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!
NBA: Lakers at Celtics (-2) (8:00 p.m., TNT)
The Lakers are back! The Celtics are unstoppable without Rondo!
Kobe and Dwight still have a little thing going, kinda, but Dwight is probable. Pau is out. The Celtics have won (and covered) in five straight.
What the hell is going on here?
The Lakers’ recent road “success” is misleading. They beat Detroit by one, they beat Minnesota, who’s awful, and they eked the struggling Nets in their only somewhat-impressive victory. Then again, the Nets are better than Boston.
I’m just going to stop talking. If you think you have any idea what is going on with either of these teams, go refill your medication. You can even do it online these days.
PASS, YOU CRAZY DEGENERATE
College Basketball: Indiana (-7) at Illinois (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
The bible of basketball efficiency, KenPom, will tell you this line should be 11. But Illinois has looked much better (though still not great) in its last two games, and was brought down by an absolutely brutal stretch after a hot start.
And Indiana is a bit overranked in efficiency, because they’ve played just four true road games. Assembly Hall is terrifying, and their home-court advantage is arguably the largest in the country. They’re 2-2 against the spread on the road (I should note Illinois is 2-7 at home, but that’s because they were overrated after the hot start).
Indiana is coming off the massive Gameday win at home. There may be a bit of a hangover here. Illinois is desperate. The full-game spread here looks OK, and the first-half spread looks pretty enticing. This is a desperate, talented team at home, as large underdogs, against an unproven road team with a crazy-high stock.
Illinois +4 FH, $10 to win $9.09 AND Illinois FH ML +180, $1.50 to win $2.70 … Illinois +7 (-105), $10 to win $9.52 AND Illinois ML +275, $1.50 to win $4.13
College Basketball: Clemson at Virginia (-8) (7:00 p.m., ESPN2)
Virginia’s a decent enough team, but not one you want to watch. They play slow, and are really good on defense. Offense, not so much. The efficiency numbers say this is a couple points too high, but this is a revenge game for Virginia, who lost to Clemson on the road earlier this year. I don’t buy that angle, though, with Clemson coming off a loss, desperate for a conference win. I think there’s a tiny bit of value here.
Clemson (+8), $5 to win $4.55
College Basketball: Washington at UCLA (-7.5) (9:00 p.m., ESPN)
UCLA beat Arizona on the road. Then they lost at Arizona State and at home to USC (yuck). It’s safe to assume they’ll be pissed off after losing to their rivals in their own building. UCLA is still in the thick of things in the Pac-12, and this is an important game.
I’d normally look to bet UCLA for the first half here, but -4.5 is a big spread for one half. This is a rare play, a large moneyline. But it seems like a solid value, even at a high price. I’ll take the first-half moneyline here.
UCLA FH ML -220, $30 to win $13.64
NHL: Washington (+182) at Pittsburgh (-201) (7:00 p.m., NHLN)
Pittsburgh has been one of the best teams in the NHL. Washington has been one of the worst, and is probably still overvalued. I’m not a big fan of spreads in hockey, but six of the Penguins’ seven wins have come by more than one goal. They should win, and when they win, they typically win by more than one goal. Nothing crazy here, but worth a bet.
Penguins -1.5 (+160), $10 to win $16.00
Bonus Bet! Vancouver Canucks ML -110, $10 to win $9.09
What else is on: College Basketball: Belmont at Murray State (8:00 p.m., ESPNU); Missouri at Texas A&M (9:00 p.m., ESPN2); Colorado at Oregon (10:00 p.m., ESPNU); NBA: Bulls at Nuggets (10:30 p.m., TNT)
Record in games actually worth risking money on: 16-7 (+$73.40)
Lines taken from 5dimes.eu (with reduced juice) and betonline.ag