Bruins vs. Blue Jackets Game 1 Betting Odds, Preview: Can Columbus Keep Rolling?

Bruins vs. Blue Jackets Game 1 Betting Odds, Preview: Can Columbus Keep Rolling? article feature image

Russell LaBounty, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Artemi Panarin, Charlie McAvoy

  • The Boston Bruins are -155 favorites over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 on Thursday night.
  • Is the market underrating Columbus in Game 1 given its significant rest advantage?

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins

  • Blue Jackets odds: +140
  • Bruins odds: -155
  • Over/Under: 5.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 9 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get live NHL odds and win probabilities on your bets.

The Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets took very different paths to get to this point.

After a consistently terrific regular season, the Bruins defeated their longtime rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in a brutal seven-game series. Boston went down, 3-2, before winning both Games 6 and 7 to advance to Round 2.

The Bruins are the highest seed remaining in the playoffs and the Stanley Cup favorite heading into the second round.

That’s nothing new for the Blue Jackets, though.

After an up-and-down regular season that was overshadowed by some looming personnel decisions, the Blue Jackets went all in at the Trade Deadline and got hot down the stretch, clinching the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

And then, all hell broke loose.

Columbus pulled off one of the most stunning results in Stanley Cup Playoff history, sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning, fresh off a record-setting regular season that saw the Bolts win 62 games.

Sweeping any team in the NHL Playoffs is already a hard thing to accomplish, but to do it in dominating fashion against the best team in a generation is something else entirely.

So now, the Jackets will need to deal with the Bruins, widely regarded as the second-best team in the circuit behind Tampa Bay.

Game 1 Betting Analysis

There’s some interesting stuff to unpack here, but let’s start with the implied probability for Game 1. At the current price, the odds suggest the Bruins have a 59.3% chance of winning Game 1.

Columbus has a significant rest advantage in Game 1. The Blue Jackets haven’t played since April 16 while the Bruins only had a day off in between Game 7 against Toronto on Tuesday night.

It remains to be seen whether the nine-day layoff will end up hurting the Blue Jackets, who have won 11 of their last 12 games overall, but I think most teams would rather be the well-rested team in this spot.

Neither one of these teams plays a particularly exciting brand of hockey — they both rank near the bottom of the NHL in terms of pace — so each game should be a bit of a chess match and each game could very well come down to which goaltender is better on a given night.

Tuukka Rask played a fantastic series against the Maple Leafs, but it’s hard to give the goaltending edge to the Bruins when they are going up against Sergei Bobrovsky. The 30-year-old Russian has been one of the league’s best goaltenders for the last three or four seasons and he played a huge role in defeating Tampa Bay in Round 1.

There are a couple of variables in this game that are hard to account for, but I am comfortable backing the underdog in this game.

The Blue Jackets are a good team with a great goalie AND are well-rested. They may be the second-best team in this series, but given the circumstances surrounding Game 1, I give them better than the 41% chance the market is implying. I’d suggest backing Columbus and would be fine playing them down to +130.

All stats at 5v5 and score + venue adjusted. Data courtesy of Evolving HockeyCorsicaNatural Stat Trick and Sean Tierney.

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