Welcome to SportsGrid’s daily feature, where we tell you what sports are on TV tonight and how, where and when to watch them. Then, I do my best to help you win some money while watching. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing, and gambling is legal in your jurisdiction. Feel free to tweet hateful things at me if my advice moves you to do so. TV games are often the toughest games to find an edge on, so don’t go crazy, people. If I do recommend a bet, I’ll keep track of it, so you can tell me how awful (or wonderful?) I am. For record-keeping, we’ll assume a standard bet is $10. Occasionally, there will be 2x or 3x bets, maybe 4 or 5 if I’m feeling spunky. Good luck, America!
Double playoffs tonight. Double the fun, double the chance to win money. And double the chance to lose money. Let’s do the winning of the moneys, please.
Important note: Money you make in the playoffs isn’t worth more than money you make in the regular season. Stay disciplined.
NBA Playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7: Pacers at Heat (-7) (8:30 p.m., TNT)
I hate to melodramatize in OBAMA RHYMES WITH OSAMA fashion, but I honestly feel like this bet is #TeamStern vs. Team Conspiracies are Stupid, or The NBA is Rigged, so the Heat Will Win vs. The NBA Isn’t Rigged and the Pacers Have Been an Incredibly Tough Matchup, so They’ll Cover the Spread.
Seriously. The spread is seven points. The Heat have only covered one of their three home games, the Game 3 blowout that seems like an outlier. They lost a game at home, outright, and escaped with a win and non-cover in the other Miami game. The Heat are the better team and Birdman has returned to the coop, but it’s clear that the Pacers are the worst matchup for the Heat. Given the way the series has gone, the only value here is on Indiana.
But, I don’t think #TeamStern will allow the Heat to lose. I really don’t. And home teams are apparently 89-23 (.795) in NBA Game 7 history. I feel very strongly that Miami wins, and I feel pretty strongly that they’ll cover the spread.
(But I’d rather parlay the moneyline with my favorite NHL bet than take the spread. And, P.S: we have a bet on the Heat to win the NBA championship. If things look bad and non-riggy, we may want to hedge by betting on the Pacers. Live-betting would be our savior. I will tweet out such a bet, if necessary. I don’t hope to do so.)
PARLAY: Heat ML AND Penguins team total OVER 2.5 (+105), $20 to win $21
NHL Playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2: Bruins (+162) at Penguins (-172) (8:00 p.m., NBCSN)
My thoughts before the series: the Penguins should win. The Bruins are very good, but they can’t keep up with the Pens offensively, and Tomas Vokoun is good enough to not implode and screw things up. Game 1 did not go as planned. Vokoun was not awful, but he wasn’t good at all. Tuukka Rask is typically good, but he played out of his mind. The run of play was fairly even, but Rask stole the game.
If Rask continues to play like that, the Penguins will be swept. Fortunately, that’s unlikely. The first rule of being a long-term, winning bettor is to not get caught up on one result. My analysis hasn’t changed. The Penguins have played 60 games this season. Game 1 was the only time they were shut out. They have the best offense in the NHL. They averaged over four goals per game. Boston has one of the best penalty kills in the league, but Pittsburgh is probably even better on the power play. Another shutout would be a shock. I would also be very surprised if Pittsburgh is held to fewer than three goals.
Also: just eight Pittsburgh games have gone into overtime this year. That is 13.3% of their games. I think they win this game, and I think the best value is betting them in regulation.
(Last thing, I promise: in the playoffs, the Penguins have led after the first period six times. They’ve trailed just thrice. In the regular season, they won 25 first periods, and lost just 10. They are a quick-starting team. They are very good to bet on in the first period. There will be lots of bets here. Brace yourselves.)
Penguins team total OVER 2.5 (-165), $30 to win $18.18, Penguins to win in regulation (-109), $10 to win $9.17, First Period OVER 1.5 (+105), $10 to win $10.50 AND Penguins first period ML (-150), $15 to win $10
None, enjoy the playoffs. Root for the Penguins. If they don’t play well, we’ll be sad.
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 180-116 (+$497.75)
What else is on:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
7 p.m. | ESPN
Cleveland at N.Y. Yankees
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag