Blues vs. Bruins Betting Odds, Preview: Will St. Louis Steal Stanley Cup Final Game 1?
Joe Puetz, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jaden Schwartz, Patrice Bergeron
- The Boston Bruins are -150 favorites against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
- Michael Leboff breaks down the odds and analyzes if the market is underrating the Blues on the road.
St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Betting Odds
- Blues odds: +135
- Bruins odds: -150
- Over/Under: 5 (over -130)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: NBCSN
>> All odds as of 10 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets
The betting market for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final should be fascinating. Not only is it the biggest game of the season, but there is very little competition on Monday night as the NBA is off until Thursday.
We can expect an influx of new NHL bettors to get down on Game 1. As of Sunday evening, we’ve tracked 3,500 tickets for this game and 64% of the bets are on Boston.
Even though most of the bets are on the Bruins, the line has moved towards the Blues. After opening around +145/150, the Blues have shortened to +135 at plenty of sportsbooks.
There isn’t really anything to gather from that and you shouldn’t just blindly follow the steam, but it is interesting data point for what should be the biggest betting handle of the NHL season to date.
Stanley Cup Final Injury Notes
The Boston Bruins have a couple of big names on their injury report but none are expected to miss Game 1. The same can’t be said of fourth-line banger Chris Wagner, who will likely miss the entire series. Wagner plays a limited role for Boston, so he won’t be a huge loss.
The only Blues player who could miss out is underrated defenseman Vince Dunn. The 22-year-old rearguard is nursing an upper-body injury but skated with the team and traveled to Boston ahead of Game 1. Dunn may not be a household name, but he’s been terrific on the third pair for St. Louis this season and also contributes on the second power play unit.
Stats to Know
This series features two of the best defensive teams in the NHL. The Bruins and Blues finished second and third, respectively, in expected goals (xG) allowed per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in the regular season. The two clubs also ranked in the top five in shot attempts and goals allowed per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
The Bruins have carried their strong defensive play into the postseason, allowing 2.05 xGA and 1.62 goals against per 60 in the tournament.
The Blues’ overall numbers have taken a dip since the postseason started. They were a 54% expected goals team in the regular season but are operating at 49.7% in the playoffs, but their defensive game has still been solid and they have been pretty hot offensively, leading the NHL in shooting percentage and goals per 60 in the playoffs.
Boston’s 5-on-5 offense has been good over the postseason, but with the way its defense and goaltender has been playing, there’s nothing wrong with their decent 2.31 xGF/60 and 2.27 goals for per 60.
Outside of goaltending, the most impressive part of the Bruins’ game this spring has been on special teams. Boston’s power play is operating at an outstanding 34% and its penalty kill is clicking at 86.3%.
In goal, the edge seems to lie with the Bruins. Tuukka Rask has been outrageously good this postseason and is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.
The Finnish netminder boasts a .942 overall save percentage in 17 games this postseason. That number is already impressive, but a deeper look makes Rask sparkle even more. The Bruins have allowed 23 goals at 5-on-5 this postseason but should have allowed 30, according to their expected goals. That tells you that Rask has been worth roughly seven goals to Boston in the tournament.
Perhaps the most impressive stat in Rask’s postseason portfolio is his .879 inner slot save percentage (per The Point Hockey). The inner slot is the most dangerous area on the ice and Rask has found a way to shut teams down even on their best scoring chances.
On the other end of the ice, Jordan Binnington has been solid in net for the Blues. There’s been plenty of deserved buzz around Binnington — he’s a great story — but his level of play has not been close to Rask’s this spring. The 25-year-old rookie has given the Blues what they needed, for the most part.
Bruins vs. Blues Betting Analysis
According to the Action Network’s consensus odds, the Bruins are -150 favorites with the Blues coming back as +135 underdogs. At those odds, Boston has an implied probability of 58.5% (without accounting for the vig).
I don’t think this number is too far off, but there’s reason to be optimistic about taking a shot on the Blues in this game.
There’s no getting around how well Rask has played in the postseason, but it’s hard to say that’s how he will play in this series. Goaltending is incredibly volatile and the Bruins have been off for 11 days, so if you’re going to take a chance on Rask having an off night, now would be the time.
That same logic can be applied to the rest of the Bruins, as well. Boston has looked like a world-beater for a lot of the postseason, but who knows how this layoff will affect the team. This is probably as good a time as any to take them on at a good price.
The market seems to have settled on the current number, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bruins taking most of the action as the game gets closer. I’m going to wait it out and see if I can get the Blues at closer to +140, but I’d be comfortable playing St. Louis at any number above +130.