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Crosby, Penguins road betting favorites at Flyers for Wednesday night

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Despite multiple injuries on defense, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to maintain their mastery of Metropolitan Division opponents when they take on the rival Philadelphia Flyers on the road on Wednesday night.

Although they are just coming back from a road trip through western Canada, the Penguins are a -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Flyers with a 5.5-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Pittsburgh is 9-3 straight-up over its last 12 games against fellow Metropolitan clubs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, as well as 9-4 as a road favorite in the month of March over the last five seasons.

The Penguins are 43-16-9 overall, including 7-3 across their last 10 games. Pittsburgh has managed to close the gap on the Washington Capitals for first overall in the NHL even though eight of their players – four defensemen and four forwards – are now injured. Defenseman Mark Streit (lower body) was hurt blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames on Monday, joining an injury list on the back end that includes Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley.

With Crosby and his wings Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary, and Evgeni Malkin helming a strong second scoring line, the Penguins are as gifted at puck possession as any NHL team. They will also try to take advantage of a vulnerable Flyers penalty kill that has been scored on in seven of their last 12 opportunities.

Starting goalie Matt Murray will likely get the call for the Penguins, who are 5-5 in their last 10 road games as a favorite with a -125 to -500 moneyline.

The Flyers are 31-29-8, including 4-6 in their last 10 games. The main question with the Flyers, who have lost three in a row, is how motivated a team of veterans, such as C Claude Giroux and LW Jakub Voracek, will be after those losses left them even farther adrift of the pack chasing an Eastern Conference wild card playoff berth. The power play has also been problematic, as Philadelphia has converted just two of its last 26 chances.

Michal Neuvirth might get the call in goal for the Flyers, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games as a home underdog. Steve Mason has been busy lately and was also lit up in his only appearance this season against the Penguins.

The total has gone under in seven of these teams’ last 10 meetings in Philadelphia, according to the betting trends for the matchup. The total has gone under in seven of the Penguins’ last 10 road games. The total has also gone under in eight of the Flyers’ last 10 home games, with one push.

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.