Home World NHL Stanley Cup Final odds, picks – Chicago Tribune

NHL Stanley Cup Final odds, picks – Chicago Tribune

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It’s not often NHL teams are scheduled for weeklong layoffs, as was the case for both teams in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. Regardless, Game 1 told a unique story.

By no means was it shocking that the Panthers won as -135 favorites, but it was a surprise to see the NHL’s best defensive team need to steal a win on home ice in the fashion it did.

The two teams are back on the ice for Game 2 on Monday night. Will the Panthers take a commanding series lead or will the Oilers find a way to go back to Edmonton even?

Oilers vs. Panthers Game 2 odds

  • Moneyline: Oilers + 120, Panthers -140
  • Puck Line: Oilers +1.5 (-225), Panthers -1.5 (+185)
  • Total: Over 5.5 (-110), Under 5.5 (-110)

Odds via BetMGM

Oilers vs. Panthers Game 2 prediction & pick

The Panthers played one of their worst defensive games of this postseason but were bailed out by arguably the best single-game performance by any goaltender this playoff. Sergei Bobrovsky stole the show, as he finished with a +3.66 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx), which is the highest single-game mark by any goalie this postseason.

Bobrovsky saved all 32 shots fired his way by the visiting Oilers, which included a ton of quality looks. Edmonton led on high-danger chances (18-6), had 14 shots coming from the inner slot and four breakaways. The Oilers had 7:51 of offensive zone possession, which was nearly double the Panthers’ 4:51.

Bobrovsky proved just how dominant he can be in the 2023 postseason, where he finished with a +15.4 GSAx. It wasn’t new information that he was capable of such a performance, but it was the first time these playoffs that he was asked to do so much in one outing.

Sergei Bobrovsky was dominant in goal for the Panthers in Game 1.
Sergei Bobrovsky was dominant in goal for the Panthers in Game 1. (Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Oilers are not a team that will struggle to finish off quality scoring chances very often, and a similar game script would likely go their way the vast majority of the time.

They feature Hart Trophy-winning forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, a 54-goal scorer with tremendous touch at the goal mouth in Zach Hyman, a defender featuring a wildly accurate 100 mph one-timer in Evan Bouchard, as well as a 100-point producer who’s almost an afterthought in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

All of Edmonton’s top skaters had numerous high-danger chances on goal in Game 1. They even generated quite well against Selke Trophy-winner Aleksander Barkov’s line, as well as Gustav Forsling’s defensive pairing.

It was surprising to see Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci reunited to form the Oilers’ second defense pairing in Game 1, given the horrible results they have achieved as a tandem this postseason. At fault on both Panthers’ goals prior to the empty-netter, they were exposed once again.

Based on Monday’s morning skate, Kris Knoblauch is opting to scratch Ceci in favor of Vincent Desharnais for Game 2, which is highly logical and should raise the Oilers’ defensive upside.

Meanwhile the Panthers will feel good knowing they won a game in which they were far from their best. Chances are Florida can clean things up defensively to some extent, particularly in transition where it was not overly sharp relative to its season-long form.

Still, Game 2 feels closer to a coin flip than current odds suggest.

The Oilers lead the league in offensive chance creation this season, and that strength prevailed in Game 1. If Edmonton can find a way to control play at a somewhat comparable rate in Game 2, it will be the far more valuable side at +120.

Pick: Oilers Moneyline (+120, bet365 | Bet to +110)



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