Golden Knights vs. Sharks Series Odds, Betting Preview: Is This Really A Coin Flip?

Golden Knights vs. Sharks Series Odds, Betting Preview: Is This Really A Coin Flip? article feature image

Stan Szeto, USA Today Sports.

  • The Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks have almost the same odds to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
  • Michael Leboff previews the series and analyzes what could be a coin-flip matchup.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks Series Betting Odds

  • Golden Knights odds: -115
  • Sharks odds: -105

The Vegas Golden Knights made it two postseason berths in as many seasons with another impressive campaign in 2018-19. The biggest difference from last season to this one, though, is that fewer people have been paying attention. But make no bones about it, this version of the Knights is just as much of a contender as the Cinderella Knights from a season ago.

After making quick work of the Kings in Round 1 last spring, things presumably won't be as straightforward for Vegas this season, as the San Jose Sharks are a much more formidable opponent than Los Angeles was a year ago.

The odds for this series opened at -110 each way at the Westgate SuperBook, but they have since moved towards Vegas. That could be local sentiment, but I actually think it's the right move. Let's examine why.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks Series Preview

Under the hood, things look great for both teams, and the advanced metrics paint a picture of a coin-flip series.

But there is something that separates these two teams — the goaltending.

Martin Jones has made a habit, ever since joining San Jose from Los Angeles, of putting in mediocre regular seasons and then turning into Patrick Roy in April and May. Last season, Jones posted a -5.25 Goals Saved Above Average in the regular season and then in the playoffs he stopped 93% of the shots he faced. That wasn't the first time he's pulled that stunt, either.

In 40 playoff games with the Sharks, Jones has a .926 raw save percentage. In 285 regular season games that number dips to .911. Goalies are already incredibly fickle and hard to project, but Jones' regular season-playoff splits boggle the mind.

On the other end of the ice will be Marc-Andre Fleury, who is getting some Vezina buzz this season. I don't think the numbers suggest Fleury has been that good, but he's been reliable, which is a lot more than we can say about Jones. According to Corsica Hockey, Fleury is the No. 7 ranked goaltender in the NHL. Jones is ranked 42nd.

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The acquisition of Mark Stone was a huge boost for the Golden Knights.

It should be noted that Fleury has been battling a lower-body injury for the better part of a month. "Flower" did start in the Knights' season finale, though, and looked just fine.

In front of the netminders, things are tight. The Sharks have three of the best defensemen in the league. The Knights have one of the most-potent top-sixes. San Jose has the ability to roll four lines. The Knights can match up with any of them.

In terms of star power, the Sharks have three of the best defensemen in the NHL. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic can each play 30 minutes of great hockey a night, which is a huge deal in what figures to be a grind-it-out series.

Things look promising up front for San Jose, too. The Sharks' top nine may not get that much press outside of the Pacific Division, but this is an incredibly deep group with scoring punch thanks to Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and so on.

The Knights don't have any players in the realm of Karlsson or Burns on defense, but there aren't many teams who can hold a candle to Vegas' forwards. The addition of Mark Stone at the trade deadline turned the Knights' top-six from great to elite and the battle between Vegas' forwards vs. Burns, Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic should be sensational.

There's really so little to pick apart between these two teams, which is why I think the disparity between goalies will loom large.

If "Playoff Martin Jones" shows up, so be it. But I'm willing to pay the -115 on that not being the case and the Knights advancing.

Odds courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook and current as of Sunday evening.

Data courtesy of Corsica, Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

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