Penguins are home moneyline favorites in Stanley Cup Final Game 5

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Having yet to trail during any game so far in the Stanley Cup final, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are in position to clinch the championship when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 on Thursday.

The Penguins’ depth, along with money goaltending from the 22-year-old rookie Matt Murray, has helped them take a 3-1 lead in the NHL championship series. For Game 5, the Penguins are listed as a -160 moneyline favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the Sharks installed as a +144 underdog.

The total is set at five goals. The total has gone UNDER in nine of the Sharks’ last 20 playoff road games, with three pushes. It has also gone UNDER in nine of the Penguins’ last 20 playoff home games, with four pushes.

The Penguins, dating to mid-November this season, are 13-7 in their last 20 games at the Consol Energy Center where they were a moneyline favorite of -150 or more according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

As many experts anticipated going into the series, the Penguins’ speed and luxury of having four lines that can contribute offensively has helped them have the run of play against San Jose. They have gone 435 minutes 46 seconds – the equivalent of more than seven regulation games – without playing with a deficit, since San Jose’s only win in the series was a come-from-behind overtime decision.

Crosby has lived up to his reputation as one of the game’s top all-around centers. Right wing Phil Kessel, who assisted on the first two Penguins goals in their 3-1 win in Game 4 on Monday, is considered the frontrunner to be selected NHL playoff MVP if the Penguins win the Cup. Pittsburgh has also had timely goals from depth forwards such as Conor Sheary and  Eric Fehr.

The Sharks, who are in their first Stanley Cup final, are hopeful that the two-day break since their Game 4 loss will help them regain some energy. San Jose has not been blown out in a game, but its most reliable attackers such as C Logan Couture, C Joe Thornton and RW Joe Pavelski are all goal-less against the Penguins.

The Sharks’ offensive punch has also taken a hit with the loss of LW Tomas Hertl (lower body injury). San Jose is 5-6 on the road in the playoffs, with an even 5-5-1 over/under split.

Thirty-one of the 32 teams that have fallen behind 3-1 in the Stanley Cup final have been eliminated. The only exception was in 1942.

Jason Kelce wins the Eagles Super Bowl Parade with amazing speech

NFL Network
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The Eagles paraded down Broad Street in Philadelphia on Thursday to celebrate the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. With over two million listening, center Jason Kelce stole the show during speech time.

Dressed as a mummer, similar to those in Philly’s annual New Year’s Day parade, Kelce delivered a rant too profane to be uncensored on television. He described what it was like to be an underdog and did not hesitate to call out analysts that wrote the Eagles off. After listing over a dozen players and coaches singled out by the media, he saluted the fans that have been hungry for a Lombardi Trophy for 52 years.

The entire city was fired up during the speech, but it’s hard not to be even if you aren’t an Eagles fan. Check out Kelce’s must-watch speech here:

Blackhawks betting favorites hosting Wild on Wednesday Night

AP
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Some recent line juggling has ignited a surge for the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrick Kane, as they head into a matchup against the Minnesota Wild, who have struggled on the road.

The Blackhawks, who have scored at least four goals in each of their last four games, are a -130 home-ice betting favorite with the Wild coming back at +110 on the moneyline for their matchup on Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total is set at 5.5 goals.

It’s the second leg of a back-to-back for each team. Chicago is only 2-6 this season in that scenario and Minnesota is 2-4, but a sample from the OddsShark NHL Database that is more favorable to the Blackhawks is their 5-1 record in their last six home games. The Wild, in contrast, are just 1-5 in their last six road games.

Minnesota is 22-17-4 overall, but that includes a poor 8-13-1 road record, as well as a 6-10-1 mark as an underdog. The Wild, who are in their final game before a bye week, could have a little momentum after rallying Tuesday to grab a valuable point in the standings during an eventual 3-2 OT loss against the Calgary Flames. The line of Mikko Koivu, Jason Zucker – the Wild’s resident speedster – and Mikael Granlund was on the ice for both Wild goals.

Minnesota has had to adjust its lines since RW Nino Niederreiter (lower body) is out of the lineup. Due to the nature of the game against Calgary, the Wild’s top defense pair, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon, each had a nearly 30-minute workload.

The Wild power play was 0-for-5 against Calgary and it is just 4-for-24 since the end of the NHL’s holiday break. Devan Dubnyk is sure to start in goal after backup Alex Stalock played against Calgary.

Chicago is 21-15-6 overall this season, including an 11-6-2 mark at home. Captain Jonathan Toews’ line with wingers Brandon Saad and Vinnie Hinostroza has combined for 17 points over the last four games. Kane had a career-most five points during an 8-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, and his line with C Nick Schmaltz and LW Ryan Hartman has also been prolific of late.

The Blackhawks power play broke out with a 4-for-6 night against Ottawa after failing to convert in their previous four games. In goal, Chicago might rely on temporary starter Anton Forsberg, who has won his past two starts.

One unflattering betting trend for the Blackhawks is their 2-5 record in their last seven home games against their Central Division counterparts. However, they have won in two of their last three meetings against Minnesota.

The total has gone under in four of the Wild’s last six games for totals bettors when they were playing for the second consecutive day. The total has also gone under in six of the Blackhawks’ last seven home games.