Last Updated: 2019-05-27
Have stunk it up a little bit the past two days, so will look to get on track here, today, as the Boston Bruins are looking to win their seventh Stanley Cup, as they face off with the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins are -160 to win the series, while St. Louis is +140.
The teams met twice during the regular season, with each team winning at home. The Bruins won 5-2 at home in January despite being out-shot 30-26.
But Tuuka Rask was better than Jake Allen, who allowed four goals. Boston tallied an empty netter in the final minute to account for the final score. The Blues led 2-1 in the second period and the Bruins tied the game on a powerplay to make it 2-2 entering the third period before the Bruins took control of the game and the win. It was the fourth and final game of a four-game road trip for St. Louis. It was also the second game of a back-to-back for the Bruins.
The teams met the following month in St. Louis and the Blues took a 2-1 victory in a shootout, as both Rask and Jordan Bennington were solid in goal. The Bruins had a 32-29 shot advantage in this one.
The Bruins have slightly better numbers both offensively and defensively than the Blues, although a bit of an adjustment has to be made to the Blues’ defense since Bennington took over. St. Louis allowed nearly one goal less with Bennington in net. Bennington hasn’t been quite as good in the playoffs as he was during the regular season, which is understandable as the level of competition is tougher.
At even strength the two teams are comparable, but the Bruins have an edge in special teams. Boston ranked No. 3 in powerplay percentage, where St. Louis finished No. 10.
The Bruins capitalized on 25.9% of their powerplay opportunities, while the Blues made good on 21.1%.
The Bruins were 29-12 at home during the regular season, outscoring teams 3.4-2.5 on average and Boston hasn’t slowed down much in the playoffs, posting a 6-3 mark at home, while going 6-2 on the road. Boston was 20-21 away from home during the regular season.
The Blues were 21-20 away from home during the regular season and have gone 7-2 in the playoffs, while posting a 24-17 home mark during the regular season and are just 5-5 at home in the playoffs.
The Bruins have had a lengthy layoff and in one of those trends that is difficult to explain are just 1-6 when playing with three or more days rest this season, while the Blues have gone 7-4 in the same situation. If the Bruins can overcome that and win the opener, they could be tough to stop.
The Bruins get the edge in experience, having appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013. A fair number players, including Rask, appeared in that series. Rask has picked-up his game a notch again in the playoffs, where he has a lifetime .928 save percentage.
Would love to see the Blues win the series, but it’s hard to see it happening, so will start with a series wager on the Bruins and lay the -160.
END OF MAY 27 PICKS
Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals moves to St. Louis tonight, where the Blues are -140 and the total is 5.5-under (-115). St. Louis did what they needed in St. Louis, but these teams are pretty close, so it’s going to be difficult for the Blues to win two straight at home, as the most likely result is a split in St. Louis, as well.
The Blues rebounded after an ugly performance in Game 1 with a 4-2 victory to knot the series and the Sharks have to be a little concerned about Martin Jones, who hasn’t played well in either game, but was bailed out by his offense in the opener. Shots were just 26-25 in favor of St. Louis last game and St. Louis led in shots in Game 1, so the Sharks simply have to play a bit better on defense. The Blues were 0 for 5 with the man advantage last game, which allowed the Sharks to stay in the game until the end, but San Jose can’t expect to do that every game.
Jones doesn’t show a huge difference in home or away performance, while Binnington was solid regardless of location and was 7-14 in home totals. Jones is 14-17 in away totals, where the Sharks don’t score quite so much as they do when they’re at home.
The Blues have been a better team this season against other winning teams, which has helped them in the playoffs, as they haven’t gotten down on themselves after falling behind. The Sharks did win Games 6 and 7 against Vegas, but are still just 22-22 against teams with a winning record.
It goes without saying that this is a huge game, as taking the series lead will be huge for either team, but it would take some of the pressure off the Sharks if they can go into Game 4 with the advantage.
I expect both teams to play a little more cautious than they typically would, so think this is probably a decent spot for the under after the first two games managed to go over the total. The Blues are a better defensive team at home when Binnington is playing, while they were a worse defensive team at home when Jake Allen was playing, so their season stats are a little bit skewed in that regard. Will go ahead and take a stab on the under in this one.
END OF MAY 15 PICKS
Just a single game in the National Hockey League tonight, as the St. Louis Blues look to rebound from Game 1’s 6-3 thumping at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks opened -130 and the line has stayed there with a little more than 60% of the early wagers coming in on the home team, while the total is 5.5-flat.
The Blues threw in a stinker in the opener and Binnington was especially bad, as the Sharks scored six goals and had just 25 shots. San Jose did have four powerplays to one for the Blues, so there is plenty of blame to go around the St. Louis locker room. It wasn’t just Binnington being bad, it was a team effort.
