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Penguins heavy betting favorites at MSG for Wednesday night contest

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The Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t been this deep into minus money on the road in more than a year, but they have owned Madison Square Garden ice for years.

The Penguins are a consensus -200 road favorite on the NHL odds while the New York Rangers come back at +165 with a 6.0 total for Wednesday’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows this could be the lowest moneyline value the Penguins have offered on the road since February 2017, but they are 8-2 in their last 10 away games against the Rangers. Pittsburgh also has an 8-2 mark in its last 10 games as a road favorite of -180 to -500. The Rangers are 4-6 in their last 10 games as an underdog at home.

The main question with the Penguins, who are 40-26-4 as they push to finish first in the Metropolitan Division, is the tautness of their defensive zone coverage in front of their goaltender. Pittsburgh also plays the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and the total has gone over in the Penguins’ last five games when they were slated to play the following day.

Crosby has had success (81 points in 61 games) against the Rangers over the years, while center Evgeni Malkin has eight points in his last four games.

Starting goalie Matt Murray (concussion) is traveling with the Penguins but is doubtful to play Wednesday, leaving the netminding to either Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry. Forward Bryan Rust (concussion) is also sidelined.

The Rangers, 31-32-7 on the year, are 4-2-1 since the NHL trade deadline, when they unloaded expensive veterans to begin retooling. Center Ryan Spooner has two goals and 13 points in eight games since coming south from Boston in the Rick Nash trade. However, along with having struggled at home against Pittsburgh, the Rangers are 2-5 in their last seven games at MSG, including 0-5 against teams presently in the NHL playoff pack.

The X-factor for New York is young goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who is 2-2 in five games with a 2.73 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Georgiev had a 41-save winning effort against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

The total has gone under in five of Pittsburgh’s last seven games in March as a road favorite. The total has also gone under in six of Pittsburgh’s last seven road games as a favorite of -180 to -500 on the moneyline. However, the total has gone over in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 games as an underdog at home.

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.

Jockey Van Dyke bags 4th winner in row at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Drayden Van Dyke guided City of Light to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $400,000 Triple Bend Stakes for his fourth consecutive victory at Santa Anita.

Van Dyke teamed with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to win the first two races on Saturday’s card with Call West and McKale. Van Dyke won the third aboard 7-2 favorite Well Developed.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, City of Light ran seven furlongs in 1:21.35 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.10 as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 race.

Bobby Abu Dhabi returned $5.60 and $2.80, while Edwards Going Left paid $2.20 to show.

Later Saturday, Kentucky Derby hopefuls Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie, trained by Baffert, were to run in the $400,000 San Felipe.

Two other Grade 1 races are on the card, including the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

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.