Stuckey: My Blues-Bruins Betting Strategy For Game 7 Of the Stanley Cup Final
The Blues and Bruins were two of the league’s best defensive teams in 2018-19. Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports.
Stanley Cup Final Game 7 Betting Odds, Blues vs. Bruins
- Blues odds: +145
- Bruins odds: -165
- Over/Under: 5.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC
>> All odds as of Tuesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets
First, the bad news … there is only one game left in the 2018-19 NHL season. But the good news is that it’s a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 for all of the bacon — the first since the Bruins defeated the Canucks in Vancouver in 2011.
It gets no better. Well, unless this ultimate winner-take-all game goes into overtime. I’m here for it.
So, what does this situation mean from a betting perspective? Well, some of you may already know about my two favorite over/under situations in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And the only time both of those situations can occur simultaneously is in a Game 7.
As I previously wrote about before this series, unders in the Stanley Cup Final have historically had much more success than overs.
And some of the reasons for that success can also be applied to Game 7s. Teams tend to play tighter and more cautious in most sports when the stakes get bigger.
There could also be a fatigue factor — especially in a physical series such as the one we’ve seen between the Bruins and Blues. Also, you generally can’t get to the Stanley Cup Final without a goalie that is either elite or red-hot.
But most importantly, refs generally swallow their whistles with so much at stake — afraid to make an incorrect call or impact the outcome of such an important game.
As a result, we see fewer Game 7 power plays — and the chance of a goal obviously increases when one team has a man advantage. That’s especially true in Boston’s case with its spectacular power play.
And that’s not just anecdotal. Let’s take a look at some actual data.
I pulled penalty data from Hockey Reference for every NHL playoff game over the past 30 seasons. I then split that dataset of more than 2500 postseason games into two subsets (Games 1-6 and Game 7) to isolate the penalty differential. The results are staggering.
The same story holds true for all Stanley Cup Final games. While not as drastic as Game 7s, we have seen about a 20% reduction in penalty minutes in the Stanley Cup Final compared to the rest of the postseason over that same period.
I have data back to 1996 for over/unders. During that span, the under has gone 38-26-13 in 77 Game 7s when the total is 5 or more goals. That’s better than a 59% clip.
That includes the two horrific under losses we saw in the first round in San Jose and Boston. (Sharks-Knights was 2-0 early in the third period and Leafs-Bruins went over with one second left on the second empty-netter.)
And despite a 2-4 record this series (thanks to a brutal Game 6 result), unders have gone 48-30-6 since 2005 in the Stanley Cup Final for an impressive 61.5% clip.
So, how about the sweet spot when we have a Game 7? Well, the sample size isn’t great but the results shouldn’t come as a shock.
In the 16 previous Stanley Cup Final Game 7s, there have been an average of exactly four total goals. All but one of those 16 games had five or fewer goals and only two had five on the dot.
In fact, since 1950, all 13 NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 7s have had five or fewer goals, with an average of 3.8.
The under is obviously 6-0 in this situation since 1995. Yes, there is always the risk of an empty-netter (or two) spoiling the party for under bettors, but that won’t stop me from getting involved in my favorite spot to bet an over/under in the NHL postseason.
Can we just have this game go to overtime tied at one?
When you have the Under in an nhl playoff game that goes to OT at 1-1 pic.twitter.com/LicvjkDPLw
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) April 17, 2019
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, home teams are 12-4 in those 16 previous Stanley Cup Final Game 7s, but the road team did win the past two.