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!

Very meh night last night. Stupid Leafs. Stupid Caps. Not stupid basketballers.

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 (+175) at Penguins (-190) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

The Penguins struggled with the Islanders, but the Senators are the opposite of the Islanders. They have elite defense, goaltending and penalty killing. The Penguins are crazy-talented on offense, but despite a strong defensive season statistically, they struggled on defense in the first round. Marc-Andre Fleury was awful and then replaced with Tomas Vokoun, who played one great game and one OK game. You’d have to assume Vokoun will play tonight, but coach Dan Bylsma is being coy.

I’ve liked Ottawa all year, but Pittsburgh is much more talented than them. This price makes sense. I will consider taking a flier on Ottawa to win the series if they lose this game and I get some nice value, but nothing yet.

The only play I like is the under, which I like very much. The Pens have a perception as an over team, but their defense was very good during the regular season, and I will bet on Craig Anderson gladly, all the time. This total should be set at 5.

UNDER 5.5 (-120), $20 to win $16.67

NHL Playoffs: Sharks (+140) at Kings (-150) (10:00 p.m., NBCSN)

Ugh. These are two teams that I wanted to fade this postseason, yet they’re playing each other. One must win, I suppose. Antti Niemi has been spectacular all year, yet Jonathan Quick was awful on the road, during the regular season. The very good in the first round. These are the two teams with the greatest home-road discrepancies in the NHL. They went a combined 36-6-6 at home and 16-26-6 on the road.

The obvious play would be on the Kings, but I’m afraid to bet on a team at -150 in what should be a close game. I also like the under a bit, but the under went just 0-2-2 in the teams’ four meetings. I’d rather sit this one out, and put a bet on the Kings to win the series, because I think the price is short for the better team, with home-ice. My biggest worry is Niemi.

Kings to win series (-140), $28 to win $20

NBA Playoffs: Knicks at Pacers (-5.5) (7:00 p.m., TNT)

Game 1: Indiana wins outright as 5-point road underdog. Game 2: Knicks win and cover as 5-point home favorite. Game 3: Pacers win and cover as 5.5-point home favorite. Game 4: spread stays the same for Pacers home game. All makes sense.

I don’t have a strong position here, but I do like the Knicks. Mainly because they haven’t made any threes this series (which hopefully should change), they’re winning the turnover battle handily, and the NBA is rigged and David Stern will want New York to win.

(Note: Weak reasoning=small bet.)

Knicks +5.5 (-104), $5 to win $4.81 AND ML (+195), $1 to win $1.95

NBA Playoffs: Warriors at Spurs (-7) (9:30 p.m., TNT)

The spread for the first game in San Antonio was 9. The Warriors covered and nearly won outright. So, game 2 was Spurs -7.5. The Warriors won outright. This spread moved down another half point. So, the question is: is that too much of an adjustment, not enough, or a proper adjustment?

I think it’s not enough. I still think the Spurs win, but don’t you think with the way this series has gone, clearly proving that the Warriors can challenge San Antonio, that the spread should have adjusted a bit more? I think so. Again, though: tiny edge, tiny bets. (Lots of fun!)

Warriors +7 (-101), $2.50 to win $2.48

Bonus Bets!

None, enjoy the playoffs!

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 169-111 (+$359.80)

Good luck!

What else is on:


7 p.m. | MLB Network
Boston at Tampa Bay or San Francisco at Toronto

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

Heat photo via; Kings photo via