Caps-Knights: The Game 5 Market Is A Head-Scratcher

Caps-Knights: The Game 5 Market Is A Head-Scratcher article feature image

Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports

The Washington Capitals are one win away from closing the book on the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ fairy tale.

The Capitals were definitely flattered by the 6-2 scoreline in Game 4, but it’s unfair to argue that the Caps have been the more impressive team to this point in the series.

The Goalies

By Michael Leboff

Regression came for Marc-Andre Fleury in the Stanley Cup Final. After a spectacular run through the Western Conference, Fleury has come up short in the Final and has been severely outplayed by Braden Holtby.

It seemed as if Fleury’s play was a big reason why people were picking Vegas to win this series, but there’s a big difference between saying Fleury’s play is the reason why Vegas is in the Cup Final and Fleury’s play is the reason the Knights will win it. Goaltending is very fickle and hard to project game-to-game, so relying on a goalie to steal you wins is not a formula for success and is a dangerous game to play as a bettor.

The Odds

By Michael Leboff

Throughout the playoffs I’ve written about how narratives can affect the market, and I think that’s what is happening here. At some books the Knights opened at -140 and have since been bet to -150. But let’s look at Pinnacle’s lines since that is the sharpest and most efficient shop on the market. The line for Game 5 opened -135/+122 at Pinnacle but it currently sits at -142/+129.

I want to put these odds into context. Two weeks ago, the Capitals closed as +120 underdogs against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Yes, Vegas is a good team, but nobody would argue that the Knights are better than the Lightning. In fact, before Washington’s win over Tampa on May 23, books released what the lines would be if Tampa played Vegas, and the Lightning would have been -150 favorites to lift Lord Stanley.

What we’re seeing is people betting Vegas because the Knights need to win. Sports fans want to see this story continue and they are putting their money where their mouth is and creating value for Capitals backers. I’d suggest shopping around the market but if you’re getting the Caps at +130 you’re getting great value.

Facts and Figures

By John Ewing and Evan Abrams

Since 2005, the under in the Stanley Cup Finals is 46-25-6 (65%). Game 4 went over as the teams combined to score eight goals. If the previous game went over, the under in the next contest of the Cup Final has gone 17-6-2 (74%).

Can the Golden Knights avoid elimination? The line movement suggests Vegas will live to play another day. The Knights opened -140 and have been bet up to -150. Since 2005, favorites off a loss that see line movement in their direction have gone 178-99 (64%) straight-up. — John Ewing

Since 2015, teams that lost by four goals or more on the road in the playoffs and return to their home ice, are 10-1, winning by 1.3 goals per game. This trend has held true this season, as teams in this spot are 3-0 (including two wins by Vegas) in 2018.

Vegas has scored just five goals over its past three games (all losses) after tallying six in Game 1.  This season (including playoffs), the Golden Knights have had only two such instances. — Evan Abrams