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Penguins heavy betting favorites at MSG for Wednesday night contest

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The Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t been this deep into minus money on the road in more than a year, but they have owned Madison Square Garden ice for years.

The Penguins are a consensus -200 road favorite on the NHL odds while the New York Rangers come back at +165 with a 6.0 total for Wednesday’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows this could be the lowest moneyline value the Penguins have offered on the road since February 2017, but they are 8-2 in their last 10 away games against the Rangers. Pittsburgh also has an 8-2 mark in its last 10 games as a road favorite of -180 to -500. The Rangers are 4-6 in their last 10 games as an underdog at home.

The main question with the Penguins, who are 40-26-4 as they push to finish first in the Metropolitan Division, is the tautness of their defensive zone coverage in front of their goaltender. Pittsburgh also plays the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and the total has gone over in the Penguins’ last five games when they were slated to play the following day.

Crosby has had success (81 points in 61 games) against the Rangers over the years, while center Evgeni Malkin has eight points in his last four games.

Starting goalie Matt Murray (concussion) is traveling with the Penguins but is doubtful to play Wednesday, leaving the netminding to either Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry. Forward Bryan Rust (concussion) is also sidelined.

The Rangers, 31-32-7 on the year, are 4-2-1 since the NHL trade deadline, when they unloaded expensive veterans to begin retooling. Center Ryan Spooner has two goals and 13 points in eight games since coming south from Boston in the Rick Nash trade. However, along with having struggled at home against Pittsburgh, the Rangers are 2-5 in their last seven games at MSG, including 0-5 against teams presently in the NHL playoff pack.

The X-factor for New York is young goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who is 2-2 in five games with a 2.73 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Georgiev had a 41-save winning effort against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

The total has gone under in five of Pittsburgh’s last seven games in March as a road favorite. The total has also gone under in six of Pittsburgh’s last seven road games as a favorite of -180 to -500 on the moneyline. However, the total has gone over in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 games as an underdog at home.

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 listen to it 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.