NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks

The Pittsburgh Penguins can put the San Jose Sharks on the ‘endangered species list’ when the two teams play on Saturday night in California. Pittsburgh carries a 2-0 lead into this game and San Jose simply must win to avoid going down 3-0. It isn’t completely unprecedented for a NHL team to come back from an 0-3 deficit–it’s been done four times including once in the Stanley Cup Finals–but it’s still exceedingly difficult.

San Jose wasn’t dominated by the Penguins in the first two games. To the contrary, both games were one goal victories including Game Two in overtime. The Penguins outshot the Sharks but otherwise they were pretty much even statistically. The historical data involving NHL finals favors the Sharks here–the home team in Game Three down 0-2 is a 56% winner. That’s clearly ‘baked into the line’ however so no real value taking the Sharks based on this data alone.

No major personnel changes for Game Three. Both goalies have played fairly well so far which means we’ll see Matt Murray between the pipes for Pittsburgh and Martin Jones back in net for San Jose. It’s unsure what it would take to bring about a goalie change for Pittsburgh short of injury. The team clearly has little or no future interest in Marc-Andre Fleury aka the current poster boy for how quickly things can chance in the NHL. Just six or eight weeks ago he was lauded as one of the reasons for the Pittsburgh turnaround and an integral part of their playoff roster. Now he may be on his way out of town according to some reports.

Throughout the playoffs we’ve preached the mantra of value. During the playoffs it’s unwise to handicap the games the same way you would in the regular season. This is especially true at this stage of the postseason and between two teams that have demonstrated themselves to be evenly matched. This is the first time in eleven games that the Penguins have been an underdog. That suggests that this pricing is completely situational based on San Jose’s ‘must win’ situation. And that’s the sign we should go the other way.