The Blues have been a decent rebound team during the season, going 19-10 after allowing four or more goals and 27-22 after losing to a team the last time they met. The Blues have trailed in the playoffs before, so this isn’t foreign to them and they’ve obviously shown they can overcome a deficit in the playoffs, as they’re at this stage.
The Sharks have been playing well, but haven’t been able to put together any sort of winning streak since winning the last two games against Vegas. Against Colorado, it was win-loss the entire length of the series and the Sharks wouldn’t mind seeing that again now that they have won the opening game of the series.
Martin Jones got plenty of flak for his dismal regular season and he wasn’t necessarily great in the opening game, but once again he did what needed to be done and a 6-3 win is just as good as a 4-1 win or even a 2-1 win in the playoffs.
Going to take a shot on the Blues +110 in this game, although definitely have been a little streaky in the playoffs so far. This is a series I expected to go 6 or 7 games and even though the first game was a bit on the ugly side, think the Blues have too much talent to see another beatdown like we did in the opening game. They have to force the action a bit more, as you shouldn’t be giving the opposition four powerplay opportunities and only getting one yourself at this stage of the season.
St. Louis needs to play their game and should settle down a little bit after the opening game.
END OF MAY 13 PICKS
The National Hockey League is pretty much the only game in town for those who haven’t made the switch to MLB yet, so we’ll take a look at tonight’s game between the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are -130 and the total is 5.5-under 9-130).
San Jose is -110 to win the series, as are the Blues, so it goes without saying it’s a pretty evenly matched series, with big-time players on both teams. It’s just a matter of which players will show up when needed the most.
Both teams needed seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals to advance to this stage, where the home team won all three meetings this season. Each team won 4-0 and the last games was a 3-2 Sharks victory in which San Jose dominated the game, outshooting the Blues 33-19 in the victory. The Blues scored both of their goals with the man advantage, while one of San Jose’s goals came on the powerplay.
The Blues do get the nod in goaltending, with Binnington over Jones, but the Sharks were better offensively, so it comes down to what you value more offense or defense.
The majority of the wagers in the game are coming in on San Jose, while the over is also getting more than 60% of the early wagers in the game.
Despite all the flak Martin Jones gets for his terrible season, he has been a little better in the playoffs, boosting his save percentage to .910, but more important has 8 wins so far, so while it hasn’t been easy, he has gotten the team to the conference finals, which is all that matters at this point.
These two teams have a history of playing lower-scoring games, as all three games went under the total this season and it was the same last year. You have to go all the way back to 2016 when these teams last met in the playoffs to find a game than landed over the number.
Not a real big fan of laying -130 on a total, but since there’s no NBA tonight, a little more inclined to go ahead and take the under 5.5 in this one and hope one of the two goalies shows up big, so that we don’t see the extra attacker in the final minute of a 3-2 game.
END OF MAY 11 PICKS
We move to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the Carolina Hurricanes are doing battle against the Boston Bruins and the Bruins are favored -150 and the total is 5.5-under (-135). The Bruins are also -155 in the series, with the takeback on Carolina +135.
The Bruins won two of the three games between the teams this season, splitting a pair of games in Carolina and winning the lone game played in Boston this season. All three games were decided by a pair of goals or less, with the ‘Canes winning 5-3, while Boston grabbed 3-2 and 4-3 victories, with the 4-3 home win being decided in overtime, so you can’t really say one team has a decided advantage here.
Tukka Rask was in goal for the Bruins 5-3 loss in Carolina, while Halak played the other two games. Peter Mrazek was in goal for the Hurricanes in that game, while Carolina had Scott Darling in goal for one game and Curtis McElhinney for another, so Carolina did win the lone game that will feature the starters for this series.
The ’Canes had a 44-31 shot advantage in Boston’s 3-2 win, but Halak was better than Darling in that game, while Carolina had a 37-30 shot advantage in its home victory. The last meeting, which took place in March, saw the Bruins with a 38-37 shot advantage, even though Carolina had a 5-1 advantage on powerplays, so the Bruins were a little better than it looks at a quick glance.
The Hurricanes have probably been the better team from March on, although they were is more a must-win mode than Boston, who had already pretty much locked up a playoff berth and a decent seed for the playoffs, so that has to be taken at a little less than face value.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Carolina is playing pretty good hockey right now and their victories over the Caps and Islanders were pretty impressive, with their victory over Washington showing a lot of heart.
This isn’t a great situational spot for the ‘Canes, as away dogs with at least five days rest are just 12-20 in the playoffs, so winning a series early doesn’t always pan out.
Going to make a series wager on the Hurricanes in this one, with the possibility of buying back part or all if Carolina can get a lead in the series, but do like the fact they were playing a little better down the stretch and the fact they won the lone game between the two goalies who are likely to play this series.
