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: Maple Leafs (+165) at Bruins (-175) (7:00 p.m., CNBC)

I’m not sure what to think of this series. Boston was a legit Cup contender for much of the year, but they’ve struggled recently. Toronto flew under the radar, can score a ton, but gives up a ton of goals. They are very low in Fenwick stats (shots on goal differential), and have a ridiculously high shooting percentage. That is typically associated with luck.

Tuukka Rask has been really good for the B’s, and James Reimer is unproven. The Bruins have a pretty big edge in net. The under is typically a good play in Bruins games, but with their struggles and Toronto’s open style of play, I really don’t know what to think.

I think it’s best to sit this one out. If you need to bet, I’d take the underdog at a decent price.

Pass, lean Leafs

NHL Playoffs: Islanders (+215) at Penguins (-230) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

The Blackhawks showed last night that it’s usually dumb to bet hockey favorites at over -200. (though they eventually pulled it off). Long term, it’s likely a losing proposition, unless you’re especially careful. For a -230 bet to be profitable, the bet has to win over 70% of the time.

The Islanders are explosive, with an exceptional offense and power play. Their defense and goaltending is suspect. The Pens are an analogue to the Isles, except that their defense is elite, and their team is all-around much better. It’s tough to see them losing this series unless their goaltending falls apart (which is possible).

The natural inclination is to look at the over, with two suspect goalies and two great offenses. But, in the season series, just three of five games went over the total of 5.5 goals. The Pens won 4 of 5. At plus odds, I think there might be a bit of value, but I’d rather sit out the first game and see how each team plays.

Pass, lean over

NHL Playoffs: Sharks (+127) at Canucks (-137) (10:30 p.m., NBSCN)

I’ve seen a lot of Sharks love, and a lot of Canucks hate, even though the ‘Nucks are the faves, babes. Roberto Luongo is starting for the injured Corey Schneider. Based on the season stats, that’s a step down, but I’m not sure it is, in the playoffs. We’ll see. Antti Niemi is a stud for the Sharks.

I’ve heard people say the Sharks “own” the Canucks, but even though they won the season series 3-0, the only game in Vancouver went to a shootout, and one of the other two games was a one-goal game. I don’t love Vancouver, but this play is pretty simple. The Sharks are 8-14-2 on the road, and their offense is well below average. The Canucks are 15-6-3 at home. San Jose has arguably the biggest home-road discrepancy in the league. The Canucks should be a bigger favorite, even with Luongo. They’re 7-1 in their last 8 home games. I like the under a bit, too.

Canucks ML (-137), $5 to win $3.65 AND UNDER 5 (-130), $5 to win $3.85

NBA Playoffs: Hawks at Pacers (-7) (8:00 p.m., NBATV)

The spread was -7 for the first two games in Indiana, and the Pacers covered easily. Why should this be any different?

Pacers -7 (-108), $2.50 to win $2.31

NBA Playoffs: Rockets at Thunder (-9) (9:30 p.m., TNT)

The Thunder covered one of their two home games. The spreads were -10.5 and- 11. Why did it drop only 1.5 points with Westbrook out, in an elimination game for the Rockets. I don’t know.

Rockets +9 (-107), $5 to win $4.67 AND ML (+450), $1 to win $4.50

NBA Playoffs: Celtics at Knicks (-9) (7:00 p.m., TNT)

The spreads for the other two home games were 6.5 and 7.5. The Celtics covered one of two. I’m not sure why this jumped up to nine despite this being an elimination game for the Celts. A little bit on them, please.

Celtics +9 (-101), $2.50 to win $2.48

Bonus Bets!

None, enjoy the playoffs.

Record in games actually worth risking money on: 147-101 (+$279.83)

Good luck!

What else is on:


7 p.m. | MLB Network
Washington at Atlanta

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

Heat photo via; Kings photo via