Getty Images

Betting trends on the Capitals’ side as they face Bruins on Wednesday

Leave a comment

The Washington Capitals failing to defeat the Boston Bruins in their matchup on Wednesday night would involve bucking two recent betting trends in inter-divisional games.

The Capitals are 9-1 in their last 10 home games against teams from the Atlantic Division and, interestingly enough, the OddsShark NHL Database notes the Bruins are 1-9 in their last 10 road games against teams residing in the Metropolitan Division.

Each team is playing for the second night in a row, with the Bruins coming off a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning as -120 road favorites on the NHL betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com on Tuesday while the Capitals lost against the New York Islanders as -135 road favorites. Each team had to travel after its game.

Boston, which is 26-21-6 on the season, has struggled on the road, with just seven wins in  their last 19 games away from home. The Bruins, who are bolstered up front by all-star forward Brad Marchand, have scored at least four goals in each of their last three games. Zdeno Chara and all-star goalie Tuukka Rask furnish Boston with a solid defense.

Washington is 33-11-6 on the season, including a 7-3 mark over its last 10 games. Potent forwards Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov have long been the headliners in the nation’s capital, but the reason the Capitals have the best record in the NHL is that they have allowed the fewest goals in the league (105) thanks in large part to goalie Braden Holtby.

Holtby has typically been able to keep the Bruins to two or fewer goals, which is part of why the Capitals are 6-1 at home against Boston over the last five seasons.

The Capitals will likely have to be productive at even strength, since the Bruins penalty kill is ranked second in the league.

If Rask gets the nod for the Bruins on Wednesday he will be making the second of back-to-back starts. Holtby will be more rested, since backup goalie Philipp Grubauer handled the game against the Islanders on Tuesday night.

The total has gone over in seven of the Bruins’ last 10 road games. The total has gone over in seven of the Bruins’ last 10 road games against Metropolitan Division teams, with two pushes. The total has gone over in seven of the Capitals’ last 10 games, with one push.

Penguins home favorites against Predators for Game 5 of Stanley Cup final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In what’s been a strictly home-ice Stanley Cup final, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been bet up into a heavy favorite against the Nashville Predators for the likely series-turning Game 5.

The Penguins are a -155 moneyline favorite against the +135 underdog Predators with a 5.5-goal total for Thursday’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Penguins opened at -139 on the moneyline, but they are also riding a trend of being 9-3 in their last 12 home playoff games.

That means there is betting value in taking the Predators, who are a respectable 5-5 SU on the road during the postseason. Nashville has topped Pittsburgh in five-on-five shot attempts in all four games of the series. The main pregame question revolving around the Predators involves the health of D P.K. Subban (ankle), who is part of the shutdown pair that has held Penguins C Evgeni Malkin without a goal for three consecutive games.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne also allowed eight goals on 36 shots during the two previous games at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena.

The Predators have had the run of play during the series, largely by virtue of a blueline led by Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Subban. They also managed to win Game 5 on the road in the third round against Anaheim, although that came in a rink where they were 4-4 in their most recent eight games, which tops a 1-6 record in their last seven road games against the Penguins.

The Penguins are 8-3 at home in these playoffs heading into Thursday’s Game 5 matchup, but have been increasingly reliant on C Sidney Crosby as the final has unfolded. Reliable sources of offense such as RW Phil Kessel and RW Bryan Rust are on six-game goal droughts, while Pittsburgh’s power play has been powerless through the first five games.

However, any physical limitations with Subban could be a boon to Malkin. Left wing Jake Guentzel (playoff-most 13 goals, including four in as many games versus Nashville) will also be looking for a bounce-back after missing some top scoring chances during Game 4.

Pittsburgh’s defense is mostly a patchwork outfit; Crosby actually led the Penguins in ice time in Game 4, which is rare for a forward. While there’s been speculation about a goalie switch, Matt Murray is most likely to start.

The total has gone OVER in five of Nashville’s last seven games against Pittsburgh for totals bettors, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The Predators will host Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final on Sunday night.

 

Penguins betting favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champions

Leave a comment

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will have to keep being opportunistic – against probably the best defense and goalie combo they have seen in the playoffs – in order to repeat as the Stanley Cup champion.

In series prices for the Stanley Cup final the Penguins are the -155 favorite against the +135 underdog Nashville Predators at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Penguins, who are 7-0 in playoff series since Mike Sullivan became their coach midway through last season, are attempting to become the first team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back Cups.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh at Monday. For Game 1, Pittsburgh is a -165 moneyline favorite against the +145 underdog Predators with a 5.5-goal total.

The Predators, who are 16-13-2 as an underdog, have been the stingiest team during the playoffs (1.81 goals per game). Goalie Pekka Rinne has raised his level of play while being supported by a defense with a top four of Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban, who help Nashville control possession and set the pace. Rinne is remarkably resilient; he has allowed exactly one goal in each of Nashville’s last four games after a defeat.

Nashville comes in trailing some significant injuries, with C Ryan Johansen (compartment syndrome) done for the year. However, C Mike Fisher (undisclosed) is expected back for Game 1 and young C Colton Sissons has done a fine job covering for Johansen. Winger Filip Forsberg comes into this series on a seven-game point streak.

The Penguins, who are 52-17-11 as a favorite this season, will be facing a major adjustment in going from the Ottawa Senators’ conservative defensive style in their previous round to Nashville’s high-paced game. However, with offensive linchpins such as Crosby and C Evgeni Malkin and their supporting cast that includes LW Conor Sheary, RW Jake Guentzel and RW Phil Kessel, the Penguins are very efficient offensively.

The Penguins have the highest team shooting percentage (9.6%) during the playoffs. Granted, they’re less likely to outshoot the Predators than the Senators. Crosby’s line will also have to outwork Subban and Ekholm, who have shut down a string of elite centers during the playoffs.

Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray has been solid since getting the No. 1 job back four games ago. The Penguins aren’t as deep defensively as the Predators, allowing 2.21 goals per game in the playoffs, but D Justin Schultz has provided a boost since getting healthy.

The total has gone over in just six of Nashville’s last 20 playoff games with seven pushes, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone over in eight of Pittsburgh’s last 20 playoff games, with two pushes.