END OF MAY 9 PICKS
Another Game 7 in the National Hockey League tonight, as the Colorado Avalanche visit the San Jose Sharks. The public is definitely on San Jose in this one, driving the line up from Sharks -130 to -140 after 70% of the early wagers have come in on the home team. The total is 5.5-over (-120) which is down slightly from 5.5-over (-125) and more than 60% of the wagers have been on the over.
The home team has gone 4-2 in this series so far, with each team taking a game on the road and falling twice, while the Sharks were also much better at home than the Avalanche were on the road this season, so can’t really say it’s a surprise to see San Jose getting so much love from bettors.
Neither goalie was particularly impressive last time out, as we saw seven goals scored on just 48 shots and the Avalanche were able to score four of those seven against Jones, who had looked a little better before that last one.
The Sharks have the bigger names who are better known to casual hockey fans, but the Avalanche have plenty of talent even if those players fly under the radar a little bit, but believe all things considered, San Jose is the better team, but Jones can change that will a bad outing.
Both teams have also struggled to get the powerplay going, as they’re a combined 4 for 36, although as we saw last night, the referees are usually a bit reluctant to call penalties in a meaningful game and typically let a few things slide where they might call a penalty during the regular season. They don’t want to be the ones who decide the outcome and would rather let the players take care of things on the ice.
That does favor Colorado a little bit, as San Jose is slightly better both offensively and defensively with the man advantage, even though it hasn’t been a factor so far, with each team scoring a pair of powerplay goals.
Prior to last game, we did see things tighten up a little bit with Games 4 and 5 seeing three goals each and have a feeling this could be another low-scoring game, as long as the goalies play well and the game remains close. A quick 2-0 lead for one team could change things in a hurry, but have to take the under 5.5 here at even money.
END OF MAY 8 PICKS
A little bit of a rough stretch after having a decent little run in the NHL playoffs, as we’ve dropped our last two plays and a couple of opinions, as we head to Game 7 of the series between the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are -135 and the total on the game is 5-flat.
Those looking at the pucklines can find St. Louis – 1 (+130) or the Blues -1.5 (+195).
The series has pretty much been what’s expected and it’s no surprise these two are going to a Game 7, where the Stars would expect to have a bit of an edge in goal, with Ben Bishop against Jordan Binnington, although it was the rookie who came up big last game, allowing just one powerplay goal.
The number of shots dropped last game, which is to be expected as the series goes on, with both teams playing a little more defensive-minded. The Blues scored just over a minute into the game and the Stars tied the score with 9 minutes left in the first period and then we saw a lapse in the action until the Blues scored with 4:30 left in the second period.
St. Louis added an insurance goal in the third period after Bishop was ‘stung’ on a shot and was on the ground and netted another goal against him before he was removed from the game.
The road team is now 4-2 in this series, so plenty for the Stars to focus on and not let the fact they’re away from home be a factor, as Dallas did win Games 2 and 5 in St. Louis, but have to believe the Blues aren’t going to drop three of four games at home.
Normally, you wouldn’t want to back a rookie against a veteran, although Binnington is older than your average rookie and was solid in Game 6 with the Blues facing elimination.
But the Stars are also dependent on a rookie, with defenseman Miro Heiskanen one of their better players this series and playing top-pairing minutes.
If Bishop doesn’t get shaken up last game, it could have been a 2-1 game until the final minute, so going to play the under here, although the empty net could come into play, which is always a concern in the playoffs. A 4-2 loss is no worse than a 3-2 loss, so will need one of the two goalies to come up with a big game, so will take a shot on the under in this one.
END OF MAY 7 PICKS
A pair of games in the National Hockey League tonight, with a pair of Game 5s in series that are tied 2-2, so it goes without saying these are a pair of big games.
Columbus at Boston: The Bruins and Blue Jackets will kick-off the evening and the Bruins are -135, which is right where they opened and the total has made a bit of a shift down to 5.5-under (-130) after opening at 5.5-under (-125). Close to 60% of the wagers have come in on the over, so maybe a little noteworthy, but definitely not a huge deal.
The Bruins came out and took it to Columbus last game, going 2 of 6 on the powerplay and having a 46-40 shot advantage with their backs against the wall to even the series. It was the third game out of the four that landed on a total of five goals, with the other game being a 2-1 final, so you can see why the odds are where they’re at.
Considering the Bruins were favored to win the series at the start and close to two-thirds of the wagers in this one have been on the Bruins, the line should probably be a little bit higher. Tough game, but would lean to the Blue Jackets in this one.
Colorado at San Jose: The Sharks opened -135 in this one and have gotten more than 70% of the wagers in the game, but the line has dropped to -125, so some big bets coming in on the Avalanche.
Colorado came up with a 3-0 victory last game to even up the series and this has traditionally been a good rebound spot for the Sharks, who have gone 7-1 this year after scoring 1 goal or less last time out and have posted a 4-1 record after being blanked.
