Bruins vs. Capitals Odds & Picks: Game 2’s Betting Value on Over/Under (May 17)

Bruins vs. Capitals Odds & Picks: Game 2’s Betting Value on Over/Under (May 17) article feature image
Credit:

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins and Nick Jensen #3 of the Washington Capitals.

  • Washington looks to steal both games on the road following its overtime win on Saturday in Boston.
  • The Bruins should have scored more goals based off of analytics, but Craig Anderson put up a solid effort in net for the Capitals.
  • Nicholas Martin explains below why he is expecting even more goals to be scored in Game 2.

Bruins vs. Capitals Odds

Bruins Odds -136
Capitals Odds +117
Over/Under 5.5 (+112 / -136)
Time Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Bruins and Capitals will get reacquainted again Monday night after Washington’s 3-2 overtime victory in a very physical and highly entertaining opening contest on Saturday.

Nick Dowd scored the winner 4:41 into overtime, tipping in a T.J Oshie shot to give the Capitals a hard-fought victory.

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Caps Look To Build On Strong Defensive Performance

Washington did a tremendous job defensively in game one, keeping Boston mainly to low-quality shots en route to a win behind third-string goaltender Craig Anderson. Anderson entered the game after Vitek Vanecek was injured attempting to save Jake Debrusk’s goal with 6:50 left in the first period and went on to save 21 of 22 shots faced, becoming Washington’s oldest goalie to record a playoff victory.

The Capitals played with a high level of urgency from the get-go, building on a massive Alex Ovechkin hit on David Krejci early on with an opening tally from Tom Wilson 6:22 into the first.  Washington’s top trio of Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin and Anthony Mantha combined for two points, 12 hits, nine shots and an xGF% of 73.7 in the game.

Washington also did well to manage the scoring chances for Boston’s perfection line in game one, in large par due to a good effort from their checking line comprised of Nick Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and Carl Hagelin. It will be interesting to see if the Caps can continue to control Boston’s dominant trio in similar fashion in Game 2, especially since the Caps hold no true shutdown defence pairing.

Ilya Samsonov was activated from the COVID-protocol list Sunday, but early indications from Washington are that Anderson will draw the start for game two. Vanecek is currently listed as day-to-day.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was also activated from the COVID-protocol list Sunday and is an intriguing, albeit frustrating X-factor for teammates and Capitals fans, often appearing to skate with a lower compete level than necessary for success. The 28-year-old centre was spectacular during the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup run and certainly has the potential to hold a large influence on games when engaged.

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Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Bruins Should Have More Success In Front of Net

Boston began the playoffs in rather lackluster fashion, unable to generate enough legitimate scoring chances to truly test a 39-year-old, third-string goaltender. Coach Bruce Cassidy said after the loss , “I just thought our offensive game was just not where it needed to be tonight,” in what certainly appeared to be a well-warranted remark. But can the Bruins generate more offensively against a Washington team that struggled defensively vs. the stronger teams from the East Division?

The perfection line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak managed positive numbers analytically in Game 1 but ultimately could not create any high-quality scoring chances at five-on-five. But to expect them to turn some of their possession time into better scoring opportunities in Game 2 would be very reasonable, as the line has proven time and again to be consistently dominant in this league.

Taylor Hall skated very well in Game 1, with game highs in both controlled zone exits and zone entries, drawing two Washington penalties in the process.  Boston’s second line of Hall, Craig Smith and David Krejci were not able to put anything up on the scoreboard, but based on their finish to the regular season, they certainly may manage better results in Game 2.

Tuukka Rask has been confirmed for the second contest of the series, but given another iffy start we will likely hear a lot of commentary regarding offering Jeremy Swayman a chance to start, which would certainly be a reasonable option given Swayman’s dominance over a small sample size in the NHL.

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Capitals vs. Bruins Betting Analysis & Pick

Based on the overall nature of Game 1, arguing for an over wager here might seem somewhat odd. But I believe that there is some sound reasoning as to why Game 2 could become a higher-scoring affair, and why a play on the over makes sense. First and foremost a price of +125 is a great number for any game involving the Capitals to go over 5.5 goals this season, playoffs or not.

Washington did a great job of not allowing many tough chances to come Craig Anderson’s way in Game 1, but I think that it is unlikely we see them able to limit Boston’s true scoring opportunities to the same extent in this game, specifically based off of a wider scope of their defensive form.

Anderson’s success was an excellent story, but I certainly think it is unlikely we see similar numbers going forward and that he was mainly just insulated behind a great defensive performance from the Caps. Anderson has displayed poor rebound control and inadequate lateral movement in recent years and has been slotted as the Caps’ third stringer for a reason.

The Capitals managed to create a reasonable amount of chances in Game 1 at five-on-five and obviously are a very consistent group offensively, skating to the league’s fifth-best goals for per game this year in a tough division. Tuukka Rask did not appear to be at his sharpest, specifically on two shots which beat him clean before hitting iron from Eller, and Schultz.

The Capitals only managed to draw a one-man advantage as well, which even by playoff officiating standards is very unlikely to be repeated. A few more looks for Washington’s deadly powerplay could certainly help them build to their game one offensive totals.

For all of these reasons, I think that there is a strong chance we see this game go over the 5.5 total needed, and given the advantageous price I see some value here.

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