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Bruins Betting Favorites Hosting Maple Leafs in Game 7 Matchup

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The Boston Bruins will get a third chance to knock the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs on Wednesday night when they hit the ice as home betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

The Bruins won the first two games of the series at home by scores of 5-1 and 7-3, easily paying off as moneyline favorites at the sportsbooks in each of those contests. The Maple Leafs then turned the tables with a 4-2 victory in Game 3, but Boston bounced back with a 3-1 road win at Toronto in Game 4.

That put the Bruins up 3-1 in the series heading into Game 5 last Saturday night, but the Maple Leafs avoided elimination with a 4-3 road victory in a game in which Boston was pegged as a heavy -185 home favorite.

And the Maple Leafs then forced a deciding Game 7 with a 3-1 win at home on Monday night. Jake DeBrusk opened the scoring for the Bruins early in the second period of that contest, but William Nylander and Mitch Marner had Toronto up 2-1 heading into the third period. Tomas Plekanec then iced the game with an empty-net goal.

Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen stopped 32 of 33 Bruins shots in the Game 6 victory, after making 42 saves in the Game 5 win over the weekend. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 27 saves on 29 shots in the Game 6 loss; Rask was pulled in Game 5 after allowing four goals on just 13 shots.

For Game 7 on Wednesday night the Bruins opened as -150 betting favorites on the NHL odds, with the Maple Leafs set as +130 underdogs. The OVER/UNDER for the contest is listed at 5.5 goals; through the first six games of the series the OVER/UNDER is 3-2 with a PUSH on the six-goal total back in Game 1.

Boston overall is just 4-6 in its last 10 games against Toronto dating back to the regular season, and 5-5 in its last 10 games at home against the Maple Leafs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

The winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 matchup will move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs, with the Bolts set as the second-favorites at +495 on the updated 2018 Stanley Cup odds. The Nashville Predators lead the way as the +440 favorites, with the Vegas Golden Knights at +560 on those futures, and the Winnipeg Jets at +645.

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.

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.