The Avalanche have gone 10-10 after holding a foe to one goal or less last time and one of those losses came to the Sharks in the opening game of the series. Colorado was 4-3 on the road after holding a foe to one goal or less and 3-3 as an away underdog after limiting the opposition to one goal or less.
Hard to go against San Jose due to their record after seeing their offense held in check, but you can’t overlook the money that’s come in Colorado either, so will lean to the Avs in this spot and look for a split with the two underdogs tonight.
END OF MAY 4 PICKS
A pair of games in the NHL tonight, where I botched last night’s play, so will look to see what we can come up with for today.
New York at Carolina: The Hurricanes will look to close out their series with the Islanders tonight, and find themselves favored -135 after opening -145 and getting a little more than 60% of the early wagers in the game.
With the Hurricanes up 3-0 it’s really a question of what kind of effort we’re going to see out of the Islanders. Sometimes teams will rally to avoid the sweep, while other times teams will just pack it in, figuring the series is basically over.
The 5-2 final in the last game is a little misleading, as the Hurricanes scored two empty net goals in the final minute to turn a 3-2 game in a bit of a rout, although New York wasn’t really out of it until the very end, so for all practical purposes, this was another close game that went down to the wire.
The ‘Canes did have a pretty good shot advantage last time, but have to believe the Islanders are going to bounce back in this one, so will take a stab on New York +120 to bring the series back to New York for Game 5.
Dallas at St. Louis: This one has been a good series so far and we’re heading back to St. Louis tied up, which is probably fine with the Blues, who were able to get the split, which is all they needed to do in order to regain home ice advantage.
St. Louis opened -150 and the line has trickled down a little bit to -140 or -145 with 60% of the bets coming in on the Blues, so a slight move isn’t really that unusual due to the takeback price. The total in this one has shifted a little bit from 5-over (-140) to 5-over (-130) even though more than 80% of the totals wagers have come in on the over.
This is one similar to last night, where the odds dictate taking a look at the under, but no so sure I’ll be able to pull the trigger, although it came back to bite me last night.
The side is a little more tricky, as both teams are capable of pulling off the victory, but will just go ahead and stay away from the side in this one.
END OF MAY 3 PICKS
A pair of games in the National Hockey League tonight with both the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche looking to get back in their respective series and avoid going down 3-1.
Boston at Columbus: We’ve seen three one-goal games in this series so far and all of them have gone under the total. The Blue Jackets opened -120 in this one and the line is still there even though the public is on the Bruins pretty good to the tune of 74% of the early wagers, yet the line hasn’t budged. After seeing 5.5 for the first three games, we’re seeing a 5 for the total here, but the over has moved from -130 to -145 and wouldn’t be a shock to see it hit 5.5 later today.
Columbus did a good job maintaining focus last game and not getting caught up in the moment, when Brad Marchand was trying to throw them off their game, and that bodes well for them in the remainder of the series. The Jackets received some criticism for going “all in” at the playoff deadline, but it’s a move that paid off. After getting outplayed badly in the first game, Columbus has put a couple of decent games together in a series where both top lines have struggled a little bit.
I liked Columbus before the series started and not going to hop off the bandwagon now, so will take the Blue Jackets at -120 in this one.
San Jose at Colorado: Strange game here, as the Avalanche opened -130 and are now at -120 after the Sharks received close to 60% of the wagers, which is pretty much to be expected. But the total is the story of this match-up, as the number opened 6-over (-120) and is now 6-under (-115) even with 80% of the bets on the over. Making it standout a little bit more is we’ve seen seven goals in four of the last six games, along with six goals and nine goals when these two teams meet. But you have to respect the line move in this case, so would lean to the under, but probably don’t have the nerve to play it.
Neither team has gotten the powerplay going, which probably hurts the Sharks a bit more, as they have better numbers offensively and defensively, while Colorado is better defensively at even strength, partly because of how bad Jones was during the regular season. Will just stay away from this one.
END OF MAY 2 PICKS
We’ll return to the NHL tonight where we have a pair of games and a couple of teams in dire needs of victories in New York and Dallas.
New York at Carolina: The Hurricanes opened -130 and the line is holding steady even though New York is getting close to 70% of the wagers, while the total has moved from 5-under (-120) to 5-under (-125) with pretty even betting on both sides.
The Hurricanes have taken 1-0 and 2-1 victories in the two games played in New York, which hasn’t been a great situation for them so far this year, as Carolina is 14-14 after back-to-back victories and 6-7 after three wins in a row.
The Islanders have gone 3-0 after being held to one goal or less in back-to-back games and are 11-1 after dropping two straight games. The most surprising thing in this instance is New York’s offense, which has been non-existent this series, has averaged 4.2 goals after a pair of losses and New York has gone 8-3-1 in totals with just one game seeing less than five goals.
