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Thread: Best Bets For Game 5 Of The Stanley Cup Final

  1. #1 Best Bets For Game 5 Of The Stanley Cup Final 
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    Best bets for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final
    Greg Wyshynski & Ben Arledge
    ESPN INSIDER

    The Washington Capitals poured on the offense in Game 4, rolling to a 6-2 win and taking a 3-1 series lead. The Caps are now just one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup. Will Alex Ovechkin and his team get it done on the road Thursday, or will Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights make a stand and force a Game 6?

    Here are some of the best bets for Game 5 from Greg Wyshynski and Ben Arledge.

    Note: All odds via Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of June 6.



    Washington Capitals (+132) at Vegas Golden Knights (-145)
    Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Las Vegas
    Spread: Golden Knights -1.5
    Over/under: 5.5 total goals

    Wyshynski: What Game 5 wagering comes down to is an eternal struggle between the hockey gods and Lady Luck. The hockey gods appear to be conspiring against the Golden Knights. They've had two different games in this series that saw them hit the post three times. James Neal has hopefully visited an exorcist since Game 4. But there are two ways to look at that: The Golden Knights are due for a miraculous and defiant effort in Game 5, or this whole thing is preordained for the Capitals.

    Put me down in Camp Preordained. I like the Capitals on the money line to win the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, but I'm staying away from the over/under on this one. As Ben notes below, there are some trends that tell you that the under is the safer play here, but Game 1 showed us how wacky these games can get when the energy in the building boils over.

    Prediction: Capitals 4, Golden Knights 2
    Best bet: Capitals +132

    Arledge: Washington hasn't let off the gas pedal since being slightly outdueled in Game 1 and making an adjustment defensively. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, look utterly overmatched for the first time all season. Ovechkin can sniff that Stanley Cup, and even a team from D.C. isn't about to blow a 3-1 series lead in the Final, especially when it is dominating play to this degree.

    That said, I do think Vegas makes one last stand back home at T-Mobile Arena and fights off the Caps for a close win in Game 5. After stopping everything shot his way through the first three rounds, Fleury has been neutralized by a potent Capitals offense to the tune of a disappointing .845 save percentage in the series, but I think he holds his team in this elimination game. And he'll have to, because the defense in front of him ... well, there hasn't been a whole lot of it. To that end, there is definitely value in the exact series price for Capitals in six games at +180.

    Even though I feel Vegas prolongs the season with a win, I don't feel good about backing the Knights on Thursday night from a betting standpoint -- not with the way they've been playing for the past three games. It was good to see a little fight in the third period of Game 4, but I'd prefer to put money on the under for Game 5, rather than backing a side.

    Sure, you might think teams tend to hit the net more when their backs are against the wall, and as Greg pointed out, the energy in the building can spring an offensive onslaught quickly. But in 19 elimination games throughout this postseason, there have been fewer than 5.5 goals 13 times. In the Capitals' four contests when trying to close out a series, there has been an average of 4.75 total goals scored (and that's significantly pumped by a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to nail down the first round). The Golden Knights tend to tighten up at home, allowing 2.35 goals against per game during the regular season and playoffs (fourth in the NHL), as opposed to 2.84 on the road. Braden Holtby and the Caps' defensive unit are locked in right now, and Fleury isn't going to want to lose the Cup at home.

    Prediction: Golden Knights 3, Capitals 1
    Best bets: Under 5.5 total goals (-110)

    Props
    Over 31.5 shots on goal for the Golden Knights (-110)

    Arledge: The Knights' sudden mortality isn't for lack of trying. They've put at least 30 shots on goal in three out of four games this series, including 34 and 39 in the two home contests. Throughout the playoffs, Vegas has taken just 28 shots on goal per game on the road, but at home, that number skyrockets to 35.3. Toss in the fact that this is do-or-die and you will likely see a lot of rubber headed toward the goalie in red, white and blue.

    Jonathan Marchessault scores the first goal (+800)

    Arledge: He's goalless in the Final, but he has a ridiculous 20 shots on goal, seven more than the next highest Knights skater and six more than anyone else in the series on both teams. Vegas will want to strike early, and I think it will be fast and aggressive early on home ice in this situation. The first line will be relied upon to set the tone, and with Marchessault's eight goals in the playoffs and a ton of opportunities thus far in the series, there's value in those 8-1 odds.

    T.J. Oshie gets a point (-130)

    Arledge: Oshie is tied for second in points during the series for either team (six), and he is coming off a three-point Game 4 performance. With that second line humming along, 18-plus minutes of ice time in three of four games and a valuable spot on the wing on the top power play, I expect the American to be an important piece in Washington's offense on Thursday.

    Lars Eller gets a point

    Wyshynski: The Capitals' third line of Eller, Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly was eaten alive in Game 4. It was one of the few things that didn't work in Washington's favor. My focus here is on Eller, who doesn't have a point outside of Game 2, when he moved up the lineup after Evgeny Kuznetsov's injury. But he hasn't gone three games without a point all postseason, and I like him to hit the score sheet on Thursday. He isn't currently available at Westgate, but if you can find this prop at another Las Vegas sportsbook, he's certainly due.
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