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Washington Capitals betting favorites against Pittsburgh Penguins in key Game 4 matchup

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With Sidney Crosby sidelined, oddsmakers have shifted their lines in favor of the Washington Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals are the -125 betting favorite against the +105 underdog Penguins with a five-goal total for their Game 4 matchup on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

This season, the Capitals are 7-7 straight-up on the road as a moneyline favorite of -115 to -135, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Washington is also 9-2 in its last 11 road games.

The road team has won every game so far in the two series that are in action on Wednesday.

Home-ice advantage has been a misnomer in the playoffs, with road teams going 30-23.

The Capitals trail the best-of-seven series 2-1, but have outshot the Penguins in each game thus far. With Crosby (concussion) sidelined, captain Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals stand an excellent chance of maintaining an edge in generating chances. The performance of goaltender Braden Holtby is an ongoing concern for Washington, as his save percentage has dipped to .914 in the playoffs (11 percentage points lower than in the regular season).

Historically, the Penguins have managed to maintain their usual level of defensive play when Crosby is out of the lineup, but typically suffer a drop-off in goals and shots. Much of that sample also came while Pittsburgh, which is 6-2 in its last eight home playoff games, had the services of Kris Letang (out with neck surgery) on defense.

That said, Pittsburgh, with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel both ranking among the leading point-getters so far in the playoffs, should be competitive on home ice. Winger Conor Sheary (concussion) will also miss the game for the Penguins.

The total has gone over in only two of the Penguins’ last 10 home games in the month of May.

Elsewhere, led by Hart Trophy finalist Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers (-125) are a slim favorite at home against the Anaheim Ducks (+105) with a 5.5-goal total for their Game 4 matchup on Wednesday.

The experienced Ducks, who might reunite top center Ryan Getzlaf with right wing Corey Perry after separating them to create more offensive depth in Game 3, are 7-3 in their last 10 divisional home games.

Anaheim will continue to be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Right wing Patrick Eaves (lower body) did not practice after Game 3.

McDavid and the Oilers, who are receiving their first exposure to the playoffs, are 11-2 in their last 13 home games against fellow Pacific Division teams. While Edmonton was defeated decisively in the most recent game (6-3 at home on Sunday), they have not lost consecutive games since March 12. In the first round against the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton won the series’ final two games after being clobbered 7-0 in Game 4.

The total has gone under in four of the Ducks’ last seven road games against the Oilers at online sports betting sites.

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.