NHL Playoff Game 3 Betting Odds, Previews: Bruins, Maple Leafs Continue Their War
Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Zdeno Chara, Morgan Rielly
All hell is breaking loose in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Columbus Blue Jackets hold a 3-0 series lead over the record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders, 80-1 longshots at the start of the season, have a 3-0 lead over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Going into the postseason, I published a story about how the NHL Playoffs offer terrific opportunity for bettors who hunt for value, rather than just picking the team they think will win.
The Jackets and Islanders have treated us well this postseason, as bookmakers have underestimated the two underdogs while also shading the lines towards the Lightning and Penguins because casual bettors will bet them. That has created a ton of value on two live underdogs in great form.
According to BetLabs, underdogs are 13-7 (65%, +11.5 units) this postseason and underdogs at +165 or higher are 4-1, returning bettors just north of seven units.
Those numbers will certainly regress — and there probably won’t be many more big underdogs to back from this point forward — but it just goes to show you that the opportunity in hockey is right there for the taking.
All that being said, there are no big underdogs on Monday night. All four games are lined pretty tight and there’s a different feel to these series than the ones that were played last night.
NHL Game 3 Betting Odds
- Boston Bruins (+105) at Toronto Maple Leafs (-115), 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Washington Capitals (+115) at Carolina Hurricanes (-125), 7 p.m. ET on CNBC
- Nashville Predators (+110) at Dallas Stars (-120), 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Calgary Flames (-120) at Colorado Avalanche (+110), 10 p.m. ET on CNBC
The most interesting game on Monday night is between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. Saturday night’s Game 2 turned violent with Boston’s Jake DeBrusk and Toronto’s Nazem Kadri engaging in several altercations. In the end, Kadri lost his cool and will likely be suspended for multiple games for cross-checking DeBrusk in the face.
Kadri’s suspension will ding the Leafs down the middle, with Tyler Ennis drawing into the lineup and William Nylander sliding into the third-line center role between Connor Brown and Patrick Marleau. Toronto’s bottom-six is a sore spot without Kadri, but the Bruins aren’t without issues of their own.
DeBrusk, Torey Krug and Connor Clifton all were banged up in Game 2. DeBrusk and Krug will play tonight, but Clifton will be in the press box with Steven Kampfer taking his spot on the third pair. The B’s will also be without Marcus Johansson, an effective bottom-six forward, for the second game in a row due to illness.
With so many variables, I am passing on this game entirely but there is another game that has my betting attention.
The one game I am investing in tonight is Game 3 between Nashville and Dallas. The Preds and Stars split the first two games in this series, with Nashville taking Game 2 in overtime.
This series has played out pretty much according to script, with the Predators winning the battle at 5-on-5 while Dallas is playing stingy defense and benefiting from great goaltending.
Heatmap courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
Through two games the Predators have owned 57.4% of the shot share and are averaging 2.15 expected goals per 60 while Dallas is producing 1.82 xGF/60 at 5-on-5.
Those numbers indicate that the Preds have been the better team so far and even though Ben Bishop seems locked in, I’m happy to take the team on the plus-side of the odds in what is basically a coin flip.
The bet: Nashville Predators +110