The pick: Of all the spreads I’ve ever made in my career as a degenerate gambler, this was by far the toughest. Trying to read into what’s happened in just three games of a high variance sport like ball hockey is not that different from what you encounter in the first few weeks of fantasy season. Let’s say you drafted a running back in the 5th round (so he was maybe the 24th running back off the board), and after three weeks he’s ranked #3 in fantasy points. Do you sell him assuming he’s due for negative regression or is his early performance long-term sustainable? Let’s say his three games were against three underwhelming run defenses, ranked #23, 25 and 29 in a 32 team NFL – does that change your thinking a bit? Sure, but then again, what if those teams are only ranked so low because they’ve faced your guy, Zeke Elliott and Todd Gurley as their first three games? Were those defenses missing any key personnel in any of the three games? It’s a lot more complicated than your typical hot take would make you believe. All of which is to say – we’re constantly being told, and telling ourselves, narratives in sports. It’s our job to separate the signal from the noise. In many cases, that comes down to your own personal calculation of sustainability vs low sample size. Thus, in looking at these two teams, you may look at the Cheetahs and see a 3-0 powerhouse with the best goal differential in the league…or you can see a team who has faced 0-3 teams exclusively. You can look at Team Sexy and debate whether it’s more important that they average 6.67 goals a game or that they were handled 7-4 by a Warriors team that lost their very next game. The toughest call, however, is in how you measure the over/under in a classic offense vs defense battle – in one corner, a team which has put up seven, four and nine goals. In the other, a team which has only given up one per game. Is it that the offenses the Cheetahs have faced suck, or is it that the defenses Sexy has faced are crap? Is the truth somewhere in between? Are there any horse socks? It’s enough to drive a man insane…which is why I just added up the goals for/against for both teams and divided by six games to get 8.67, then rounded down because it’s hockey and we can’t have 80s style hockey every week. Then again, maybe we can. Whatever the case may be, assuming rain fears don’t turn into actual game-cancelling rain, count on Team Sexy to hand the Cheetahs their first L of the season. I’m definitely not biased at all.
The pick: Bombay’s season is even more confusing than the Cheetahs. Are they truly the 0-3 team their record suggest, or are they a team that’s been unfortunate enough to face two elite teams in their three games? This is a group that may be winless, but which lost a tight 2-1 decision to the Cheetahs last week, a tight 7-5 decision to Team Sexy in week one with an empty netter in there, and lost 6-1 to the Cheetahs when missing most of their regulars and using three subs who were all playing their second game in a row. In other words, two games that could have gone either way and one blowout due to extenuating circumstances. We’ll find out just how good those opponents were at 6:30 but in the meantime we have to prognosticate sans that knowledge. Bombay will be looking for their first win of the year without the services of #1 overall pick Ball Hogg, but with the services of an unnamed free agent (possibly Poutine’s shootout hero, but we’ll see). Team Cup Size dealt the Warriors their first loss of the season last week, but did so behind a hat trick from deadline add Zimmerman and a heroic performance from Barch in relief of Ramirez. Will Eric return with a vengeance? Does Jenn know all the secrets to beating her Sunday goalie Zack Lewis? Who will win the battle of the Rosens? Can Zimmerman score if he doesn’t throw up mid-game? All very tough questions to answer…but the pick here is the under.
The pick: This game may appear to be a mismatch on paper, but don’t underestimate the Hippos. Last weeks 9-3 loss had them missing their top forward pick, Pete Gallina, along with the man known only as “The Provider.” Sarah may not be coming back this season but if they can get Gardie as involved as ScottyK typically is, this is a team that can make some second half noise. In addition, the Warriors are expected to be without the services of Derek and Tarnow this week. Starting goalie $h0wt!m3 is expected to be in net coming off a shutout in BTSH Sunday and a shutout in his only District Five outing this season. He currently sits atop the goalie leaderboard, but with a depleted lineup in front of him, will need to bring his A game if the Warriors are to avoid a second straight loss. In the battle of the two players with the highest percentage of their teams goals (Probie and Morgen), put my money on the underdog. Under the bright lights of the Tuesday night game, the Hippos will shock the world and take down their first victory of the season.
BONUS LINE: How many goals will Probie have in this game? (must play for action)
Over 4.0 (EVEN)
Under 4.0 (-140)