NHL Hockey Betting: Stanley Cup Finals Series Preview

NHL Hockey Betting:   Stanley Cup Finals Series Preview

This is a Stanley Cup Finals matchup no one thought we’d see but here it is. Pittsburgh definitely earned their way into the Finals beating Detroit, Washington and Tampa Bay. San Jose didn’t have an easy time of it either going to seven games in the Semifinal Round against Nashville and six games in the Conference Finals against St. Louis. After the Tampa Bay Lightning got *no* respect against Pittsburgh from the linesmakers and betting public in the Eastern Conference Finals it appears that San Jose is. Pittsburgh was a -185 favorite in Game One against the Lightning. They’re just a -150 favorite in Game One and just a -140 favorite to win the series. That’s probably ‘chalkier’ than it should be but at least it’s not in the realm of incredulity.

If hockey were horse racing San Jose would be Preakness winner Exaggerator. They hung around all year long playing solid though often not spectacular hockey. They were a horrible home team during the regular season with a record of 18-20-3. That’s a worse record than the last place team in the Central Division (Winnipeg) and the last place team in the Pacific (Edmonton). The mitigating factor–they had the best road record in hockey which could be huge here. Home ice advantage is overrated in the playoffs but having the confidence that you can go out and win night after night on the road isn’t.

Both teams have excellent goaltenders. By now everyone has heard the Matt Murray story and the 21 year old is a rookie in name only. If you expected the #82 pick in the draft to come in and play like an unholy hybrid of Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy you’re lying. San Jose will start Martin Jones, formerly Jonathan Quick’s backup in Los Angeles. After a couple of years of watching Quick play 60+ games per year Jones came to San Jose and has been a very capable starter.

The teams split a pair of games this year with Pittsburgh winning 12/1/15 at San Jose 5-1 and San Jose winning in Pittsburgh on 11/21/15. There’s a perception that the West is ‘down’ this year but this Sharks’ team has rounded themselves into a tough unit. They’re the value play in the series.