The Islanders are going to have to try and find way to get more offense, even if that means not playing defense in the same manner as they have so far this series. It doesn’t matter if you’re only allowing one or two goals a game if you’re not scoring any and New York does have a few players with some offensive talent.
A little difficult to take the over after what we’ve seen so far this series, but think that’s probably the way to go in this one, so will take the over 5 at +105.
St. Louis at Dallas: The Stars are -125 in this one and the total is 5-flat, with Dallas getting a good majority of the side wagers at 68% and two-thirds of the totals wagers have been on the over, although we haven’t seen a shift in the odds yet.
Ben Bishop hasn’t been very impressive in this series and has allowed a few goals that he probably should have stopped, while Binnington has been decent, at least good enough to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Dallas needs this game a little bit more, but the Blues have a better team and are playing well right now, so tough game to call. Will most likely just sit this one and watch what happened.
END MAY 1 PICKS
We move to a couple of Game 2s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Saturday and both of the first games were decent games, so wouldn’t be surprised to see things a bit more decisive in today’s games.
Dallas at St. Louis: The Blues look to extend their lead to 2-0 in the afternoon game, although the Stars are getting a bit of money in this one. St. Louis opened -150 and the Blues are down to -145 in a game that has seen pretty good two-way action. The Blues have received 54% of the early wagers, so the slight move isn’t out of the ordinary and is nothing to get too excited about. The total has moved to 5-under (-120) with close to 60% of the early wagers on the under.
While both teams can score, they can also play defense and have been getting good play from their goalies, so not surprising to see a 5 in this game, especially after they just played a 3-2 game. There were just 49 combined shots in the first game and both teams were 1 of 2 on the powerplay.
The Blues managed just 20 shots, but were able to get three of them past Bishop. In the three regular season games that ended with four or five goals, there was an average of 50 combined shots on goal, while in the 5-2 game there were 70 combined shot attempts.
Columbus at Boston: The Bruins opened -145 and are down to -140 after getting 57% of the early wagers in this one, while the total is 5.5-under (-125). The Bruins won the first game 3-2 and things weren’t quite as close as the final score indicated, as the Bruins had a 37-22 shot advantage and both teams were 0 for 4 with the man advantage.
The Blue Jackets had a bit of a break after easily disposing of Tampa Bay, while the Bruins were forced to go seven games in their first series. While that wasn’t a factor in the opening game, partly due to adrenaline, it could be more of a factor in this one.
I think this series go six or seven games and with a game under their belt, believe the Blue Jackets are going to bounce back and play a better game in this spot. Whether they win or not is another question, but think there’s a bit of value in taking the road underdog +120 in this game.
END OF APRIL 27 PICKS
The other two NHL playoff series begin tonight and will have a tough time matching yesterday’s two games in terms of excitement, as we ended up pushing our totals play in the Dallas game. No series plays once again, although I could see jumping into the New York series depending on what transpires in the first two games.
Carolina at NY Islanders: The Islanders opened -145 in this one and the line has made a minor move downward to -140 even though 70% of the wagers have come in on New York. The total is 5.5-under (-145) at most outlets, while some have it 5-over (-135). The total opened at 5.5-under (-125) but has moved a fair bit with pretty good two-way action on the total.
The teams met four times during the regular season, with the Islanders winning both games in Carolina and the teams splitting the two games in New York, so home ice advantage didn’t matter much, with the visiting team taking three of the four games. We saw three goals in two of the four games and five goals once with the most recent game a 4-3 Hurricanes victory, although the teams haven’t played since early January, having all four games in a span of less than nine weeks.
Like the under here, but not about to lay -145 so will take the under 5 at +115, which is available at 5Dimes and many other sportsbooks that give you a choice in totals.
Colorado at San Jose: The Sharks are -135 to win the series and whatever you think of their Game 7 victory, they did what they needed to do in order to win. The Avalanche were certainly more impressive in their victory over Calgary, which is one reason why the price is relatively cheap.
The Sharks won all four games during the regular season and the fewest goals scored was 6, so no surprise to see the public taking the over here, as the total is 6-over (-125) but it also hasn’t moved even with 75% of the wagers on the over, so a few people obviously are on the under pretty good, but they have more nerve than I do, as I want no part of the under here, but also respect the lack of line movement and those taking the under, so will just sit out this game and watch to see what happens.
END OF APRIL 26 PICKS
From a fan perspective, the last two days in the NHL have been pretty crappy, as the Knights and Capitals were eliminated. From a bettor’s perspective it’s been a little better, having had the Sharks in a series wager and the Hurricanes last night. As I always tell people being a fan and a bettor are two completely different things and sometimes you have to bet against what you’d like to see if you believe there’s decent value in doing so.
No series wagers for the two series that are starting tonight, so we’ll just look at the two games.
