What’s On TV Tonight, And How Not To Lose Your Money Gamblin’ On The NBA And NHL Playoffs

  • Matt Rudnitsky

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!

Oh, man. Double playoffs. I’m giddy. I am shaking my moneymaker as I type.

Important note: Money you make in the playoffs isn’t worth more than money you make in the regular season. Stay disciplined.

NHL Playoffs: Wild (+212) at Blackhawks (-225) (8:00 p.m., NBCSN)

The Blackhawks are the best team in the NHL, and they should win this game and the series. But it’s one game, and it’s hockey. Anything can happen. A -225 line means the Blackhawks have to win this game more than 70% of the time for a bet to be profitable. These teams played three times this year, and Minnesota stole one in a shootout, on the road. A Wild win would be wild, but it’s possible. It’s happened, this year!

Chiacgo has been an incredible puckline bet, winning you almost 20 units (20x an average bet), across the entire season. But books are aware of that, and these odds are absurdly low at +130. Not worth it.

I don’t see any need to bet here, unless you know something I don’t, which you may.


NHL Playoffs: Kings (+108) at Blues (-116) (8:00 p.m., CNBC)

I think both of these teams are good, but overrated. I think the Kings are especially overrated, because they won the Cup last year. They were dominant last playoffs, but much of that was due to Jonathan Quick, who’s been bad this year, especially on the road. As I’ve written multiple times, he’s been awful on the road. You’ve got to look to go against perception, and that points me towards the Blues and the over.

Then again, the Kings are the best team in the league in Fenwick percentage in close games (team shot differential), which suggests they may have just been unlucky this year. The Kings are also 3-0 against STL this year. My initial lean was St. Louis, but I’m not really comfortable playing it.

What about the over? Two of the three games in the regular season series went over five. The other was a push. As I said, I hate Quick on the road. I’m not a big fan of Blues’ goalie Brian Elliott, either. I like the over, and I love it when I see that the price is (expectedly) juiced heavily to the under. This should be a fun series. If you want to get crazy, go for the alternate line of over 5.5 at an even nicer price. I’d rather be safe.

The typical tight play in the playoffs worries me (you’ll start seeing O/Us at 4.5 soon), but I love the value here. I like putting a bit on STL, though, because I like their chances to score on Quick a lot more than I do the Kings on Elliott. Elliott is playing really well, lately. Split it up. Win either bet, profit. Win both, profit a lot. Lose both, insult my family.

OVER 5 (+142), $10 to win $14.20 AND Blues team total OVER 2.5 (+115), $10 to win $11.50

NHL Playoffs: Red Wings (+125) at Ducks (131) (10:30 p.m., NBSCN)

At first glance, I loved the Ducks in this series. Then I saw an overflow of Red Wings upset predictions, and even Red Wings Stanley Cup predictions. This made me antsy, and I’ve cooled a bit on Anaheim.

Still, I think the Red Wings’ love is exaggerated. I don’t think they’re particularly good, besides Jimmy Howard. And I like Jonas Hiller more. Hiller is likely to start tonight, though he reportedly has a “short leash” because the team is confident in his backup, Viktor Fasth (who I like less).

This price dropped 16 cents, due to bets on Detroit. I think people are getting carried away with a mediocre team, and I like the value on Anaheim. But because I’ve heard such support for Detroit, I downgraded to a half-play. I don’t like to be influenced by others’ picks, but I haven’t seen a single person support the Ducks. So, ride with me, die with me: betting bad boys 4lyfe (for just half of a normal bet).

I also really like the under, mainly because I love both goalies. Detroit games have gone over 5 goals just once in their last 11 games (with four pushes). Anaheim has gone over 5 just once in their last nine (two pushes).

UNDER 5 (-116), $20 to win $16.24 AND Ducks ML (-131), $5 to win $3.79

NBA Playoffs: Warriors at Nuggets (-7.5) (8:00 p.m., TNT)

Denver took the first game in the series, then Golden State won three straight. The Warriors have covered in all four games. Still, this spread is basically the same as the previous two games in Denver (-7.5 and -8.5). What’s the deal?

Well, in Game 1, Denver won despite shooting 3-for-16 on threes. In Game 2, Golden State won by shooting 64.6% from the field, and 14-for-25 (56%) from 3-point land. Denver has the best home court advantage in the NBA, and I think their desperation plus typical shooting nights for both teams results in an easy Denver win.

(Note: I’ve been doing well in the NBA playoffs, but my bets are tiny, because I refuse to ever risk real amounts of money on the NBA.)

Nuggets -7.5 (-105), $2.50 to win $2.38

NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies at Clippers (-5.5) (10:30 p.m., TNT)

The series is tied at 2-2, with the home team winning every game. Memphis has covered three of four, though — three in a row since a Game 1 blowout loss. I think the blowout was an aberration. The Clippers dominated the Grizzlies on the glass (47-23!), but that trend has been reversed. The Grizz lost the rebounding battle by two, in Game 2, and then dominated the glass in Game 3 and 4. I think this should be a close game, as the Grizz have proven to be a tough matchup. I love getting 5.5 points.

Grizzlies +5.5 (-105), $5 to win $4.76 AND ML (+215), $1 to win $2.15

Bonus Bets!

None, enjoy the playoffs.

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 144-99 (+$275.39)

Good luck!

What else is on:


8 p.m. | MLB Network
Cincinnati at St. Louis or San Diego at Chicago Cubs

Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag

Heat photo via; Kings photo via