NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Preview: Can the Golden Knights Close Out the Sharks?

NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Preview: Can the Golden Knights Close Out the Sharks? article feature image

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67).

  • We have three NHL playoff games on tap for Thursday: Washington Capitals (+112) at Carolina Hurricanes (-122), St. Louis Blues (+110) at Winnipeg Jets (-120), and Vegas Golden Knights (+100) at San Jose Sharks (-110).
  • Michael Leboff details analysis on all three games, along with bets offering value.

Last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action saw the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars even up their respective first-round series and the No. 1 seed Calgary Flames get pushed to the brink by the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flames have been outplayed by the Avs for the entire series, and for the second time in their past three games, they blew a late lead and lost in overtime. Ironically, overtime was the only period in which Calgary won the expected goals (xG) battle against Colorado.

Much like the Blue Jackets’ sweep of the Lightning, the most surprising part of the Calgary-Colorado series isn’t the result, but rather the way it has unfolded. The Avalanche have been the better team by miles and the stats back up that notion:

  • Shot share: Avalanche 55.9%
  • Expected Goals Share:  Avalanche 59.4%
  • Goals Share:  Avalanche 62.5%
  • Scoring Chance Share: Avalanche 58.1%
  • High-Danger Scoring Chance Share: Avalanche 56.3%

Elsewhere, the Dallas Stars jumped the Nashville Predators in the first period, scoring three power-play goals and taking a 4-0 lead into the intermission. It’s hard to take away much from that game given the effect a lopsided score will have on the gameflow, but that series seems to be a coin flip.

And finally, the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-4, on the road to knot that series at two games apiece. The Bruins were opportunistic and took advantage of a few mistakes by the Leafs but the B’s finally got production from their top line.

You could argue that the Leafs are unlucky not to be up in this series given their edge in expected goals and scoring chances, but the fact that the Bruins are still very much alive in this contest has to be concerning for the Leafs.

Here’s what’s on tap for tonight.

All odds courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook and current as of 12 p.m. ET

Vegas Golden Knights (+100) at San Jose Sharks (-110)

10 p.m. ET, NBCSN

There is one elimination game tonight. The Knights are up 3-1 against the Sharks and can put them away with a win at the Shark Tank on Thursday night.

After winning Game 1, San Jose has been unimpressive in its last three games and goaltender Martin Jones has had a negative impact on this series for the Sharks. Jones will be in goal again for Game 5 and that won’t help things, but as much as Jones is part of the problem, the Sharks have been underwhelming as a whole in this series.

The Knights have been a terrific 5-on-5 team all season and they’ve continued that trend in this series, boasting better expected goals and scoring chance rates than the Sharks by a good margin.

Against a team like Vegas, one that does a great job at generating scoring opportunities, the Sharks will need their goalie to be on point. Unfortunately Jones hasn’t been good for quite some time now and I think Vegas has better than a 50% chance of winning this game and I’d suggest betting on them at any number better than -110.

St. Louis Blues (+110) at Winnipeg Jets (-120)

8:30 p.m. ET on USA

The most entertaining series in the Western Conference so far has been the Jets vs. the Blues. After dropping Games 1 and 2 in Winnipeg, the Jets stormed back into this series with a pair of wins in The Gateway City.

Coming into the postseason the Jets were floundering, but they seemed to find their way in this series. Winnipeg is on the positive side of the goal share, xG share, shot share and scoring chance share at 5-on-5. A lot of this may have to do with the presence of Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey in the lineup.

Those two defensemen missed a big chunk of time in the second half of the regular season and that turned the Jets from a decent 5-on-5 team to a poor one. Winnipeg has been a lot better at even strength in this series.

These odds suggest Winnipeg has a 53.4% chance of winning this game and I actually have them at a little higher than that. I’m going to bet Winnipeg at -120 but that would be where I draw the line.

Washington Capitals (+112) at Carolina Hurricanes (-122)

7 p.m. ET on NBCSN

The first game of the night is the one I am most excited to bet on.

The Washington Capitals have a 2-1 series lead over the Hurricanes but were trounced, 5-0, by Carolina in Raleigh on Monday night.

That game was as complete a performance as we’ve seen from any team this postseason, but the story of this series has been that the Canes have been dominating at 5-on-5, owning 63% of the shot share and 64% of the xG share.

That shouldn’t be surprising news to hockey bettors as Carolina was, once again, a 5-on-5 juggernaut this season while Washington was largely mediocre in that department.

The Hurricanes will definitely be without Andrei Svechnikov (concussion protocol) and will likely miss Micheal Ferland (upper-body injury) tonight, but they should still have a big edge territorially against the Capitals.

Whether or not the Hurricanes make good on the chances they should generate is always a risk you take with this team but with home-ice advantage I think the Hurricanes are a good bet at -125 or better, as I think the Hurricanes win this game 55% of the time.

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