Let’s Make Some Money Betting On The NBA Finals And NHL Playoffs Tonight!

  • Matt Rudnitsky

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!

The Penguins really like stealing our money. Fiends. We wish them an expedient departure in Game 4. Let’s win some of that money back.

(P.S. Go Heat. Go Kings.)

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

NBA Finals, Game 1: Spurs at Heat (-5) (9:00 p.m., ABC)

I’m not sure what to think of this series. The odds on Miami to win it all are -205 (we have a slight edge here, holding a -175 ticket). For a -205 bet to be profitable, it must win more than ~67% of the time. That seems pretty fair for a juggernaut like the Heat, but it’s probably inflated, if anything (though -175 isn’t a huge difference). The Spurs are +165. For that to be profitable, it must win more than ~38% of the time. Again, seems pretty fair.

Check out the team efficiency stats, via the excellent Team Rankings.

Nothing stands out. And when you factor in Miami having LeBron and home-court advantage, the odds make sense.

Since 2011, Miami is 4-1 against San Antonio. The Spurs’ only win came at home, but three of Miami’s wins were at home. So, the home team is 4-1. Miami covered the spread in three of five.

Factoring in the nine-day layoff for the Spurs, I’d slightly favor Miami. San Antonio had a similar layoff after Round 1 and struggled against Golden State, somehow winning only because of a massive choke-job.

If you want to bet, I’d recommend just looking for live bets during the game.

Pass, tiny, tiny lean to Miami

NHL Western Conference Finals, Game 4: Blackhawks (+119) at Kings (-120) (8:00 p.m., NBCSN)

This has been the opposite of the Penguins series for me, in the sense that I’ve actually gotten bets correct. The Penguins are the devil (ignore the fact that they are rivals of the Devils).

So. The odds moved very slightly in favor of the Kings, because they looked very good in winning Game 3. Fair enough. But the move was small and not enough to create value via overreaction. As I wrote last time, the Blackhawks are the better team, but Jonathan Quick is nearly unstoppable at home, and thus I will not bet against him.

I will now quote myself, updating the numbers with the results of Game 3.

The play I like here is one I’ve looked for the past two years, especially in the postseason: bet on Jonathan Quick to allow fewer than three goals. I have written about this many-a-time. It has hit in 25 of his last 29 playoff games (86.2%). That is a very good percentage. The bet is typically priced at -170 or higher, but because of the Kings’ struggles and the Blackhawks’ firepower, it is priced at just -145. This is tasty. Mmm, saves.

The bet was priced at -140 last time. It moved up five cents. We at SportsGrid are not scared away by five cents.

Blackhawks team total UNDER 2.5 (-145), $50 to win $34.48

Bonus Bets!

None, enjoy the playoffs.

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 180-119 (+$376.82)

Good luck!

What else is on:

If you’re watching something other than these two games, you’re dumb.

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

LeBron photo via, Crosby photo via