Our Stanley Cup Final bet on the Penguins got off to a good start Monday, even though Pittsburgh was badly outplayed.
It was fascinating to see Jake Guentzel score the game winner late in regulation in Game 1. He’d been in a slump over his previous 8 games (0 goals, 3 assists) and there was even talk that he might be a healthy scratch for the series opener. Now he not only leads all playoff goal scorers with 10, he’s also got 4 game winners in the post-season.
If he can score a few more goals in this series (possibly another winner) and the Penguins claim the Cup, the rookie may even work his way into Conn Smythe Trophy conversation. As of yesterday, he paid +2500 to win the playoff MVP award.
On to tonight, where a Penguins victory would give them a 2-0 series lead heading to Nashville for the next 2 games. That would force the Preds to win 4 of the next 5 games to claim the Cup, a feat that only 5 of the 50 teams ever to go down 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final have been able to accomplish.
It’s obviously a huge swing game in the series, and we like the Pens to get the job done again tonight. Good luck if you’re tailing along.
Odds below are at the time we made the pick. Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
The Penguins are priced 20 cents cheaper in this game than they were in Game 1, when they were -160 or higher at game time. That’s probably due to how badly they were outshot in the series opener (26-12, with Pittsburgh not getting a single shot for more than 37 minutes at one point), and also factoring in the perception that Nashville should be the more desperate team tonight because they trail the series.
However, the fact that the Pens played so poorly in Game 1 actually makes us like them that much more tonight. No one on Pittsburgh was fooled by the result on Monday, with coaches and players alike agreeing they need to be much better in Game 2. The Penguins are 3-0 in Game 2s in these playoffs, outscoring their opposition by a combined score of 11-3. It indicates that their coaching staff is making strong adjustments after seeing what their opponent does in Game 1, and we expect Pittsburgh to have a much better answer for the Predators’ defensive style tonight.
Nashville has yet to lose back-to-back games in the playoffs, but some of that was on the back of Pekka Rinne, who was playing over his head in the first 3 rounds. He was much more human in Game 1 after having a week off between the Western final and the start of this series, and we think that could carry into tonight. He wasn’t going to maintain that .941 save percentage forever, and his career numbers against the Penguins shooters aren’t very good either.
Pittsburgh’s dominant record at home this year, the Pens’ subpar performance in Game 1 and the price break we’re getting on the odds all make this one of our favourite bets so far in the playoffs.
Bet this game at 5Dimes
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