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Capitals Host Flyers as Home Betting Favorites on Wednesday Night

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The Washington Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin, are a -165 moneyline favorite while the Philadelphia Flyers come back as a +140 underdog for their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Capitals seem certain that center Evgeny Kuznetsov (leg) was able to use the all-star break to get healthy to play, but the Flyers have put goalie Brian Elliott on injured reserve, so it won’t be known until after the morning skate whether Michal Neuvirth starts or minor-league call-up Alex Lyon will make his debut.

The Capitals have lost their last three home games at Capital One Arena, but last season’s team had a 6-0 surge in its first six home games after the all-star break and could easily break out again. The Capitals are also 13-3 in their last 16 regular-season home games against Metropolitan Division team, while the Flyers are 2-6 in their last eight divisional road games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

The Flyers’ 24-17-8 record includes an 8-2 mark over their last 10 games, as well as a 4-2 mark in six road games since Christmas. The first line with center Sean Couturier, left wing Claude Giroux and 20-year-old right wing Travis Konecny has been prolific of late, with the latter coming in a on career-best five-game point streak.

However, with the drop-off in goaltending due to the loss of Elliott and the Capitals’ tendency to defend well at home, Philadelphia will have a slim margin of error.

Neuvirth is 1-1 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .891 save percentage against the Capitals. The Flyers, who face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, are 4-5 this season in the front end of back-to-back games.

The Capitals are 29-15-5 on the season, but are a so-so 6-4 in their last 10 games as well as a mere 4-3 in seven home games since the holiday break. Kuznetsov has only one goal since January 1, although a two-assist effort against the Florida Panthers on January 25 might provide a spark.

The poor results at home notwithstanding, the Capitals are also on an upswing on the specialty teams, cashing in on 27.3 percent of their power plays while going 94.4 percent on the penalty kill over their last 10 games, a big contrast to the Flyers’ respective rates of 5.6 and 72.7. That stacks up as a potential difference marker in a matchup where the total has tended to finish under recently.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 8-4-8 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .916 save percentage against the Flyers during his career.

The total has gone over in seven of the Flyers’ last 10 games when they were also playing the following day. The total has gone under in the Capitals’ last four home games and has also finished under in four of their last seven home games against Philadelphia, with two pushes.

For more odds info, 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 check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

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.

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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.