We’re back in action for the first time since Sunday, when we split a pair of plus-money plays for a small profit.
A lot has happened in the Stanley Cup playoffs since. Nashville is a win away from reaching the Western Conference final as a No. 8 seed, while the Oilers can move within a victory of joining them with a win tonight at home against Anaheim. And the Senators are up 2-1 on New York in the Eastern semifinal despite the Rangers’ dominant performance last night.
However, it seems all eyes are on the Washington/Pittsburgh series. They already were because this basically looks like the Stanley Cup Final in the second round, but things got ramped up even more on Monday when Sidney Crosby was concussed by the tag-team combination of Ovechkin and Niskanen.
That’s the matchup we’re betting on 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.
On paper, the Penguins shouldn’t really have much of a chance tonight without Crosby. He’s arguably once again the best player in the world (McDavid might have something to say about that) and Pittsburgh is already without Letang and Murray, two keys in last year’s Cup win. The Pens also lost Conor Sheary to injury in Game 3, further hurting their depth at forward.
But we’ve seen in the past how resilient this Pittsburgh team is, when they’ve won without Crosby or Malkin (and sometimes both). Coach Mike Sullivan doesn’t get anywhere near as much credit as he deserves for being a great motivator, and we loved the resolve with which he spoke at yesterday’s press conference when he announced the Crosby injury. We are convinced that the Penguins will only come back harder and more focused tonight.
Meanwhile, the Capitals are still not the dominant team we saw throughout the regular season. All 5 of their victories in the playoffs have been by one goal, and 4 of them required overtime – including last game, when they blew a 2-0 lead late in the third period to the Crosby-less Penguins. We can’t underestimate the amount of doubt that may still be in the heads of the Washington players, and the pressure is squarely on the Capitals here. If they can’t beat Pittsburgh this year without Crosby, their reputation for choking the playoffs will only get that much stronger.
We considered betting the Pittsburgh moneyline at +115 odds, but wanted a better price. We think the Under 5.5 makes a lot of sense too, but the juice on that got pretty high. But we think there’s very good value in betting the Caps Team Total Under 2.5 (we got +115 odds at Pinnacle) instead.
You’re getting similar odds to a Pittsburgh victory, but you could also win this bet if the Caps win 1-0, 2-0 (which they looked on their way to doing in Game 3) or 2-1. It makes sense that Pittsburgh will want to slow things down and make tonight a tight-checking affair, since they’re without their top scorer and don’t have nearly the offensive talent on the ice tonight that the Caps have. And Washington’s offence is struggling right now, scoring 2 goals or less in regulation time in each of their last 5 games and 7 of 10 dating back before the playoffs began.
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…