Stanley Cup Final Best Bets: Odds, Expert Picks for Golden Knights vs Panthers Game 3 (Thursday, June 8)
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- The Florida Panthers return home for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights.
- Although our Game 3 best bets largely favor the Panthers, our experts expect a close game tonight.
- Below, check out their best bets for Knights vs Panthers Game 3 and all of their analysis.
The NHL championship series continues tonight (8 p.m. ET, TNT) with Vegas owning a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. However, the series now heads to Florida with the Panthers on home ice tonight.
Below, check out our hockey crew's top picks, including a first-period play, a bet on the three-way line, and a pair of player prop bets.
Panthers 1st-Period Puck Line (+180)
Ryan Dadoun: The Florida Panthers got embarrassed in Game 2 and now find themselves down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The silver lining is that those first two contests were in Vegas, so now Florida is back home with an opportunity to stabilize the situation.
Florida isn’t a team that’s likely to fall apart when faced with adversity. The Panthers are comfortable in the underdog role. That’s how they entered the playoffs. They’re fine playing from behind in a series, too, as they demonstrated in the first round when they battled back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Boston Bruins.
We’ll see how Game 3 as a whole goes, but I’m expecting the Panthers will use what happened Monday as motivation to come out strong in the first period.
I think the odds are good that Florida is able to establish an initial lead thanks to those efforts, and given that, I like the fairly high potential payout from this bet.
60-Minute Tie (+350)
Greg Liodice: The Florida Panthers have been in this position before. Albeit, it’s been a few rounds since their backs were against the wall, but they’ve had the hardest road to the Stanley Cup Finals of all playoff teams. They’ve shown that they can push back when things get tough, and I’d argue that the extra day off is a big advantage for the Cats.
In my game guide for Game 3, I suggested that this game could go into overtime. With Florida pushing back, I don’t expect the Vegas Golden Knights to go down without a fight. Adin Hill has played out of his mind and has shut down any potential chances the Panthers have thrown his way.
Florida has had a decent series at even strength. The power play has been invisible, though, because Vegas has done a wonderful job staying out of the box. The Knights’ penalty kill is pretty terrible, so if the Panthers are able to get a few power plays, I can’t imagine a world where they don’t score one.
With that, the Knights have done a wonderful job at limiting Sergei Bobrovsky's line of sight, and they have gotten a ton of high-end chances. There's a chink in Bobrovsky's armor, and Vegas is taking full advantage of it.
It’ll be a close battle in Sunrise, and I think we’ll see our first overtime game in these Finals.
Matthew Tkachuk Over 0.5 Power-Play Points (+102)
Nicholas Martin: If Florida is to get back into this series with a win tonight, it will likely come by winning the special teams battle.
The Knights' penalty kill has succeeded only 67.9% of the time this postseason, and it has been the team's main concern in an otherwise dominant run.
It's been a quiet start to the series for Matthew Tkachuk, who has put up just one meaningless goal in the opening two matchups. He has been an impact player all postseason long, however, and it does seem logical to count on him bouncing back with a better showing on home ice.
The Panthers will likely end up with a better share of the man-advantage opportunities tonight than we have seen thus far in this series. Tkachuk is on both units, and he will play about 95% of each of those opportunities in this near do-or-die game.
I'm keen to target Tkachuk tonight, and I believe looking for him to do damage on the power play at +102 is the best option.
Jonathan Marchessault Anytime Goalscorer (+190)
Tony Sartori: In the words of the late, great Herb Brooks:
Following a quiet opening series against the Winnipeg Jets, Marchessault has exploded over the past three rounds. After he buried 12 goals over the past 12 games, we are going to back Marchessault to keep the hot hand going in Game 3.
This postseason, he leads the Knights in expected goals per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at five-on-five. The Barbeshev-Eichel-Marchessault line has been – by far – the most dominating line for Vegas during the playoffs, with all due respect to the fourth line (Carrier-Roy-Kolesar) that has played extremely well in its own right.
That aforementioned first line has generated an xGoals% of 56.7% this postseason, producing an excellent 3.38 xGF/60.
By far, the biggest concern in backing Marchessault to score is Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who put together a tremendous string of performances in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, he's finally come back down to earth in this series, allowing eight goals on 46 shots for a fade-worthy .826 SV% through the first two games.
This decrease in production should not be all that surprising, given that he is dealing with a below-average blue line in front of him, and both his surface-level stats and underlying metrics prior to the Cup Final were unsustainable. While Bobrovsky could still bounce back in Game 3, +190 is too good a price to pass up on Marchessault to score once again.