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!

5-1 yesterday, after an 0-4 Monday. Oh, the ups and downs of gambling.

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 (-132) at Maple Leafs (+125) (7:00 p.m., NHLN)

Boston has been the better team, and they’re up 2-1. This line makes perfect sense, and I don’t see any value. The games have been wide-open hockey, with one total pushing and the other two going over.

But, all three games have been won by more than one goal, and I think that trend continues, based on how both teams have played. For that reason, I like an outside-the-box play recommended by @NoJokeNHL. You take both teams on the puckline, at plus-money. Basically, you lose if the game is a one-goal game. Otherwise, you win. You have to be careful with these plays, but in the right scenario, it’s a moneymaker.

Bruins -1.5 (+230), $5 to win $11.50 AND Leafs -1.5 (+315), $5 to win $15.75

NHL Playoffs: Capitals (+120) at Rangers (-130) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

Again, I think this line is priced properly. I don’t really see a play here. I think the Caps are the better team, but I need more value than +120 to take them in MSG, against Henrik Lundqvist.

I liked the under at the beginning of the series, and it has hit two of three times. But I like it better in Washington, since the Rangers have struggled to score on the road all year. Also, the two teams are a combined 3-for-23 on the power play, an awful 11.5% on a lot of chances. Much of that is skill, but with that many penalties, I’m afraid of goals. Better to sit this one out, I think.

Pass, lean Caps and UNDER

NHL Playoffs: Kings (+115) at Blues (-120) (9:00 p.m., CNBC)

This has probably been the best playoff series so far, and with stellar goaltending, both teams look like Cup contenders. Probably favorites, behind the Blackhawks. The under looked like a guarantee after the first three games, and then Game 4 soared over the total of 4.5, with 7 goals being scored. I don’t think there’s any value on the total. I still like the under, but at 4.5 (+115), there’s no value.

I do think there might be a sliver of value on the Blues, at -120. The Kings were heavier favorites at home than -120, by a fairly large margin. It seems like the market thinks the Kings are the better team, and I disagree. It’s Stanley Cup bias, in my opinion. For that reason, I’ll throw a bit of green on the Blues.

Blues ML (-120), $5 to win $4.17

NHL Playoffs: Red Wings (+125) at Ducks (-135) (10:00 p.m., NBCSN)

I’ve liked the Ducks all series, but the Red Wings played really, really well in their Game 4 win. I’m tempted to take them at -135, because this price has dropped a bit from the beginning of the series. Jonas Hiller has been unbelievable, and I’ll gladly back him at home. I also have liked the under all series, for the same reason. Without it being heavily juiced, I am going to stick with my initial leans.

Ducks ML (-135), $5 to win $3.70 AND UNDER 5 (-120), $5 to win $4.17

NBA Playoffs: Bulls at Heat (-13) (7:00 p.m., TNT)

The Bulls won the first game as 13-point underdogs. They remain 13-point underdogs. The notion is that the Heat were rusty, and the Bulls got lucky. Derrick Rose isn’t back yet, and there’s no reason to think the Heat will lose. But the Bulls have been tough for the Heat all year, and I think you are insane if you lay 13 points. That is a lot of points. Still, the talent gap between the two teams is so vast that I can’t back the Bulls, either.

Pass, bros

NBA Playoffs: Warriors at Spurs (-7.5) (9:30 p.m., TNT)

The Warriors surprised me by nearly beating the Spurs in Game 1, with San Antonio needing late miracles to steal the game. But I liked San Antonio a bit before Game 1, and this spread has dropped a point and a half, and you can even get this at -102, making the break-even-percentage for this bet just 50.5%. The Warriors kept things close in Game 1 mainly because Steph Curry went nuts. We knew this was what was needed before the series. Nothing has changed. Curry could certainly do it again, but if he plays merely good and not incredible, the Spurs should win easily. Curry went 6-for-14 from three, and 18-for-35 from the field. I think he plays slightly worse, and that’s all the better team needs, to win at home, fairly easily.

Spurs -7.5 (-102), $10 to win $9.80

Bonus Bets!

None, enjoy the playoffs.

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 157-105 (+$258.43)

Good luck!

What else is on:


7 p.m. | ESPN
Minnesota at Boston

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

Heat photo via; Kings photo via