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Bruins seek Bounce-Back Effort hosting Canadiens as betting favorites

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The Boston Bruins haven’t lost two games in a row in a fair chunk of the time and are also conscientious about getting the win in the first leg of back-to-back games.

The Bruins are a -200 moneyline favorite and the rival Montreal Canadiens are a +165 road underdog with a 5.5-goal total in their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Bruins, who are amid a busy stretch where they will also play the New York Islanders on Thursday, are also 7-3 in their last 10 games when they were also slated to play the next day. Seven of those 10 contests went over the total, with one push.

This is also the second of three games between the Original Six rivals in an eight-day stretch. Boston won at Montreal on January 13, and the teams will also play on Saturday.

The Canadiens are struggling with an 18-20-6 overall record that includes an away mark of 7-12-1, and a 4-7 record since star D Shea Weber (foot) was placed on injured reserve. There are some signs of life, though, as they are undefeated in regulation over their last four games, while LW Max Pacioretty and RW Alex Galchenyuk have shown strong form recently.

Montreal’s biggest issue has been down the middle, where undersized Paul Byron, Tomas Plekanec and Jacob de la Rose were the top centers at practice on Tuesday.

Montreal, which will need a strong game out of G Carey Price, is 6-1 in its last seven road games against Boston, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, but such trends are hard to sustain in the NHL. The Canadiens also haven’t made fools of the sharps, showing just a 3-11 record in their last 14 games as a moneyline underdog of +150 or higher

The Bruins are 24-10-8 on the season, including 14-5-4 at home and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. The Bruins, who have scored at least five goals in each of the past three games that were the front end of back-to-backs, offer two solid scoring lines with the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak and David Krejci-Jake DeBrusk-Ryan Spooner units.

Given their overall production in the last month, one would think that a team which lost 3-2 in overtime against the Dallas Stars on Monday – after being ahead early in the game – should come up with a focused performance.

Interestingly, Boston has not been a big success when it is deep into minus money, as it’s just 6-4 in its last 10 games as a moneyline favorite or -160 or lower.

The total has gone under in four of Montreal’s last five games as a moneyline underdog of +150 or more, with one push. The total has gone under in seven of Montreal’s last 10 road games against Atlantic Division teams. However, the total has gone over in seven of Boston’s last 10 games when it was in the front leg of a back-to-back, with one push.

For more odds info, 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 check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Lightning, Golden Knights co-favorites on updated Stanley Cup odds

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A season that is nothing short of historic for an expansion team has put the Vegas Golden Knights at the top of the odds to win the Stanley Cup, but bettors will no doubt look past that since the playoffs are practically a different sport.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the aforementioned Golden Knights are +600 co-favorites on the latest Stanley Cup futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With just less than a third of the regular season to go and the NHL’s February 26 trade deadline less than two weeks away, the top of the board also includes the surging Boston Bruins (+800), Nashville Predators (+850), two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins (+900) and Winnipeg Jets (+1200), as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs (+1500) and Washington Capitals (+1500).

The Golden Knights, out of the four division leaders, have the highest chance of staying in first place and securing home-ice advantage. It remains to be seen if a team put together last summer can stick together in the playoffs; right wing James Neal is the only one of the Golden Knights’ top six scorers who has played in a Stanley Cup final.

Thanks to the division-based playoff format, only one team between the Lightning and the Bruins can advance past the second round. The Atlantic Division race will be worth monitoring as Tampa Bay, led by right wing Nikita Kucherov, and Boston, led by the likes of left wing Brad Marchand, are both near the top of the NHL in points percentage and goal differential. Each of the last 10 Stanley Cup winners has had a goal differential of at least +25, meaning that yes, the regular season does count to some extent.

The Maple Leafs have a Vezina Trophy candidate in Frederik Andersen, but only twice in the last 20 years has the league’s top goalie led his team to the Cup.

The Penguins and captain extraordinaire Sidney Crosby are coming on strongly in the Metropolitan Division and, of course, seem to have the Capitals’ number in the playoffs. No team has won three Cups in a row since the 1976-79 Montreal Canadiens won four straight in a league that was barely half the size of the current 31-team circuit.

While Nashville and Winnipeg are separated by 1,300 miles and an international border, their playoff roads could also go through each other in the Central Division. The price on the Predators and defenseman P.K. Subban probably reflects the track record they built while coming within two games of hoisting the Stanley Cup a season ago.

Winnipeg is an intriguing dark horse that has stayed near the top of the division and Western Conference even though No. 1 center Mark Scheifele has missed about a quarter of the schedule due to injury.

Teams that can be probably be crossed off include the sagging Chicago Blackhawks (+5000), Carolina Hurricanes (+5000) and New York Rangers (+5000). All three will probably be cashing in some trade chips this month as they try to retool.

For more odds info, 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 check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Bruins road favorites at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday

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The Boston Bruins, the hottest team in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, are likely starting a backup goalie on Wednesday night and have a shaky record in the second leg of back-to-back games. Whether that comes into play depends on their opponent.

The Bruins are a -120 moneyline favorite against the struggling New York Rangers, who are coming back at +105. There is also a 5.5-goal total for their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Boston comes into its first game with left wing Brad Marchand back from suspension with a 13-3 record over its last 16 away games, as well as a 10-0 mark in its last 10 games when they were favored on the road. However, Boston is 3-5 this season while playing for the second night in a row, as well as 0-5 in its last five road games against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

With that said, this is a matchup of first versus almost the worst in everyone’s NHL power rankings, as the Bruins are 32-11-8 on the season, including an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. The return of Marchand to the top line with center Patrice Bergeron and right wing David Pastrnak is timely, since depth forwards Noel Acciari (lower-body), Anders Bjork (upper-body) and Jimmy Vatrano (lower-body) are all ailing.

Boston, which is an even 5-5 over its last 10 road games against Metropolitan Division teams, will likely start backup goalie Anton Khudobin. He is 0-2-2 lifetime against New York.

Understandably, the recent efforts of the Rangers, whose 25-23-5 record includes being 3-7 in their last 10 games, will give many bettors pause. Amid rumors of left wing Rick Nash being unloaded before the NHL trade deadline on February 26, the Rangers are scuffling offensively, having scored more than two goals only twice in their last seven games.

Center Mika Zibanejad has been a bright spot, but New York has been a dreadful possession team and having right wing Pavel Buchnevich (concussion) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (concussion) injured reduces their capacity to be a spread team.

While the Metropolitan Division is more highly regarded than the Atlantic Division, the Rangers are just 5-9 in their last 14 regular-season home games against Atlantic teams. However, longtime goalie Henrik Lundqvist is 27-12-2 in his career against Boston, so the low-percentage value play predicated on Lundqvist stonewalling the Bruins and stealing the win is available.

The total has gone over in three of the Bruins’ last four road games against the Metropolitan Division, with one push, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone over in the Bruins’ last three road games against the Rangers. The total has also gone over in six of the Rangers’ last 10 games as an underdog at home.

For more odds info, 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 check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.