Columbus at Boston: The Bruins opened -155 and the line is holding pretty steady with Boston getting roughly 60% of the wagers, so the lack of line movement makes sense in this one. The total opened 5.5-over (-115) and is also pretty stagnant with about 62% of the wagers coming in on the over. The teams had a tendency to play higher-scoring games during the regular season, as we saw 11, 8 and 2 goals in the three games, although the lone game played in Boston was the 2-1 game. The other two games were played in Columbus.
In a bit of unusual scheduling, all three games played between the two have been pretty recent, as the first game wasn’t until March 12 and then they played right back on March 16 in Boston. The Blue Jackets won the first game 7-4 and the Bruins won the home game 2-1 and also took a 6-2 victory at Columbus on April 2. The Blue Jackets scored 19 goals in the four games against Tampa Bay.
No real opinion on this one, although the Blue Jackets are coming in well-rested. Playoff teams with one day rest against a foe off of at least four days are off are just 4-7, although they are 2-1 at home.
Dallas at St. Louis: The Blues are -155 after opening -150 and seeing pretty good two-way action on both teams, so a little bit of sharp money looks to be on St. Louis, although I’ve never been a fan of lying those types of odds. The total has held at 5-over (-115) with 56% of the early wagers coming in on the over. Bishop and Binnington are both capable of shutting down the other team and only one of the last six games played between these two have seen more than five goals, so will take a shot on the under 5 at -105.
END OF APRIL 25 PICKS
Just one game in the NHL tonight, but it doesn’t get any better than a Game 7, as we saw on Tuesday. The Carolina Hurricanes visit the Washington Capitals in a game that has seen the home team win the first six games and the Caps have moved from -135 to -155 after getting close to 75% of the early wagers in the game and that’s unlikely to slow down any as we approach the start of the game.
Unlike a couple of the earlier games, we’re not seeing signs of sharp money on Carolina, although that could be masked a little bit due to the number of bets this game will receive and you can make a point that the opening line was purposely set a bit low, knowing the public would come in on Ovechkin’s team and to discourage money on the Hurricanes.
But now at +135 there’s some value on Carolina, and even though I’d rather see the Caps win, can’t back Washington at that price.
Both home teams won Game 7 on Tuesday, but those teams also won Game 6 on the road in elimination contests, while the ‘Canes won Game 6 at home, so there’s something to be said for momentum.
The Hurricanes were a popular ‘smart’ side at the beginning of the series and even the series price was on the low side, so it can’t really be a surprise to see this one going the distance and it should be a decent game.
The total opened at 5.5-under (-120) and has stayed there despite more than 60% of the wagers coming in on the over. After seeing 6 and 7 goals scored the last two games, can’t blame the public for liking the over a little bit in this one.
Three of the games have seen two or more goals in the first period and three have seen one or less, making the first-period total a bit of a gamble at 1.5, but can see both teams being cautious in the early going of this one.
Still, going to have to go with the Hurricanes +135 in this one as a small value play. They match-up decently with the Capitals, but the line is a bit inflated now due to the 20-cent line move. The Caps were -145 in Game 5, which is probably where this one should be.
END OF APRIL 24 PICKS
A pair of games in the National Hockey League today, as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights look to close out their respective series.
Boston at Toronto: I have the Maple Leafs in a series bet here, but will do my best to forget about it and look at this one as a stand-alone wagering opportunity. Toronto opened as a -115 favorite and the Leafs are now -120 with the number of wagers pretty well split between the two teams. We’ve seen a bit of a move on the total, which has dropped to 5.5-over (-120) and we’re seeing 60% of the wagers come in on the over so far.
While the Leafs have the better offense, they have fared better in the lower-scoring games. The one game that has gone over the total is one of the two wins the Bruins have in the series, while Toronto is 3-1 in the games that have seen five goals or less.
The Leafs have taken a pair of leads in the series, but have been unable to win the next one, so home ice hasn’t really meant a whole lot in this series, where the visiting team is 3-2.
The first two games were both decided by three goals and we’ve seen three closer ones since then, with the Leafs taking two of the three. Would give the slightest of leans to the Leafs here, as I think they can get it done today and avoid the trip back to Boston.
San Jose at Vegas: The Knights look to close out the series tonight, although they’re expected to have an easier time than the Leafs, as the Knights opened -180 and are now -175 after getting two-thirds of the wagers, so nothing really out of the ordinary in terms of the line movement. The total is 6-over (-120) which is an indication of how poorly Martin Jones has played throughout the series, which is a continuation from the regular season.
How much of it is a mental block for Jones doesn’t really matter at this point of the season. He simply needs to stop the puck more than he’s done, especially in Las Vegas, where the Knights have 5 and 6 goals in the two games. Four of the five games have gone over the total, which makes the over look a bit enticing, but a little hesitant myself, as the Knights could go into a bit of a defensive mode if they get up by a few goals. If I absolutely had to play would probably take a stab on the under, as the game might be played a little tighter than we’ve seen.
