Sharks vs. Bruins Betting Odds, Picks: Is San Jose Worth a Look at Long Odds?
Winslow Townson, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron
- The Bruins are -210 favorites at home against the Sharks on Tuesday night.
- The Sharks have struggled to start the year, so is there any reason to buy them tonight?
San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins Betting Odds
- Sharks odds: +170
- Bruins odds: -210
- Over/Under: 6
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
If you look at the standings on this day last season, you’ll notice that only two would-be playoff teams — the Stars and Blues — were under .500 after play on October 28, 2018. There’s not all that much to read into there — especially since St. Louis famously went from last to first to win the Stanley Cup, but it is an interesting checkpoint as 29 of the 31 teams in the NHL have now played at least 10 games.
There have been pleasant surprises like the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, and there have been disappointments like the Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks.
San Jose is an interesting case since its struggles are apparent both on the surface and under the hood. Not only are the Sharks 4-7-1 through their first 12 games, but they have the second-worst expected goals rate (xG%) this season, behind only the New York Rangers (43.2%).
That is a far cry from where San Jose was last season when the Sharks posted the second-best xG% in the NHL over the 82-game season. San Jose did lose some key contributors to free agency, especially Joe Pavelski, but his departure, along with Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist, shouldn’t have caused the Sharks to crash this drastically.
What it did do, though, is change the identity of the Sharks a little bit. Over the past few seasons the Sharks were able to depend on their forward depth to complement their two elite defensemen, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, to lead the team to success.
Without Pavelski, Donskoi and Nyquist the Sharks’ depth has taken a big hit and that could be what is killing San Jose’s start.
Goaltending is also an issue, as Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have both played at a below-average level. Both goaltenders sport a -1.5 Goals Saved Above Average this season, but the team in front of them isn’t making life easy on whomever is patrolling the blue paint.
As a team the Sharks have a .940 expected save percentage (xSV%) at 5-on-5 and a .922 xSV% in all situations. Both of those numbers rank 30th in the NHL and their 2.48 xGA/60 is the third-worst mark in the league.
With a struggling defense and goalies who are underperforming, the onus has fallen on San Jose’s offense to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case as the Sharks are creating an average of 1.89 xG per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, which is the fifth-worst mark in the NHL.
This may sound like a San Jose drag-session, but I’m still optimistic about the Sharks turning things around. They may not be as good as they were over the past three seasons, but I think there’s still a playoff team somewhere in there and the Sharks should benefit from some better “puck luck.”
San Jose’s .960 PDO, which adds a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage at 5-on-5, is below average and should regress towards 100 (NHL average), leading to better results.
The job won’t get easier tonight, as San Jose takes on the 8-1-2 Bruins, fresh off a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Boston has been the league’s most consistent team for a long while now and the B’s seem like they are on their way back towards the top again in 2019-20.
That being said, Boston’s underlying numbers aren’t up to their lofty standards. The Bruins rank 11th in xG% and 16th in high-danger scoring chance percentage,
Last season Boston ranked second in both xGA/60 and HDCA/60 over the 82-game season. In the early part of this season they rank ninth and 20th in those metrics.
The Bruins are thriving in large parts thanks to their stars. David Pastrnak leads the league in goals and points, and he and Brad Marchand boast the best Game Score averages (per Hockey Stat Cards) in the NHL so far.
Pastrnak, Marchand and Patrice Bergeron still make up the best line in the NHL, but the Bruins have yet to really hit their stride, which sounds weird when you’re talking about a team with an 8-1-2 record.
I am a little concerned that the Sharks are playing their fourth game in six nights, but the Bruins are playing their third game in four nights, so that makes me feel a little bit better about this opportunity.
The Bruins are clearly a couple of tiers better than the Sharks, but I think this is a great buy-low, sell-high spot. The listed odds imply that San Jose has a 35.7% chance of winning this game when you remove the vig. I think that’s a little low and I’m banking on San Jose starting to find their game.
The bet: San Jose +165 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]