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: Senators (+131) at Canadiens (-141) (7:00 p.m., CNBC)

I think the Senators’ Craig Anderson is the best goalie (or at least, best goalie/defense/style of play combo) in the NHL right now. I’ve had a ton of success betting on unders in Ottawa games, because their offense is low-octane, or whatever the opposite of high-octane is. Though they just got defenseman Eric Karlsson back, and he should help boost a mediocre power play to a pretty solid one. Montreal is the fourth-most-penalized team in the NHL. Ottawa is third. Montreal is very bad on the penalty kill, while Anderson and Ottawa are very, very good. But Montreal’s 5-on-5 offense is exponentially better than Ottawa’s, hence their status as favorites.

Habs goalie Carey Price is as talented as any goalie in the league, but he’s had an underwhelming year, and an absolutely abysmal end to the season. I’m not sure what to expect from him.

I always look to unders, in general, in the playoffs. And with Anderson in net, doubly so. But the obvious play is often the wrong play. The special teams stats worry me, a lot. In four meetings this year, the total went over five twice, and under five twice (though Anderson only started two of those games, and gave up one and two goals). In Price’s last eight starts, zero games have gone under five goals. My impulses are begging me to take the under, but I have to see how he plays before putting real money on Carey Price.

I really, really want to back Craig Anderson, because I love him. I am strongly considering the Canadiens team total under 2.5 (-105). Since returning from injury, Anderson has given up two or fewer goals in seven of nine starts. But I’m uneasy. I have a harebrained plan, which I will disclose momentarily.

Pass, for now

NHL Playoffs: Rangers (+119) at Capitals (-124) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

Everybody loves the Rangers, even though the Capitals also finished the season strongly. Both teams look great. Washington is better on offense and has possibly the best power play in the league. But the Rangers are the least-penalized team in the NHL, and they have an elite defense in front of Henrik Lundqvist. But they’ll be missing Marc Staal, Derek Dorsett, Ryan Clowe and Brian Boyle tonight. I was leaning Rags, now I’m leaning Caps.

I like the under, especially with the Rangers’ injuries. But two of the three games in the season series landed at five total goals (the other went under). Since this is a borderline play and so is the Montreal team total under, I’m going to add a goal to each, and parlay them. Cuts reward, but also cuts risk. This isn’t something to do regularly, but I like it here.

Parlay: Canadiens team total UNDER 3.5 (-265) AND Rags/Caps UNDER 6 (-280), $20 to win $17.40

NHL Playoffs: Kings (+115) at Blues (-119) (9:30 p.m., CNBC)

I bet the over 5 goals in the first game. There were three goals scored, including overtime. Nice job, asshat.

I mainly liked the over because I didn’t trust Jonathan Quick on the road, but he was great. I still think the Blues are the better team, and they outplayed the Kings despite needing a fortunate overtime goal to escape. I considered the over again, but I can’t pull the trigger after how the first game went. Think I’m gonna pass here.

Pass, lean Blues and OVER

NHL Playoffs: Red Wings (+126) at Ducks (-130) (10:00 p.m., NBCSN)

My analysis of the first game still stands. And I like the under even more this time around, as the last game saw four goals, but one was an empty-netter and the other three came on power plays. I really like the under, even heavily juiced. It’s not my style to do so, but taking the under 4.5 at plus-money isn’t a bad strategy, either. I’d rather risk more on the under 5. I wore my seatbelt on the elementary school bus.

Ducks (-130), $10 to win $7.69 AND UNDER 5 (-134), $25 to win $18.66

NBA Playoffs: Nets at Bulls (-1) (8:00 p.m., TNT)

The spreads for the first two games in Chicago were 3.5 and 2.5. Chicago won the first game by three and didn’t cover. They won the second game and covered, but it was because of the Nets choke-job/Nate Robinson-hero-job. I like the Nets here, but I don’t like that the line dropped to one. I’ll pass.

Pass, lean Nets

NBA Playoffs: Nuggets at Warriors (-2.5) (10:30 p.m., TNT)

I have seen 16 million people say they like the Warriors. This tweet claims that 95% of action is on the Warriors. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s more reasonable than it sounds. The line moved from Denver -1.5 to Golden State -2.5. That’s a fairly steep jump. I liked GSW at first, but you’re getting the worst of the number if you bet now. If they win by two, you’ll be pissed, because you made a dumb decision. I don’t love the Warriors enough to play this.

Pass, lean Warriors

Bonus Bets!

I am taking a parlay for s**** and gigs. It will probably not win, because it is simply a fun lottery ticket. So don’t blame me when it loses. I’ll count it in my record, regardless.

S**** ‘ND GIGS PARLAY: Blues ML/Ducks ML/Capitals ML/Nets +6.5/Canadiens team total UNDER 3.5 (+923.4), $10 to win $92.34

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 151-102 (+$292.44)

Good luck!

What else is on:


7 p.m. | MLB Network
Washington at Atlanta or Miami at Philadelphia

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

Heat photo via; Kings photo via