolina rivals meet. Four of the last five head to head meetings have gone over the total, and all of those games had a total higher than 160. We should see both teams score over 70 points here on Monday night.
AC Milan -120
The free soccer play takes place in Italy on Tuesday.
AC Milan 2
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My free play is on Iowa at 8:30 Et.
The Iowa Hawkeyes opened 2020 by losing Jan 4 to Penn St in Philly and then lost at Nebraska ('Huskers are currently just 7-13). That dropped the Hawkeyes out of the AP poll but FOUR straight wins, THREE vs ranked opponents, has Iowa back in the top-25 (No. 19 and likely to move up in the new poll released Monday afternoon). The 14-5 Hawkeyes are 5-3 in the Big Ten, 1 1/2 games back of co-leaders Illinois and Mich St (7-2), as well as a half-game back of 6-3 Maryland and Rutgers. Visiting Iowa City on Monday will be 12-8 Wisconsin, which has dropped two of its last three games to become one of NINE Big Ten teams to have at least four conference losses.
Wisconsin has been to the "Big Dance" in 20 of the last 21 seasons and while the Badgers lost the 6-10 Happ (17.3 & 10.1) and a solid guard in Iverson (6.9 & 4.5) from last season's 23-win NCAA team, the Badgers have a solid returning core. The 6-11 Reuvers (13.8 & 5.2) may not be Happ but he's a quality man. Joining him front is the 6-8 Ford (7.7 & 3.6) and 6-10 Ohio St transfer Micah Potter, who became eligible in December and has averaged 9.5 & 5.4 in 10 (Badgers are 7-3 since he joined the team). Wisconsin has a deep backcourt in King (10.0), Trice (9.1-4.1-3.4), Davison (8.9 & 4.6) and Pritzel (7.4 & 3.3). Trice and Potter each scored 11 points vs Purdue but is was nowhere near enough as the Badgers lost their fourth straight in Mackey Arena under head coach Greg Gard, 70-41. Reuvers added 10 points and Brevin Pritzl had eight, but no player finished with more than four rebounds as Wisconsin lost the battle of the boards 42-16,
Head coach Fran McCaffrey came to Iowa back in the 2010-11 season (off three straight NCAA trips with Siena). His 2013 team was the NIT runner-up and he then led the Hawkeyes to three straight NCAAs. Iowa missed the "Big Dance" the next two years but last year's 23-win team was back in. The Hawkeyes opened 1-3 in Big Ten play but have won FOUR in a row. The 6-11 Luka Garza (23.2 & 10.3) scored a team-high 28 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four blocked shots to record his 11th double-double of the season as the Hawkeyes shot 52.7 percent from the floor in an 85-80 win against Rutgers. The 6-10 Ryan Kriener (8.0 & 4.2) joins Garza up front and Iowa will have NO problem matching Wisconsin's depth on the perimeter. Sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp (15.0 & 6.0) and freshman PG Fredrick (10.9 & 3.1 APG) lead the way but Toussaint (6.9) and Connor McCaffrey (6.5-4.6-3.6) are quality performers (note: McCaffery is ranked third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.83).
Wisconsin has won EIGHT of the last 10 meetings with Iowa but the Badgers are playing back-to-back road games for the FIRST time this season. Take a close look at Iowa, as the Hawkeyes are 7-1-2 ATS their last 10 games. Lay the points.
The set-up: It was this time last year that Jordan Binnington and the Blues "upped their game" and then plowed their way to a Stanley Cup trophy. This season St. Louis has been the "cream of the crop" from the "get go" and I believe it'll come in focussed on the task at hand tonight. Vancouver is atop the weak Pacific Division and all signs point to it have its hands full tonight.
The pick: While Vancouver went into the break with a 4-1 win over the Sharks, the Blues went into the All Star game with a 5-3 loss to the Avs. Both teams are dealing with injuries, so that area is a "wash" in my opinion. Note though that St. Louis is 7-2 in its last nine Western Conference road games after three or more days of rest, while Vancouver is just 3-6 in its last nine home games as an underdog in the +105 to +125 range. I like Jordan Binnington to out-play Jacob Markstrom in net. Look for the defending champs to post a win to open up the second half. Consider the visitors in this one.
1* FREE PLAY on the St. Louis Blues.