There are a lot of trends out there that aren’t worth a hill of beans when it comes to sports betting. The biggie involving Pittsburgh Penguins isn’t one of those.
The Pens are on a streak where they’ve won 15 straight games following a loss. And they lost last game.
It’s a streak that dates back to mid-January which is practically like going a few seasons in any other sport without losing two in a row. It says the Penguins are playing their best hockey of the season in the latter part of it, which is the plan every NHL team draws up when September training camps begin.
They’re second in the playoffs behind only the Sharks with 3.17 goals per game and they’re power play is scoring at a 27 percent clip. The Pens have also shown some impressive depth in the postseason with 11 multiple-goal scorers and the same number with at least five points.
More than all of that though, I think the odds are giving us a big clue here. The Pens are as high as -222 favorites for Game 2 as of Monday morning. That’s a massive line. The Pens haven’t been favored at more than -180 in all of the playoffs and now that they’re in the Eastern Conference finals, they’re blowing that number out of the water.
It doesn’t seem to make much sense on paper. To me it means both oddsmakers and big-money bettors are taking this streak pretty seriously.
The last time the Pens were favored by this much was against the awful Buffalo Sabres back on March 29 (-225). That game was at home and Matt Murray was starting in nets as an inexperienced backup at a time when No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was still available.
So the odds are treating a Lightning club playing in its second straight Eastern Conference finals like a dogmeat regular season Sabres club. That says something.
And I think that’s a big hint in this spot that sportsbooks are pretty worried about the Penguins winning tonight and would strongly prefer you put your money on the Lightning.
So does that mean you should eat the chalk and take the Pens? That’s up to you. But I would say that if you like the Pens but not the hefty price tag, it’s not one of those times you want to take the other side simply because you see “value”. There’s no value in losing and I think this series heads back to Tampa Bay tied up.
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