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Wild look to continue positive trends against rival Blackhawks on Wednesday

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The Minnesota Wild will try to repeat their feat of beating the Chicago Blackhawks while playing back-to-back when the Central Division rivals meet in St. Paul on Wednesday night.

The Western Conference-leading Wild are expected to be listed as home betting favorites by puck drop against the Blackhawks at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks wear the braid of having won the Stanley Cup three times in the last seven seasons, Minnesota is 8-0 straight-up in the teams’ last eight regular-season meetings, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Chicago, which is in the midst of a six-game road stretch, is 6-2 in divisional road games this season. The Wild are an identical 6-2 in divisional home games.

Minnesota had a road game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. The Wild are 3-2 this season when they played the previous day, including a victory against the Blackhawks on January 15.

Chicago is 32-17-5 this season, but has wobbled of late with a 5-5 record in their past 10 games. While goaltender Corey Crawford was an all-star selection this season, he has been somewhat off his game recently, allowing at least three goals in four of his last six starts.

The Blackhawks have long had some of the best forward depth in the league, but they have struggled this season to get production out of the lines that don’t include Kane or Jonathan Toews.

Minnesota is 35-12-5, good for the top spot in the Western Conference, and is 7-3 in its last 10 games. The Wild proved they are for real with a 9-2-1 record in January and have a diverse attack with the likes of Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville.

All-star goaltender Devan Dubnyk, like his counterpart Crawford, has had some midseason regression, allowing three or more goals in five of his last eight starts. Dubnyk did have an excellent 38-save effort against Winnipeg on Tuesday, and got the win the only time this season that he started a game after also starting the previous day.

The total has gone under in only two of the Blackhawks’ last eight games as a road underdog. The total has gone over in seven of Chicago’s last 10 games, including four of their six most recent road games. The total has gone over in eight of Minnesota’s last 10 games, with one push.

Bruins Betting Favorites Hosting Maple Leafs in Game 7 Matchup

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The Boston Bruins will get a third chance to knock the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs on Wednesday night when they hit the ice as home betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

The Bruins won the first two games of the series at home by scores of 5-1 and 7-3, easily paying off as moneyline favorites at the sportsbooks in each of those contests. The Maple Leafs then turned the tables with a 4-2 victory in Game 3, but Boston bounced back with a 3-1 road win at Toronto in Game 4.

That put the Bruins up 3-1 in the series heading into Game 5 last Saturday night, but the Maple Leafs avoided elimination with a 4-3 road victory in a game in which Boston was pegged as a heavy -185 home favorite.

And the Maple Leafs then forced a deciding Game 7 with a 3-1 win at home on Monday night. Jake DeBrusk opened the scoring for the Bruins early in the second period of that contest, but William Nylander and Mitch Marner had Toronto up 2-1 heading into the third period. Tomas Plekanec then iced the game with an empty-net goal.

Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen stopped 32 of 33 Bruins shots in the Game 6 victory, after making 42 saves in the Game 5 win over the weekend. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 27 saves on 29 shots in the Game 6 loss; Rask was pulled in Game 5 after allowing four goals on just 13 shots.

For Game 7 on Wednesday night the Bruins opened as -150 betting favorites on the NHL odds, with the Maple Leafs set as +130 underdogs. The OVER/UNDER for the contest is listed at 5.5 goals; through the first six games of the series the OVER/UNDER is 3-2 with a PUSH on the six-goal total back in Game 1.

Boston overall is just 4-6 in its last 10 games against Toronto dating back to the regular season, and 5-5 in its last 10 games at home against the Maple Leafs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

The winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 matchup will move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs, with the Bolts set as the second-favorites at +495 on the updated 2018 Stanley Cup odds. The Nashville Predators lead the way as the +440 favorites, with the Vegas Golden Knights at +560 on those futures, and the Winnipeg Jets at +645.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Capitals Among NHL Betting Favorites on Saturday Playoff Slate

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The law of averages would suggest the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin are bound to see success at home in the playoffs eventually.

The Capitals are the -165 consensus favorite with the Columbus Blue Jackets coming back at +145 and a 5.5-goal total for their playoff matchup on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Each team has won twice in the other team’s arena to forge a 2-2 tie in the best-of-seven series, and Washington is just 3-6 in its last nine playoff games at home.

Washington has had the stronger offensive performance in the series, led by the Evgeny Kuznetsov-Ovechkin-Tom Wilson line, and it is 5-1 in its last six home games as a moneyline favorite of -150 to -500. The other development with Washington is that goalie Braden Holtby has retaken the job, after Philipp Grubauer struggled during their two home losses.

Columbus, which is 4-6 in its last 10 away games against Washington, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, may still be without injured forward Alexander Wennberg. The Blue Jackets power play is struggling, so its path to victory likely rests heavily on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stealing the win.

The total has gone over in seven of Columbus’ last 10 away games against the Metropolitan Division. The total has gone over in six of Washington’s last eight home games against the Metropolitan Division.

Elsewhere, the Boston Bruins (-190) have a chance to bounce the Toronto Maple Leafs (+165) in a primetime matchup that has a 5.5-goal total.

The Bruins, who won without No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron on Thursday, are an excellent 8-2 in their last 10 home games when they were a -175 to -500 moneyline favorite. Riley Nash has drawn in between left wing Brad Marchand and right wing David Pastrnak.

Toronto gets key forward Nazem Kadri back from a three-game suspension, but it is only 2-8 in its last 10 games as a +150 moneyline underdog or greater. Six of those losses were by exactly one goal, a sample that might interest puckline bettors.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning (-235) are heavily favored against the New Jersey Devils (+210), with a 6-goal total in the potential closeout game of their series.

The main storyline is that Devils No. 1 defenseman Sami Vatanen (upper body injury) likely won’t play after taking a borderline illegal check from Tampa Bay first-line right wing Nikita Kucherov, who’s been exonerated by the league.

That plays heavily in favor of the Lightning, who are 10-4 in their last 14 home games against Metropolitan Division teams.

The total has gone over in 14 of Tampa Bay’s last 15 home games against Metropolitan teams, so the 6.0 total shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. The total has also gone over in five of the last seven New Jersey-Tampa Bay matchups.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.