Washington Capitals

Capitals, Rangers betting favorites for Stanley Cup Playoff matchups on Saturday

Leave a comment

Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals have not lost back-to-back home games all season, and oddsmakers believe they won’t start doing so on Saturday.

The Capitals are the -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5.5-goal total heading into their Game 2 matchup on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Washington, which doubled the Penguins in shot attempts in Game 1 of the series yet lost, is 7-3 in its last 10 home playoff games when it was a favorite of -135 to -500 on the moneyline. In other words, they do tend to deliver when installed as a big home-ice favorite.

The Penguins, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Metropolitan Division rival Capitals according to the OddsShark NHL Database, could have LW Carl Hagelin (lower body) in the lineup for the first time in seven weeks.

While Sidney Crosby is Sidney Crosby, the Penguins need more from center Evgeni Malkin and his line, which was shut out in Game 1.

The Capitals, even though they were the less rested team, outplayed Pittsburgh in Game 1. Along with Ovechkin and his longtime center Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov helms a strong second line.

The total has gone over in five of Pittsburgh’s last seven games on the road. The total has gone under in eight of Washington’s last 11 games.

The New York Rangers are a -120 favorite against the -110 underdog Ottawa Senators with a 5-goal total in Saturday’s playoff matinee. Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and the Rangers’ offense-by-committee attack has been vexed by Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, going 0-3 against him this season. If nothing else, the Rangers are due for a breakout against Anderson.

The Rangers were touted as having a deeper group of forwards, but Ottawa was able to go line-for-line with New York during the series opener. Ottawa, which is an excellent 10-3 at home this season against Metropolitan Division teams, will also have the biggest X-factor on the ice in the form of tireless defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Between Anderson in one net and Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes for the Rangers, goals could be at a premium. The total has gone under in four of the Rangers’ last five road games in Ottawa. Each team has seen the total go under in eight of its past 10 games.

Betting trends on the Capitals’ side as they face Bruins on Wednesday

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Washington Capitals failing to defeat the Boston Bruins in their matchup on Wednesday night would involve bucking two recent betting trends in inter-divisional games.

The Capitals are 9-1 in their last 10 home games against teams from the Atlantic Division and, interestingly enough, the OddsShark NHL Database notes the Bruins are 1-9 in their last 10 road games against teams residing in the Metropolitan Division.

Each team is playing for the second night in a row, with the Bruins coming off a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning as -120 road favorites on the NHL betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com on Tuesday while the Capitals lost against the New York Islanders as -135 road favorites. Each team had to travel after its game.

Boston, which is 26-21-6 on the season, has struggled on the road, with just seven wins in  their last 19 games away from home. The Bruins, who are bolstered up front by all-star forward Brad Marchand, have scored at least four goals in each of their last three games. Zdeno Chara and all-star goalie Tuukka Rask furnish Boston with a solid defense.

Washington is 33-11-6 on the season, including a 7-3 mark over its last 10 games. Potent forwards Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov have long been the headliners in the nation’s capital, but the reason the Capitals have the best record in the NHL is that they have allowed the fewest goals in the league (105) thanks in large part to goalie Braden Holtby.

Holtby has typically been able to keep the Bruins to two or fewer goals, which is part of why the Capitals are 6-1 at home against Boston over the last five seasons.

The Capitals will likely have to be productive at even strength, since the Bruins penalty kill is ranked second in the league.

If Rask gets the nod for the Bruins on Wednesday he will be making the second of back-to-back starts. Holtby will be more rested, since backup goalie Philipp Grubauer handled the game against the Islanders on Tuesday night.

The total has gone over in seven of the Bruins’ last 10 road games. The total has gone over in seven of the Bruins’ last 10 road games against Metropolitan Division teams, with two pushes. The total has gone over in seven of the Capitals’ last 10 games, with one push.

Quartet of teams tied atop updated odds to win Stanley Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Four weeks into the season, there has been major movement on the 2017 Stanley Cup odds.

Four teams – the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals – share the top odds at +900 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

And the teams trending the most in each direction are the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton, which is on the upswing thanks to generational talent Connor McDavid, has seen its odds come down from +7500 to +1000. The Kings, who did not record a win in regulation time until their 12th game, have seen their odds rise from +850 at the outset of the season to +2500 on those NHL betting lines.

The Oilers have not made the playoffs since 2006, but one only need look at the recent success of the Blackhawks (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane) and Penguins (Sidney Crosby) to know a team which spends years amassing high draft picks can hit its stride very quickly. The Oilers have one of the NHL’s most productive offenses, which is going to keep them in a lot of games. Their odds still carry a lot of value.

Results in hockey are much more random than in other team sports. It is not surprising that most of the teams at the top of the board have a PDO – a team’s shooting percentage combined with the save percentage of its goalies – well above 100. Teams tend to regress or rise toward the mean over time. According to the PDO tables at SportingCharts.com, the New York Rangers (+1000), Blackhawks and Canadiens are all having a high degree of puck luck early in the season.

In Montreal’s case, one couldn’t be faulted for betting on a team which now has franchise goalie Carey Price fully healthy. Washington, led by captain Alex Ovechkin and bolstered by goalie Braden Holtby, is off to a strong start that is sustainable. Each seems to have the most solid case among the leaders.

The teams which currently possess value include the Dallas Stars (+2000) and the aforementioned Kings (+2500). Dallas has started slowly, but if the Stars get an upgrade in goal to back up their skilled attack, they could be poised for a run in the Western Conference.

The fact that the Kings have been snakebit scoring-wise during a small sample of games does not mean a team with premier defenseman such as Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin could not be a dangerous playoff team. The Kings were the No. 8 seed when they won their first Cup in 2012. At this juncture, they have a lot of value.