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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.

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.