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Capitals betting favorites in Stanley Cup rematch with Golden Knights

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The Washington Capitals take two strong long-term trends into a Stanley Cup final rematch against the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.

The Capitals, led by captain Alex Ovechkin, are a -167 betting favorite on the NHL odds with the Golden Knights offering +135 as the underdog while the total is at 5.5 goals at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Counting the championship series four months ago, the Capitals are 15-5 in their last 20 home games against Western Conference teams. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Capitals are also 15-4 in their last 19 regular-season home games as a -160 to -180 moneyline favorite. Vegas is 5-3 as a -125 to -145 moneyline underdog on the road in its short history.

The OddsShark NHL Database also notes that the Golden Knights, who are visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday as part of a five-game road trip, are 6-4 in the front end of back-to-back games.

The main question with the Golden Knights, who are 1-2-0 so far this season, is whether they will regress toward the mean after making a run to the Stanley Cup final as a first-year expansion team last season. Through three games, the Golden Knights and their top two lines led by William Karlssson and Paul Stastny have just five goals and have struggled to convert chances directly in front of the net, which is where most goals are scored in the NHL.

The Golden Knights will call on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a 3.93 goals-against average and .841 save percentage in two games.

On top of the strong home trends, the Capitals, who are 1-0-1 this season, may have greater continuity than the typical Stanley Cup-winning team, as 18 of the 20 players who dressed for the closeout game against Vegas in June remain on the roster.

Ovechkin and center Evgeny Kuznetsov have a new linemate with Brett Connolly at right wing with Tom Wilson (suspension) sidelined, but the Capitals’ second and third units centered by Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller are relatively strong. That third unit, with Eller between Chandler Stephenson and Andre Burakovsky, could be a deciding factor. On the back end, Michal Kempny has cleared concussion protocol and can rejoin John Carlson on the first defense pairing.

The Capitals, who have also had a four-day break since their last game, will likely start goalie Braden Holtby, who has a 3.46 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in two starts.

Early-season NHL games can occasionally become track meets on ice. The total has gone OVER in nine of Vegas’ last 14 games in October and the total has also gone OVER in 13 of Washington’s last 20 games in October.

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.

Golden Knights betting favorites against Capitals in Stanley Cup Final

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Oddsmakers are leaning toward the Vegas Golden Knights and star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury making history, even though the track record for first-time Stanley Cup finalists is not overly rosy.

The Golden Knights, who have made the final as an expansion team, are -135 favorites with the Washington Capitals and superstar Alex Ovechkin coming back at +115 on the latest odds to win the Stanley Cup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Vegas has home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series, which begins with Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday. For what it might be worth, the last three first-time finalists to represent the Western Conference – 2017 Nashville Predators, 2016 San Jose Sharks and 2003 Anaheim Mighty Ducks – each lost.

Washington will not have home-ice advantage, but they are 8-2 on the road in the playoffs. A four-day layoff might also help negate any energy advantage Vegas has from playing four fewer games during the first three rounds.

Along with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Capitals have re-integrated center Nicklas Backstrom into their lineup to diversify their offense. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has a 2.04 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in the playoffs after posting shutouts in each of the final two games of Washington’s series win against Tampa Bay.

The main question with the Golden Knights is whether Fleury, the favorite on the Conn Smythe Trophy odds, and their top-six forwards, including the William Karlsson-Jonathan Marchessault-Reilly Smith top line, can sustain their efficiency from the first three rounds. Picking against them would mean picking against Fleury and the 1.68 goals-against average and .947 save percentage he has in the playoffs.

The Golden Knights top forwards also have a 12.7 percent shooting percentage in the playoffs, and anything well above 10% is usually unsustainable. That said, coach Gerard Gallant has developed a fast, tenacious team. That assertiveness comes out the most on the road, where the total has gone under in five of the Golden Knights’ eight away games in the playoffs, with two pushes.

Vegas is 6-1 at home in the playoffs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, although puck-line bettors have probably noticed four wins were by a single goal.

The total has gone over in nine of the Capitals’ last 15 road games against Western teams. The total has gone over in nine of the Golden Knights’ last 16 home games against Eastern teams.

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.

Capitals, Rangers betting favorites for Stanley Cup Playoff matchups on Saturday

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Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals have not lost back-to-back home games all season, and oddsmakers believe they won’t start doing so on Saturday.

The Capitals are the -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5.5-goal total heading into their Game 2 matchup on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Washington, which doubled the Penguins in shot attempts in Game 1 of the series yet lost, is 7-3 in its last 10 home playoff games when it was a favorite of -135 to -500 on the moneyline. In other words, they do tend to deliver when installed as a big home-ice favorite.

The Penguins, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Metropolitan Division rival Capitals according to the OddsShark NHL Database, could have LW Carl Hagelin (lower body) in the lineup for the first time in seven weeks.

While Sidney Crosby is Sidney Crosby, the Penguins need more from center Evgeni Malkin and his line, which was shut out in Game 1.

The Capitals, even though they were the less rested team, outplayed Pittsburgh in Game 1. Along with Ovechkin and his longtime center Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov helms a strong second line.

The total has gone over in five of Pittsburgh’s last seven games on the road. The total has gone under in eight of Washington’s last 11 games.

The New York Rangers are a -120 favorite against the -110 underdog Ottawa Senators with a 5-goal total in Saturday’s playoff matinee. Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and the Rangers’ offense-by-committee attack has been vexed by Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, going 0-3 against him this season. If nothing else, the Rangers are due for a breakout against Anderson.

The Rangers were touted as having a deeper group of forwards, but Ottawa was able to go line-for-line with New York during the series opener. Ottawa, which is an excellent 10-3 at home this season against Metropolitan Division teams, will also have the biggest X-factor on the ice in the form of tireless defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Between Anderson in one net and Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes for the Rangers, goals could be at a premium. The total has gone under in four of the Rangers’ last five road games in Ottawa. Each team has seen the total go under in eight of its past 10 games.