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Capitals home betting favorites against rival Penguins on Wednesday night

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Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals might be in position to extend their season-long win streak when they host the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The Capitals are the -125 moneyline favorite with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins listed as a slight +105 underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 home games as well 8-2 in their last 10 home games during the month of January, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The Penguins typically fare decently at the Verizon Center, where they are are 5-5 over their last 10 visits.

The Penguins, who are 26-8-5 on the season, are contending with several key injuries, as well as a flu bug. Defenseman Kris Letang (illness), who’s critical to helping Pittsburgh generate an edge in offensive zone time, might miss the game. Illness could also affect RW Phil Kessel and D Trevor Daley.

The Penguins are likely to continue with Marc-Andre Fleury as their goaltender, since No. 1 goalie Matt Murray (lower body injury) has resumed practicing but isn’t expected to be ready to play on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh has gone in peaks and valleys this season. Curiously enough, the Penguins have been outscored 43-12 when they lose in regulation time, with five of those losses coming by at least four goals. If Crosby and his teammates fall into an early hole, they’re not likely to come back.

The Capitals are 26-9-5 on the season and are currently on a six-game win streak. Ovechkin is coming off a one-goal, two-assist effort in Washington’s road victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday. Washington could also be in line to have forward T.J. Oshie (upper body injury) back in the lineup.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is enjoying a hot streak, with four shutouts over his last 12 games. In 15 career games against Pittsburgh, Holtby has a 2.59 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

The teams are part of a three-team logjam for second place in the Metropolitan Division, behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The total has gone over in seven of Pittsburgh’s last 10 road games against their division. The total has gone over in only three of Washington’s last 10 home games against their division.

Ewan wins Stage 11; Conti keeps pink jersey in Giro

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NOVI LIGURE, Italy (AP) Caleb Ewan of Australia sprinted to victory on the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while Italian cyclist Valerio Conti remained the overall leader.

Ewan, who rides for Lotto-Soudal, edged out Arnaud Demare and Pascal Ackermann in a bunch sprint at the end of the entirely flat 221-kilometer (137-mile) route from Carpi to Novi Ligure.

Conti remained 1 minute, 50 seconds ahead of Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic, who is one of the favorites, and 2:21 ahead of Nans Peters of France.

It was the second victory at this year’s Giro for the 24-year-old Ewan, who also won the sprint at the end of the eighth and longest stage on Saturday.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Lightning heavy favorites on Stanley Cup odds at all-star break

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The NHL has a team far out in front in the overall standings as it heads into its all-star break – and that might serve to goose the value of other Stanley Cup contenders.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who have been first overall for most of the season, are the +260 favorite on the latest Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Lightning, with a deep offense led by Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos and a premiere defenseman in Victor Hedman leading their back end, lead the NHL in points, wins, goals scored and goal differential.

The top of the futures board also includes the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames (+550), San Jose Sharks (+750), Toronto Maple Leafs (+800) and Winnipeg Jets (+800).

As loaded as the Lightning are, the top team in the regular season rarely lifts the Stanley Cup in the spring. The 2008 Detroit Red Wings are the most recent team to finish first overall and go on to win the whole thing in a full 82-game season. Only eight of 33 Presidents’ Trophy winners have also won the Stanley Cup.

Calgary is a solid second favorite, with left wing Johnny Gaudreau and defenseman Mark Giordano being among the NHL’s best at their positions. As a western Canada-based team, the Flames are also likely to fly under the radar of public bettors. Their question mark revolves around goalies David Rittich and Mike Smith having almost no Stanley Cup playoff experience.

Sticking in the Pacific Division, San Jose is a springtime-seasoned team, having made the final in 2016, and their current standing has come with dynamic defenseman Erik Karlsson working his way back to peak form after adapting to a new team.

At this stage of the game, bettors looking for value in a league that prides itself on parity should consider teams with greater than 10/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. The cluster of teams that includes the Nashville Predators (+1400), Vegas Golden Knights (+1500), New York Islanders (+1600), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1600) and defending champion Washington Capitals (+2000) includes plenty of playoff experience.

The Penguins are always a threat with Sidney Crosby and have weathered injuries, including one to No. 1 goalie Matt Murray, during the first four months of the regular season. The Predators and Golden Knights are the two most recent Western Conference finalists and are both strong puck-possession teams, while the Islanders are under the command of head coach Barry Trotz, who steered Washington to its first Stanley Cup in 2018.

It might be best to fade the Capitals, though, until such time that No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby shows he can recover his past form.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.