What’s On TV Tonight, And How Not To Lose Your Money Gamblin’

  • 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!

If you’re home this Valentine’s Day Night, don’t sulk; watch sports! And hopefully, make money!

College Basketball: Wisconsin at Minnesota (-5.5) (7:00 p.m., ESPN)

Sports betting needs to be entirely objective, but I can’t root for Bo Ryan. If I ever bet on him, there is no chance I would watch the game, because Bo Ryan Basketball destroys souls. Outside of Wisconsin, rooting for Bo Ryan will land you in jail for 15 years (or three Wisconsin possessions).

This spread is higher than the numbers suggest, because Wisconsin is coming off of a miracle, OT win over Michigan. Intuitively, you’d expect a letdown, on the road, even though that was five days ago. I can see an argument for Wisconsin, but I hate this Wisconsin team even more than most. They can’t shoot (127th nationally in EFG%) — most of their value comes from their refusal to turn the ball over (1st nationally) and soul-sucking defense. They bore teams to death, as usual.

If you don’t think Wisconsin will have a hangover from the Michigan game, there is a bit of value on the Badgers. But I’m not sure how to judge that. So I’ll stay away, check the score in the morning and hope that Minnesota dropped 100 on them and then Bo Ryan gets replaced by Mike D’Antoni.

Pass, lean Wisconsin (sadly)

NBA: Heat at Thunder (-5.5) (8:00 p.m., TNT)

I’m always scared when I actually like an NBA side, because that means the opposite will probably happen. It’s the NBA. This line actually opened at 4.5, but has moved in favor of the Heat. That’s despite the fact that the public is almost certainly loading up on Miami, meaning that sharp bettors like the Thunder.


This is a classic trap game. But I don’t care. The argument is that the Heat are in first place, looking towards the All-Star break, and don’t need this game. But LeBron is on fire. He won’t let Durant steal the spotlight. I’m not buying that the Heat won’t come to play against the second-best team in the NBA. I’ll take the Heat as 5.5-point underdogs against anyone.

Note: The Heat have covered their last 5 games vs. OKC.

Heat +5.5 (-106), $20 to win $18.87 AND Heat ML +185, $3 to win $5.55

NHL: Capitals (+142) at Lightning (-139) (7:00 p.m., NHLN)

This line isn’t nearly high enough, probably in part because OMG OVECHKIN (he’s not great, anymore).

The Lightning have been one of the best teams in the NHL by advanced stats. They’ve lost five straight, but four of five were close, and all were to good or elite teams. The Caps have won two straight, but both were to the worst team in the NHL (Florida), and one came in OT. They can score a bit, but their goaltending is abysmal.

In each of the Lightning’s six wins, they’ve covered the spread. So, a spread bet is worth it here, too. And as good as the Lightning’s offense is, they’re fielding a mediocre defense and a backup goalie tonight. The over is worth a bet. Goin’ a little nuts, here. But you can’t be afraid to fire. Fire on the Lightning! That sounds dangerous. But oddly seductive.

Lightning ML -149, $40 to win $26.85, Lightning -1.5 (+205), $10 to win $20.50 AND OVER 5.5, $10 to win $7.75

NBA: Clippers (-3.5) at Lakers (10:30 p.m., TNT)

Wow! They’re both from Los Angeles, battling for Los Angeles Supremacy! Who will be victorious? The up-and-coming Clips, or the old, fading Lakers? What a battle this should be!

The Clippers are 2-0 against the Lakers, both straight-up and against-the-spread. Pau Gasol is out. Mike D’Antoni isn’t coaching Wisconsin, as I so desire. The Lakers are 1-3 ATS as a home underdog, meaning they haven’t played well against elite teams, at home. They’re playing “better,” but aside from beating OKC at home, haven’t really proven anything.

But I don’t really see a reason to bet the Clippers, either. Typical NBA game, sit back and enjoy the drama. And hope Dwight Howard gets stuffed by Eric Bledsoe.

Pass, lean rooting against Lakers because they’re the Lakers

TV: American Idol (8:00 p.m., FOX)


Bonus Bets! NHL: Rangers -1.5 (+170), $10 to win $17, Canadiens ML (-110), $20 to win $18.18)

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 26-19 (+$53.53)

What else is on: College Basketball: LSU at South Carolina (7:00 p.m., ESPN2); St. John’s at Louisville (9:00 p.m., ESPN) and UCLA at California (9:00 p.m., ESPN2) and Gonzaga at St. Mary’s (11:00 p.m., ESPN2)

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

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