The 2016 Stanley Cup final begins tonight, and it looks like a fantastic matchup.
On one hand, you’ve got the Penguins with their star power of Crosby and Malkin and their Stanley Cup rings from 2009. On the other, you’ve got the Sharks, a team that has been so good for so long but has finally broken through to reach its first Stanley Cup final.
San Jose easily defeated the Kings in 5 games in the first round, then needed 7 games to get past the Predators before downing the Blues in 6 games. Pittsburgh made quick work of the Rangers in the opening round, eliminated the regular-season champion Capitals in 6 games and then rallied from a 3-2 series deficit to beat the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals.
There’s a lot to like about both teams. And we’re actually fans of both teams, which makes it difficult to pick a winner and a loser in this series. From a betting perspective, however, we see this series as being very even. The odds suggest that Pittsburgh has roughly a 58% chance to win this series and we don’t agree with that, so we’re going with the Sharks to hoist the Stanley Cup within the next couple of weeks.
We’re going to sit out Game 1 from a betting perspective, but we’re obviously pulling for the Sharks to get our series pick off to a good start.
By the way, there’s way more to bet on in the Stanley Cup final than the series or even the individual games. We’ve added updated Conn Smythe Trophy odds to our Stanley Cup odds page. Joe Pavelski and Phil Kessel are the frontrunners to win the playoff MVP trophy, but there are a lot of other potential winners that pay 8:1 odds or better.
Quick note about those Conn Smythe Trophy odds: there’s a huge variety in odds, depending on which sportsbook you’re using. For example, Martin Jones was paying around 8:1 at three sportsbooks we checked, but 14:1 at BetOnline. Letang was paying 14:1 at several sportsbooks, but 20:1 at William Hill and BetOnline.
It’s a good reminder to make sure you shop around at different sportsbooks to get the best odds for whatever bet you’re making.
Good luck with whatever you bet in the 2016 Stanley Cup final. And above all, enjoy the games! We’re expecting this will be a great series.
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.
We’ve heard talk about how the Sharks are just happy to be here, but we’re not convinced. It’s been such a long road for guys like Thornton and Marleau, we don’t see how they’d be satisfied with anything less than a Stanley Cup championship.
San Jose had the best road record in the NHL this year and they’ve also recently turned things around on home ice, going 7-2 at The Tank in the playoffs and outscoring their opponents 21-9 in their last 5 games at home. Even though Pittsburgh has home ice advantage in the final, we give the Sharks a better chance of winning road games in this series than we do the Penguins.
The Penguins have been rolling for months, but there have been a few chinks in the Penguins armour recently. Matt Murray had some struggles last round and even got benched for one game for Marc-Andre Fleury, who hadn’t played in weeks. The Pens blew a late lead in Game 5 against Tampa and lost in OT, one of Pittsburgh’s two losses on home ice in the East final.
Both teams are playing well defensively right now, but the Sharks have been more consistent. They’ve allowed 30+ shots just once in their last 9 games, while the Penguins have done it 3 times in their last 8. The Sharks have allowed 1 goal or less in 4 of their last 9, and Pittsburgh has done that just once in its last 10.
Again, it’s easy to make an argument for both teams. When that’s the case, the value usually lies with the underdog, and that’s who we’re grabbing.
Bet this game at Pinnacle – The best NHL odds online!
Sign up below to get our daily NHL tips sent to your email the minute we post. That way, you will always get the best odds on each game…