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!

Bet on the best team in the NHL, lose lots of money. That’s gamblin’, for you. Oh, yeah, though. We never added the winnings from our $40 to win $60 bet on the Grizz to beat the Thunder last round. Let’s do that.

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

NHL Playoffs: Bruins (+127) at Rangers (-134) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

The Bruins were -111 in Game 1, at home, then -120 in Game 2. They haven’t been great, but why are the Rangers bigger favorites at home than the Bruins were? Boston is up 2-0, dudes. I think there’s no value on the Rangers, and a tiny bit on the Bruins. But I’m not confident they’ll win, so I’ll probably stay away. Home teams are 10-1 in the second round (a strange trend), and the Rangers have the goaltending edge, as usual. Their putrid power play has been predictably pathetic against Boston’s pristine penalty kill, but this should be a close game, and I don’t want to back either team.

I liked the under entering the series, but it’s just 0-1-1 so far. Still, I want to go back to the well. Both goalies have excellent stats this playoffs (.940 even strength SV% for Lundqvist and .939 for Rask), and that, combined with two good defenses, screams under. More importantly, the Rangers were the least penalized team in the NHL this season, and while the Bruins do take too many penalties, as I said, they are good enough to get away with it, especially against the Rangers.

UNDER 5 (-125), $20 to win $16

NHL Playoffs: Kings (+121) at Sharks (-128) (10:00 p.m., NBCSN)

I see a lot of Sharks love, but there’s really no justification for that except for home-ice advantage. I think the Kings are the better team, mainly because Jonathan Quick is unbelievable (Antti Niemi is great, but slightly less so). Still, I’m not taking the Kings. The teams are 47-6-6 at home, combined, this year. That’s insane. There have been a ton of close games so I think the stat is overrated a bit, but it is significant. Basically, I expect a low-scoring, close game. I don’t see value on either team. We’re sitting on a Kings series future, and I don’t see a need to hedge yet.

As for the under, I loved it entering the series. I’ve written on how Quick had given up two or fewer goals in 17 of his last 19 playoff games, entering Game 2, in which I suggested backing that trend with a bet. Of course, it lost. But it won in Game 3, and I don’t see a need to shy away from that, or the full game under. The under is 2-1 in this series, and the one loss came on two goals in the final two minutes.

UNDER 5 (-140), $30 to win $21.43 AND San Jose team total UNDER 2.5 (-130), $15 to win $11.54

NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies at Spurs (-5) (9:00 p.m., ESPN)

Hm. I liked the Spurs going into the series, but if there’s a road game in which I like the Grizzlies, it’s this one. The Spurs are markedly better on offense, especially shooting (52.8% eFG% vs. 47.1% — Memphis relies on its very good offensive rebounding), and while the Grizz are better on defense, the difference isn’t as drastic as many people think (.970 defensive efficiency vs. .982).

The Spurs obviously looked like the better team in their 22 point Game 1 win, but it’s unlikely they’ll go 14-for-29 again on 3-pointers. I won’t back Memphis here, but I’m not comfortable taking the Spurs -5, either. Gun to my head, I play the Spurs or put them in a parlay with Sharks/Kings under 6.5, or something, to make the price tastier. Still, I don’t think that’s great value and I won’t do it.

Pass, lean Spurs

Bonus Bets!

We will throw money on the Kings to win the NBA lottery, because the NBA is rigged. 13.4-to-1 odds on David Stern doing some sheisty shiz ain’t bad odds, guys.

Kings TO WIN LOTTERY (+1340), $10 to win $134

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 171-114 (+$381.17)

Good luck!

What else is on:


7 p.m. | MLB Network
N.Y. Yankees at Baltimore or Tampa Bay at Toronto


8:30 p.m. | ESPN
Drat Lottery

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

Heat photo via; Kings photo via