Tuesday NHL Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Islanders vs. Capitals Preview for Game 4 (Aug. 18)

Credit:

Elsa, Getty Images. Pictured: Barry Trotz.

Game 4: New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals Odds

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Capitals Odds +102 [BET NOW]
Islanders Odds -120 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5 (-137/+114) [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


According to the odds, the best-of-7 series between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals was supposed to be razor tight. It’s been anything but that through three games.

Not only have the Islanders won the first three games of the series, but they’ve done so in convincing fashion.

Losing Nicklas Backstrom in Game 1 exposed Washington’s lack of depth, and the Caps have been left searching for answers since its smooth-skating second-line center was injured.

The Islanders are quite the opposite: deep down the middle and without any real weaknesses. Barry Trotz has been able to roll all four lines throughout the entire series, and Washington just can’t keep up. Every time it looks like the Caps are about to get their footing, the Islanders beat them back.

Remarkably, the Islanders have held Washington to only two total goals and 1.08 expected goals per game at 5-on-5. The Isles have created 35 high-danger scoring chances; the Caps have just 16. It’s been clinical.

Washington Capitals New York Islanders
Goals 2 8
Expected Goals 3.24 6.16
Shot Attempts 112 140
High-danger scoring chances 16 35

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 cited from Evolving Hockey.


The Capitals’ price has understandably plummeted over the course of this series. Washington looks like a dead team walking, and oddsmakers have taken notice. The Islanders have flipped to the favorite for Game 4.

The market adjustment presents an interesting quandary for bettors: Do you close your eyes and take the discount on the struggling Capitals? Or, should you pay the good-form tax on the impressive Isles?

Washington Capitals New York Islanders
Game 1 -136 +118
Game 2 -125 +108
Game 3 -109 -106
Game 4 -104 -113

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At the current number, it’s Islanders or nothing for me. You’re definitely buying high on the Isles, but the price is still cheap enough that you only need them to win more than 51% of the time to start seeing value for Game 4.

There are times when the situation calls for betting teams mired in a funk. I do it quite often, actually. But those teams are usually offered at bigger prices than -104.

When the odds suggest a game is a coin flip, I like to back the more stable team. Right now, that’s the defense-first Islanders.

I like New York at -115 or better for Game 4.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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