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Bruins vs. Islanders Betting Odds, Picks: Boston Has Value at Short Price (Jan. 18)

Bruins vs. Islanders Betting Odds, Picks: Boston Has Value at Short Price (Jan. 18) article feature image

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron

  • The Bruins are a short favorite over the Islanders on Monday afternoon after both teams dropped their last games.
  • Boston was projected to be the best team in the East division before the season, and even without David Pastrnak, shouldn't be a pick'em against the Isles.
  • Get Michael Leboff's full breakdown for Bruins vs. Islanders below.

Bruins vs. Islanders Odds

Bruins Odds -110 [BET NOW]
Islanders Odds -105 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time 5 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Boston Bruins and New York Islanders are two teams that play defense-first hockey and rely on structure to give them an opportunity to win. That should set up for a cagey affair on Monday evening.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins went 1-0-1 in their two-game set with the New Jersey Devils. Hockey’s a sport driven by variance, so the Devils hanging with the B’s shouldn’t be a huge shocker, but it was notable that the Bruins have yet to score at 5-on-5. Part of that can be chalked up to Mackenzie Blackwood’s goaltending performance for New Jersey, but Boston didn’t really generate a ton of scoring chances, either.

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As good as the Bruins were in 2019-20, they did struggle to generate scoring chances at 5-on-5. They scored enough thanks to a terrific power play and the league’s best defense, but there’s a chance that Boston’s defensive numbers take a step back without Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara in 2021. That would put more pressure on the offense to post some crooked numbers. Without David Pastrnak, that job becomes a little bit harder.

Stat (5-on-5) 2019-20 Regular Season Rank
Goals per 60 2.56 15th
Goals Against per 60 1.88 1st
Expected Goals per 60 2.22 27th
Expected Goals Against per 60 1.98 1st

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.

Even without Pastrnak, the Bruins are a lot to handle. Their defense looked good against the Devils, allowing just 2.04 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Both goaltenders put in strong performances, too.

It’s fair to ask questions about the Bruins because they had some significant changes in the offseason for the first time in eons, but I still think you should expect them to play closer to the team we saw last season rather than one that struggled to dominate the longshot Devils.

New York Islanders

It’s only been two games but we’ve already seen the best and worst versions of the New York Islanders. In their season-opening win the Isles were smothering, structured and clinical en route to a sweatless 4-0 win. Two days later the Isles were frantic, sloppy and wasteful en route to a 5-0 loss.

As a team, the Islanders can ill-afford mistakes. They rely so heavily on structure and attention to detail that one bad pinch or neutral-zone turnover can cause everything to come undone in an instant. Because of their style and roster makeup, the Isles have a very slim margin for error.

That even includes errors in warm-ups. Prior to their loss on Saturday night, Cal Clutterbuck took a high shot on starting goalie Semyon Varlamov in the pre-game skate. The puck snuck under Varlamov’s mask and injured him, forcing the Isles to hand highly-regarded rookie Ilya Sorokin his first start in weird circumstances. Sorokin never looked comfortable and the team in front of him hung him out to dry. There’s no word yet on Varlamov’s status for Monday.

It was a very weird start to the season for the Isles because the question surrounding this team was whether they’d play like the dominant team we saw in The Bubble or the struggling team we saw in the weeks prior to the hiatus. Incredibly, we’ve seen both versions already.

Stat (5-on-5) Regular Season (68 games) Postseason (22 games)
Goals per 60 2.21 2.34
Goals Against per 60 2.36 1.85
Expected Goals per 60 2.38 2.36
Expected Goals Against per 60 2.39 2.16

In all likelihood this team will settle somewhere in between those two versions, though I am bit more optimistic about the Isles’ ceiling than most.

Bruins-Islanders Pick

It is interesting that bookmakers opened this line as a pick’em since the Bruins were the pre-season favorite in the East Divison and had an Over/Under 10 points higher than the Isles before the puck dropped. The injury to Pastrnak certainly dings the Bruins, but it’s still a bit surprising that this line opened where it did because there are very few people out there who would admit to having the Islanders rated higher than the Bruins.

I think this number opened too low on Boston and would bet them up to -125.

Pick: Bruins -125 or better

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