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Capitals Host Flyers as Home Betting Favorites on Wednesday Night

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The Washington Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin, are a -165 moneyline favorite while the Philadelphia Flyers come back as a +140 underdog for their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Capitals seem certain that center Evgeny Kuznetsov (leg) was able to use the all-star break to get healthy to play, but the Flyers have put goalie Brian Elliott on injured reserve, so it won’t be known until after the morning skate whether Michal Neuvirth starts or minor-league call-up Alex Lyon will make his debut.

The Capitals have lost their last three home games at Capital One Arena, but last season’s team had a 6-0 surge in its first six home games after the all-star break and could easily break out again. The Capitals are also 13-3 in their last 16 regular-season home games against Metropolitan Division team, while the Flyers are 2-6 in their last eight divisional road games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

The Flyers’ 24-17-8 record includes an 8-2 mark over their last 10 games, as well as a 4-2 mark in six road games since Christmas. The first line with center Sean Couturier, left wing Claude Giroux and 20-year-old right wing Travis Konecny has been prolific of late, with the latter coming in a on career-best five-game point streak.

However, with the drop-off in goaltending due to the loss of Elliott and the Capitals’ tendency to defend well at home, Philadelphia will have a slim margin of error.

Neuvirth is 1-1 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .891 save percentage against the Capitals. The Flyers, who face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, are 4-5 this season in the front end of back-to-back games.

The Capitals are 29-15-5 on the season, but are a so-so 6-4 in their last 10 games as well as a mere 4-3 in seven home games since the holiday break. Kuznetsov has only one goal since January 1, although a two-assist effort against the Florida Panthers on January 25 might provide a spark.

The poor results at home notwithstanding, the Capitals are also on an upswing on the specialty teams, cashing in on 27.3 percent of their power plays while going 94.4 percent on the penalty kill over their last 10 games, a big contrast to the Flyers’ respective rates of 5.6 and 72.7. That stacks up as a potential difference marker in a matchup where the total has tended to finish under recently.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 8-4-8 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .916 save percentage against the Flyers during his career.

The total has gone over in seven of the Flyers’ last 10 games when they were also playing the following day. The total has gone under in the Capitals’ last four home games and has also finished under in four of their last seven home games against Philadelphia, with two pushes.

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.

NHL Playoffs Betting Preview: Nashville Predators are Stanley Cup Odds Favorites

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The Presidents’ Trophy hex hangs over the Nashville Predators, who have the top Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com at the outset of the NHL playoffs.

After finishing first overall, the Predators are the +375 favorite on the odds to win the Stanley Cup. However, only one top finisher in the last nine seasons – the Chicago Blackhawks in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign – has gone on to win the Cup. Also, not since the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins has the Cup winner also been the previous season’s runner-up.

That said, with a well-balanced lineup from the goal out, where Pekka Rinne looms, Nashville is a worthy favorite. There just might be more value lower on the board.

Two Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Bruins (+550) and Tampa Bay Lightning (+600), are high up, although no more than one of them will get past the second round. The Vegas Golden Knights (+750) have a tempting price, but they are, after all, a first-year team.

Three of the last four Presidents’ Trophy winners lost in the second round, where the dangerous Winnipeg Jets (+800) could face Nashville. The two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins (+1000) cannot be ruled out, thanks to the presence of Sidney Crosby, but whoever wins the Metropolitan Division will have a tough Eastern Conference final opponent from the Atlantic.

The Penguins (-225) are big favorites on the NHL series prices at the sportsbooks against the Philadelphia Flyers (+195) in their Metropolitan matchup. The Flyers have been a streaky team and that typically bodes poorly against the Penguins.

The Washington Capitals (-125) are not all that deep into minus money against the Columbus Blue Jackets (+105), but captain Alex Ovechkin had a bounce-back season at age 32. Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has struggled in the playoffs the past two seasons.

The Boston Bruins (-160), counting on six rookie regulars, could have some patchy spots in their lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs (+140) in their Atlantic matchup. Toronto won the season series 3-1, while Boston had a string of slow starts to games in the regular season.

The Lightning (-300), who led the NHL in goals scored, should have sufficient firepower to wear down the wild-card New Jersey Devils (+250).

Thanks to the Jets’ shallow playoff history, Winnipeg (-190) carries value against the Minnesota Wild (+165) in a Central Division matchup. The Wild’s defense is in shambles with Ryan Suter (ankle) sidelined and Jared Spurgeon just back from a hamstring injury.

Nashville (-400) could make short work of the depleted Colorado Avalanche (+330). Colorado will not have No. 1 defenseman Erik Johnson or goalie Semyon Varlamov for the series.

The Anaheim Ducks (-120) and San Jose Sharks (even) meet in a Pacific Division matchup, where the main question is the status of Ducks goalie John Gibson. The outlook could shift quickly if Gibson is not 100 per cent. San Jose’s trade-deadline pickup of Evander Kane could also do wonders for its scoring depth.

And Vegas (-130) could find trouble translating its offense-oriented game into success against the Los Angeles Kings (+110). The Kings allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and also had the most efficient penalty kill.

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.

Predators, Capitals tight on NHL betting lines for Thursday matchup

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The Nashville Predators take motivation – their playoff positioning isn’t secure – and a strong bounce-back trend into a Thursday night matchup of NHL division leaders against the Washington Capitals, who are expected to have top goal scorer Alex Ovechkin on the ice.

Washington is priced at -110 on the moneyline with a 5.5-goal total for Thursday on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Predators, who need to win only one of their two remaining games to clinch the Central Division and top overall seed in the Western Conference, are coming off a disappointing road defeat against the Florida Panthers, where they lost 2-1 despite a 36-27 edge on the shot counter.

The Predators are 8-1 in their last nine games after a loss where they outshot their opponent.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows that the Predators are only 3-7 in their last 10 regular-season away games in April. That might be canceled out by the Capitals’ identical 3-7 mark in their last 10 regular-season home matchups during the month.

The Predators are 51-18-11 but only 8-7 in away games against Eastern Conference teams. Nashville, with a solid offense by committee built around the likes of left wing Viktor Arvidsson, left wing Filip Forsberg and defenseman P.K. Subban, is only 5-5 in its last 10 games, but eight were against teams batting for playoff spots.

Nashville will likely start goalie Pekka Rinne, who will be aiming to fine-tune his game after posting an .880 save percentage in his five most recent starts.

The Capitals are 48-25-7, which includes being 11-3 at home against Western Conference teams. Ovechkin did not practice on Tuesday, leading to speculation that the Washington captain could sit out to get some rest before the playoffs start next week. However, he participated in the morning skate on Thursday.

Still, summoning center Travis Boyd and defenseman Madison Bowey from their Hershey Bears minor-league team could indicate that the Capitals might be as interested in evaluating players as they are in winning the game.

Washington has been rotating goaltenders Braden Holtby (.916 save percentage in his last five games) and Philipp Grubauer (.925 in his last five) over the last few weeks. Grubauer is expected to be between the pipes for the Capitals on Thursday night.

The total has gone under in seven of the Predators’ last 10 road games against the Eastern Conference, including the five most recent. The total has also gone under in seven of the Capitals’ last 10 regular-season home games in April.

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.