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

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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.

 

Blackhawks betting favorites hosting Wild on Wednesday Night

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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.

 

Flyers Heavy Betting Favorites Hosting Red Wings on Wednesday

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The Philadelphia Flyers have fared poorly as a huge moneyline favorite recently, but they are on a hot streak as they catch an unrested Detroit Red Wings team.

The Flyers are a -185 home favorite with the Red Wings coming back at +170 and the total at 5.5 goals at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in this matchup that takes place on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is just 1-4 in its last five home games when it goes deeper into minus money than -160. However, the Flyers and captain Claude Giroux are 7-2-1 over their last 10 games overall. Detroit, dating to March, is 6-3 when it is in the second of back-to-back games.

The Red Wings are 12-13-7 overall, but only 3-5-5 in their 13 most recent games. They were outshot during their win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, though, and an attack that’s an amalgam of young forwards such as Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha and grizzled veterans such as Henrik Zetterberg has struggled to generate sustained offense.

Detroit is also just 3-7 in their last 10 road games as moneyline underdogs of +150 or more. Veteran goalie Jimmy Howard is probably in line to start after backup Petr Mrazek played against the Islanders

The Flyers are 14-12-7 on the season, thanks to their strong record over their last 10 games. Philadelphia lost against the Los Angeles Kings in their last game on Monday, but they are 4-1 in their last five games on one day’s rest. Giroux and C Sean Couturier, one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards, have also thrived since being put on a line together.

Philadelphia is 3-1 in its last four home games at Wells Fargo Center, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, since losing six home games in a row at one point.

Apart from Monday when he had a poor first period, Flyers goalie Brian Elliott has been hot, allowing two or fewer goals in six of his last seven starts.

If there is some early scoring, there’s a good chance the total will go over the pregame 5.5-goal total. The total has gone over in seven of the Red Wings’ last 10 road games against Metropolitan Division teams, with one push. The total has also gone over in eight of Detroit’s last 13 games when they played the previous day, with two pushes.