Hurricanes vs. Bruins Odds, Picks & Predictions: Betting Preview for Saturday’s Game 3
Elsa, Getty Images. Pictured: James Reimer.
- The Boston Bruins will meet the Carolina Hurricanes today at 12 p.m. ET (NBC) in a pivotal Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
- With the series tied at 1-1, the Hurricanes are short -105 favorites over the Bruins in Saturday's game.
- Read our full Hurricanes vs. Bruins betting preview, including odds, predictions and a best bet pick.
Game 3: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins Odds
|Bruins Odds||-110 [BET NOW]|
|Hurricanes Odds||-105 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
Things are weird in this series.
After losing Game 1, Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour was fined for criticizing the officiating. Right before Game 2, news broke that David Pastrnak was hurt and may have possibly injured himself celebrating Patrice Bergeron’s game-winning goal in the series opener. And then after Thursday’s Game 2 loss, Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask said these games don’t feel like playoff games. (Update: Tuukka Rask has opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will leave the NHL Bubble. Jaroslav Halak is one of the best No. 2 goalies in the NHL and I’m not downgrading the Bruins at all because of the switch.)
The Bruins are now down to -132 to win the series, and Game 3 is being priced as a virtual coin flip with the B’s at -110 and Carolina at -105 at DraftKings. It’s quite a shift in price from the first two contests.
I already thought Boston was a tad underpriced going into the series. Carolina looked terrific in a three-game sweep of the Rangers in their Qualifying Round series, while the B’s strolled to an 0-3 record in the seeding round. Game 1 looked like your typical buy-low spot on one of the NHL’s strongest teams.
As expected, the market moved towards Boston for Game 2 up until Pastrnak’s injury. The B’s got as high as -145 before Pasta’s “unfit to play” status was made public and the line began to crash, dipping as low as -120 before puck drop.
Boston is now down to -110 for Game 3, suggesting that the Pastrnak-less Bruins (though he isn’t confirmed out for Saturday just yet) are on equal footing with the Hurricanes.
Losing the NHL’s co-leading scorer will certainly ding any team’s chances at winning, but the Bruins are equipped to handle a blow like this.
It’s just one game, but Boston held its own without Pastrnak on Thursday night. The Bruins outshot the Hurricanes 24-20 at 5-on-5, and each team created five high-danger scoring chances. Carolina won the expected goals (xG) battle, 1.4 to 1.09, but overall it was a pretty even game.
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.
Boston’s defensive acumen makes it uniquely equipped to overcome the loss of a key player. The Bruins allowed 1.88 goals and 1.98 xG per hour at 5-on-5 during the regular season, leading the league in both categories.
Carolina’s 5-on-5 numbers were also terrific over the regular season, especially when Dougie Hamilton was in the lineup. The Canes controlled 53.4% of the expected goals with their No. 1 defenseman healthy, but most of that puck possession was powered by a relentless offense that presses the opposition into mistakes.
The Bruins aren’t a team that makes many errors, especially in the defensive zone. Boston also has great puck-movers in Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk, so they are well-equipped to handle Carolina’s puck-hounding style.
I get why most bettors will gravitate towards Carolina in this game. In a matchup between two really good teams, why would you want to back the side that has lost four of five games since the restart, is missing a star player and has a goaltender that told the media he’s not really feeling very playoff-y?
All that hubbub, plus Pastrnak’s injury, has caused the market to overreact. Pasta or no Pasta, I’d still make the Bruins favorites in this game. Not only can they compete with Carolina at 5-on-5, but they have the edge on defense and in goal even with Jaroslav Halak starting, which is more appealing to me in a coin flip. I’d back Boston up to -120.
Pick: Bruins (up to -120).