NHL Hockey Betting: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues

NHL Hockey Betting:  San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues

All throughout the NHL regular season the San Jose Sharks had a very strange trait–they couldn’t win at home and they seldom lost on the road. San Jose finished with the best road record in the NHL (28-10-3) and a home record (18-20-3) worse than the Winnipeg Jets (last place in the Central) and the Edmonton Oilers (last place in the Pacific and Western Conference). That’s not held to form during the playoffs and the Sharks have now lost four straight games away from home–three to Nashville in their previous series and the opening game of their Western Conference Finals matchup against the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis got (surprise, surprise) great goaltending from Brian Elliott the last time out to take a 2-1 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.

The Blues are starting to look like a legitimate Stanley Cup level team. They still have a very dangerous tendency to play poorly when in control of a series–they’ve gone 1-5 -5.2 units when leading a series this year and 2-7 -6.2 units in that situation over the last three years. Interestingly, this is the first time the Sharks have trailed in a series during this playoff run. Including Game One the Sharks and Blues have played four times this season with each team winning twice. St. Louis won Game One and a 1-0 win at San Jose on 3/22/16 while the Sharks won two games in St. Louis during the month of February.

The ‘eye test’ suggests that the Blues have improved tremendously since those two losses while the Sharks are still at the same level they were. Both teams have solid goaltending though with all due respect to Brent Burns I give the edge to St. Louis on defense. The Sharks have more offensive weapons ‘on paper’ but the Blues have Vladimir Tarasenko and a very unsung supporting cast.

St. Louis’ ugly record when leading a series concerns me but they’re the better team and we’re getting them at a very reasonable chalk price. The pricing in the two series is strange with Pittsburgh way overvalued in their matchup with Tampa Bay but St. Louis likely undervalued here.