END OF APRIL 21 PICKS
Back to the NHL tonight, where we have a couple of games on the schedule, including the key Game 5 in Boston.
Toronto at Boston: The Bruins did what they needed to do in Toronto to wrestle home ice advantage back in the series and now find themselves -145 in this one with a total of 6-flat. The Bruins opened -145 in this one and the line has held pretty steady despite nearly two-thirds of the wagers coming in on the home team. The total has also held steady with a few more over wagers coming in, although too terribly lopsided.
The last game was a 6-4 Bruins victory, even though the Leafs had a 42-31 shot advantage, but just didn’t very good play from Andersen in what was easily his worst game of the series so far. The Bruins were nothing great defensively, but they get a key road victory, which is all they really needed to do and did so when the pressure was on, so you have to give them a bit of credit for that, as it’s not always easy to play your best game when you enter Game 4 down 2-1. The first three games saw five goals each and think teams will be a little more cautious in this one, so will take the under 6.
Colorado at Calgary: The Flames opened -180 in this one and the line has dropped to Calgary -170 after the Avalanche have gotten the majority of wagers in the game. Even though everybody is talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning collapse, this one would be a bit of a shocker, as well, especially after the Flames won the first game of the series 4-0, but Mike Smith hasn’t been very good since then and the Flames have scored two goals in each of the last three contests and you’re not going to win too many games doing that unless you’re a defensive-oriented team, which Calgary is not.
The downward move in the line isn’t all that surprising based on the betting, even though from a percentage standpoint, the bets are pretty even, but when one team is getting plus +160, you do need to curtail the take price a little bit. No real interest in what is a hard game to get a read on, as the Flames’ mental state is a bit of a question mark entering this one.
END OF APRIL 19 PICKS
Another four-game schedule in the NHL for Saturday, where again we’re seeing the wiseguys take a few anti-public stands that re having a decent effect on the betting lines. Even though it’s the playoffs, you’re not going to get too many bettors coming out of the woodwork for the National Hockey League, which is still a minor sport from a betting perspective.
Carolina at Washington: The Capitals are holding steady for the most part at -155, which is where the line opened even though Washington is getting more than two-thirds of the early wagers in this one. Again, the big move is in the total, which dropped from 6-under (-120) to 5.5-over (-120) even though you can still find 6-under (-123) at 5Dimes, which is where I played the under 6 – even though the empty-net goal in the final 40 seconds of the first game handed me a loss. More than three-quarters of the early wagers have been on the over, so the move is a fairly significant.
Dallas at Nashville: The Predators opened -165 and the line is still holding there with Nashville getting more than two-thirds of the early and the total has moved from 5-over (-130) to 5-over (-120) with two-thirds of the plays coming in on the over. It’s easy to see why people are playing the over, since if each team scores twice the worst you can do is push, but one I’ll stay clear of.
Toronto at Boston: Once again we’re seeing money come in on the Maple Leafs, as the line dropped from Boston -155 to Bruins -140 even though two-thirds of the wagers have come in on the Bruins. We’ve also seen a slight move in the total, which moved from 6-flat to 6-under (-115) with more than 60% of the wagers coming in on the over. Would likely play Toronto in this one if I didn’t have the series wager on the Leafs, but will just stay away and see what shakes out.
Colorado at Calgary: The Flames opened -220 and the line has climbed a little bit to Calgary -230 with the Flames getting 58% of the wagers in the game. The total has shifted slightly from 6-under (-120) to 6-flat with the majority of the wagers coming in on the over. Playoff teams who were blanked last time out have come back with a 78-64 record, while totals have gone 61-43-38. Away underdogs who were blanked last game are just 24-32, however, with totals going 27-19-10, so the trends, at least, lean to the over in this one.
END OF APRIL 13 PICKS
The dreaded empty net goal did us in last night, as we’re now 1-1 in the playoffs with two series wagers also going. Four games on the schedule tonight and a few of them are showing bigger bettors taking a stand one way or the other. A bit of a tough slate, so a couple of opinions, but no plays.
Columbus at Tampa Bay: The Lightning opened -250 and have been bet up to -260 with more than 85% of the early wagers coming in on Tampa. The total has dipped slightly from 6.5-over (-125) to 6.5-over (-120) with pretty good two-way action on the total. Laying -260 is a recipe for disaster in the long run, although it’s hard to see this one going any other way. The early lines (first five, first 10 minutes) aren’t out, but may be a better wager for those expecting the Lightning to come out strong after falling apart last game. Too touch to play this one.
