Welcome to SportsGrid’s new, daily feature, where we tell you what sports are on TV tonight. 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!
NBA: Grizzlies at Heat (-7.5) (8:00 p.m., ESPN)
These two teams have played once, and the Heat lost by 18 on the road. Both teams are good against the spread, but the Grizzlies are better (32-23-1). Memphis typically isn’t a big underdog, though. They’ve only been a 5-plus-point underdog four times, and they’re 2-2 ATS in those games. The Heat’s moneyline price (-345) implies that they have a 77.5% chance of winning. The spread correlates with that.
With no injuries or anything, there’s no need to bet against the Heat. They are supposed to win, and they should. But there’s no need to count on them to cover a 7.5-point spread, either.
Pass, lean Heat
NBA: Thunder (-1.5) at Nuggets (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
If you’re new to the whole betting thing, you probably don’t get why the Thunder are such short favorites to a team that trails their division lead by six games. But home-court advantage is huge in the NBA, especially in the altitude in Denver. The Nuggets are 24-3 (18-9 ATS) at home. They’re nearly impossible to beat. They lost slipups to Washington and Minnesota, and to Miami by five. They beat the Spurs and Clippers at home.
Oklahoma City is 16-11 on the road. The line would probably be a bit more in favor of the Nuggets if you looked at just the numbers and ignored the “Thunder.” But I’m not sure there’s much value here. I don’t want to bet against Kevin Durant in a big game with a tiny spread, against a team that isn’t the Heat or Spurs.
Pass, lean Nuggets
NHL: Blue Jackets (+250) at Blackhawks (-273) (8:30 p.m., NHLN)
This is arguably the worst team in the NHL vs. arguably the best. You rarely see a -273 favorite in hockey, but this actually opened at -312, which implied over a 72% chance of victory. In a game with such slim margins of victory as hockey, that’s insane. You do not want to pay this price on the Blackhawks, on a back-to-back. It is a monstrous price.
But Steve Mason is starting in net for Columbus, and he is a hideous sieve. And the price is lower than the opening +279, which probably had some value. There are worse longshots to take than this since the odds are so high, but don’t bet on Steve Mason and an awful team against the best team in the NHL. Just don’t do it.
Note: In a strange occurrence, you can actually bet on Columbus +1.5 goals, while only paying five-cents of juice (-105). That is absurd in an NHL game, and I will place a small bet on it out of principle. Believe it or not, the Blue Jackets have already played two one-goal games with the Blackhawks this year.
Blue Jackets +1.5 (-105), $5 to win $4.76
NHL: Oilers/Blues UNDER 5 (+110), $20 to win $22
Lightning ML +177, $10 to win $17.70
Devils ML +110, $20 to win $22
Penguins ML +110, $20 to win $22
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 55-40 (+$117.96)
What else is on: NBA: 76ers at Bulls (8:00 p.m., ESPN), Timberwolves at Lakers (10:30 p.m., TNT) ; College Basketball: Gonzaga at BYU (11:00 p.m., ESPN2)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag