NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks: Our 3 Best Bets for New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Including Plays on Igor Shesterkin, Game 4 Over/Under (June 7)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin.
NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down his three favorite plays ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals showdown between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Series Total Games — Over 6.5 (+118)
With the way this series has played out in the opening three contests, I feel we have some strong reasoning as to why this Eastern Conference final can reach a seventh and decisive game. And I think this is a prop that holds an edge.
Tampa clearly played it’s best game of the series in Game 3, so I will be quite surprised if the team does not find a way to win one of the next two games and send this thing back to Florida for a Game 6 in some way or another.
That said, Igor Shesterkin was brilliant again and the Rangers hung around in a very close game before falling with 40 seconds left in Game 3. I think it’s still highly unlikely New York drop three consecutive games with how it is playing, I believe the most likely result is we head back to Tampa for Game 6 at 3-2 New York for a game in which the Florida club should be close to -160 odds.
This prop is well into plus money, because of the fact the Rangers winning in five games is another possible outcome. Yet, I think we can safely rule that out and easily have the 49% chance needed to make this a profitable wager.
Igor Shesterkin — Over 32.5 Saves (-120)
Shesterkin has cashed his saves prop in nine of 17 games in the postseason, which is far from surprising considering the Rangers have allowed 36.6 shots per 60 minutes this postseason.
New York has allowed 39.05 shots against per 60 minutes in the three games, and we saw Tampa Bay manage 52 of them on goal in a considerably better effort in Game 3 at Amalie Arena.
I expect the Rangers to be better here, but still believe it’s likely the Lightning getting in the 37- to 40-shot range, which likely comfortably cashes this bet.
Total Under 5.5 Goals (-130)
Heading into this series, I was confident in my belief that backing under 5.5 goals would be a profitable play and that we could likely see totals of five goals in the latter stages of the series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s early struggles were led mainly by the fact his team had allowed far more odd-man rushes and complete defensive breakdowns than we have seen in either of the previous two postseasons.
So, it was far from surprising to see that when Tampa Bay cleaned up its defensive play in Game 3, Vasilevskiy managed a great start and New York managed just two power-play goals.
My expectation is Tampa Bay will manage the puck more effectively again, thus allowing Vasilevskiy a strong chance to keep New York to another lower offensive output.
The Rangers have done well to limit the Lightning to the kinds of chances Shesterkin can handle so far in this series, even if they certainly stretched the limits of that notion quite far in the third game.
That said, I believe we’ll see the Rangers continue to do well collapsing in the defensive zone, as they look to prevent the sort of breakdowns which can actually lead to a goal on Shesterkin.
It’s easy to see how these teams should sharpen up moving forward, so I believe at -130 odds we have plenty of betting value.
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