First, the results of last week’s predictions:
— NBA playoffs, Thunder-Spurs Game 1. Prediction: 2.6; final rating: 2.2.
— NBA playoffs, Blazers-Warriors Game 1. Prediction: 3.7; final rating: 4.1.
— Stanley Cup playoffs, Penguins-Capitals Game 2. Prediction: 1.7; final rating: 1.4.
— NASCAR Sprint Cup from Talladega. Prediction: 3.8; final rating: 4.0.
— NFL Draft, final rounds (ESPN). Prediction: 1.1; final rating: 1.2.
This week’s predictions:
Kentucky Derby, race portion (6:15 p.m. Saturday, NBC). Eleven months after American Pharoah’s Triple Crown triumph, it remains to be seen how the end of horse racing’s 37-year long drought will impact ratings going forward. Do not expect much of an impact on the Kentucky Derby — one way or the other — since the event has done consistently well since moving to NBC in 2001. Last year’s race had a 9.6 rating, up from a 9.4 in 2014. Prediction: 9.5.
Stanley Cup playoffs, Penguins-Capitals Game 5 (7:15 p.m. Saturday, NBC). For the first time in 14 years, NBC will make use of the presumably large lead-in provided by the Kentucky Derby. Expect a solid gain over Game 2 of the series the previous week (1.4), though the numbers will likely be hampered by NBA competition on ABC. Prediction: 1.9.
NBA playoffs, Warriors-Blazers (8:15 p.m. Saturday, ABC). The Warriors have proven they can draw with or without Stephen Curry, in close games or blowouts, against high or low profile teams. With that in mind, expect ABC to score a solid boost in the ratings Saturday night. Last year’s comparable Warriors-Grizzlies game had a 3.1 on the network. Prediction: 3.8.
NBA playoffs, Cavaliers-Hawks (3:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC). The Cavaliers are less of a draw than they were last year, and facing a much lower-profile opponent. ABC should expect a steep decline from last year’s 4.4 for Cavaliers-Bulls. Prediction: 3.7.
NBA playoffs, Spurs-Thunder (8 p.m. Sunday, ABC). Spurred by a controversial Game 2 finish, one would expect Spurs-Thunder to attract some extra attention this weekend. Look for Game 4 to improve over last year’s 3.2 for Rockets-Clippers. Prediction: 3.4.
NASCAR Sprint Cup from Kansas (7:30 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1). NASCAR returns to Fox Sports 1 Saturday night primed for an increase in ratings. Last year’s Kansas race was plagued by rain and finished after midnight, netting a mere 1.6 rating. It will not take much to improve on that low number. Prediction: 2.0.
Sunday Night Baseball, Red Sox-Yankees (8 p.m. Sunday, ESPN). For the second straight week, the Red Sox and Yankees meet on Sunday Night Baseball. The rivals’ past four Sunday night meetings have each earned a 1.5 rating, but with the Yankees struggling in last place, expect a lower number this time around. Prediction: 1.4.
Paulsen is the founder of Sports Media Watch and a contributor for Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @Paulsen_SMW .