Pittsburgh at NY Islanders: The Penguins are -130 with a total of 5.5-under (-120), with Pittsburgh opening at -120 and getting nearly three-quarters of the early wagers. More interesting is the total which has held at 5.5-under (-120) despite two-thirds of the wagers coming in on the over. In the last four years, away favorites off an away loss are 9-3 in the NHL playoffs with the Pens responsible for several of those wins. The total is a little more interesting, especially after the teams played a 4-3 game, in that you would expect, so this is a game I’d lean to the under and may end up with a token wager to watch while working on the NBA.
St. Louis at Winnipeg: The Blues are getting respect once again here, as the Jets opened -125 and are now -120 after getting two-thirds of the early wagers. Winnipeg was 11-6 at home after a loss this season but did start out 6-0, so the Jets were nothing to speak of down the stretch, as we discussed a little bit before Game 1. Home favorites are 26-20 after losing last game at home in the playoffs over the last four years.
Vegas at San Jose: The Sharks opened -130 and are still there after getting close to two-thirds of the wagers, while the total made a pretty big move, climbing from 6-over (-130) to 6.5-under (-115) even though nearly two-thirds of the wagers have been on the under. Would give the other lean to the over here, which is always a possibility with Martin Jones in net, and much like the Penguins game, may make a small wager since I’ll have the game on as background noise while doing some other work.
END OF APRIL 12 PICKS
Three games in the NHL Playoffs tonight, with a couple of interesting line moves having taken place.
Toronto at Boston: We’re seeing a bit of action on the Maple Leafs in this one, as the Bruins opened -150 and the line is down to -135 at 5Dimes even though the Bruins are getting two-thirds of the early wagers. Those who like Toronto should look to Bovada, where the line is Boston -140 and both sportsbooks have the same prices on the series as they’re offering tonight. The total is 6-flat.
A little tempted to take the Leafs in this one, but also have the series bet on Toronto, so not real eager to jump into this game. Three of the four games had 6 goals or more during the regular season, although with two of them landing on 6, you would have gone 1-1-2 betting either the over or the under. There were at least two power play goals scored in the three games that saw six or more goals and one scored in the lone game that saw five goals scored, so how closely this one’s called could affect the total.
Carolina at Washington: The Hurricanes are getting a little respect among bettors, as this one opened Caps -150 and is now Washington -145 with the Caps getting more than three-quarters of the early wagers and the total holding at 5.5-over (-115) with more than 70% of the wagers on the over. Three of the four games played between the two were under the total this year and again, powerplay goals had everything to do with it, as there was one goal scored with the man advantage in the three games that landed under the number and four scored in the lone game that went over. If the refs “let them play” think this one could land under the number, so will take a shot on the under 5.5 at -105.
Colorado at Calgary: The Flames are -185 which is pretty much in line with the opening number and Calgary is getting close to 75% of the wagers in this one, so the line is right about where it should be, possibly a few cents on the low side. The Flames won all three games this year, with two of them going over the total. The teams were a combined 0 for 7 on the powerplay in the game that landed under the total.
END OF APRIL 11 PICKS
We finished the NHL regular season with a profit of 5.38 units and a 57-48-2 record, good for an ROI of roughly 5%, so no complaints there and not bad for typically selecting one game on day on days we had plays. But that’s in the past, now it’s time to see what we can do for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin with five games tonight.
San Jose -105 over Las Vegas: Sometimes you have to make plays you don’t really like and this is definitely one of them for me, as I definitely have a soft spot for the Knights, but think the Sharks are the better team, even if neither team really showed a whole lot down the stretch. The Knights get the nod in goaltending, but San Jose can match or better Vegas in the other categories and have home ice advantage. They also have Martin Jones in goal, which is a bit of concern but he has typically played better in the playoffs than during the regular season in his career so far.
Toronto +120 vs. Boston: Yes, I know the Bruins own the Maple Leafs and Boston is built for the playoffs and all that, but can’t pass up a team with the firepower of the Leafs as an underdog, so will grab the +120 in this spot. The Bruins are tough at home, but Andersen was 18-12 away from home and Toronto is a better road team than Boston, which is important as the Leafs are going to have to win at least one on the road. Neither team really put forth a whole lot of effort down the stretch, with playoff spots essentially locked up, but think Babcock will get the job done.
St. Louis at Winnipeg: The Jets are -120 at 5Dimes and the total is 5.5-under (-115) in this one in which I’ll grab the better team down the stretch in St. Louis at even money. Binnington likely didn’t play enough to get himself into the Calder mix, especially with the start to the season Vancouver’s Petersson had, but in the games he did play, the Blues were 24-6 and a solid 10-4 on the road, where the Jets are especially tough. Hellebuyck was 19-14 at home, while Brossoit was 6-2, but won’t see any time unless Hellebuyck struggles early, so St. Louis should be able to garner a split in these two games, so will begin with a .75-unit play on the road team.
END OF APRIL 10 PICKS
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