NHL playoffs: Series outlooks ahead of Wednesday's Game 5s

May 10, 2022 07:51 PM
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The Colorado Avalanche swept the Nashville Predators, but every other Stanley Cup playoffs series is still going, and three will resume on Wednesday. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Pittsburgh Penguins (-650) vs. New York Rangers ( 475)

Pittsburgh never scored more than two goals in a single game against Igor Shesterkin during the regular season, but the likely Vezina Trophy winner has allowed 16 goals in four games in this series. The Rangers haven’t played well in front of him, though, so not all the blame should be placed on the goaltender. New York had a glorious opportunity to capitalize on the fact that Louis Domingue is the Penguins’ starting goaltender, but they’ve been outplayed badly by Pittsburgh, and I think I was right to be so skeptical of this team heading into the playoffs. If Shesterkin isn’t able to figure things out in Game 5, the Rangers' hopes of bringing the Stanley Cup back to New York will be lost, but given that the Penguins are still missing forward Rickard Rakell and defenseman Brian Dumoulin, the door is still open for the Rangers to win on Wednesday, and they’re favored to do so. However, according to my model, the Penguins have an 85 percent chance of winning the series, and that means the series odds should be around -570 in favor of Pittsburgh heading into Game 5. 

Washington Capitals ( 235) vs. Florida Panthers (-300)

The Capitals had a great chance to go up 3-1 in this series, but they coughed up a lead late in Game 4 and ended up losing in overtime. It was an unfortunate result for those of us holding tickets on the Capitals to win the series at 3-1, but I have no complaints about how the Capitals have played. The Panthers haven’t looked like the same team in the playoffs, which explains a lot about how Washington has been able to defend. Things were a little more tilted toward the Panthers in Game 4, but they were trailing, and their backs were against the wall given that they were facing a possible 3-1 series deficit, so that’s not really a surprise. Washington was simply trying to hold on, which is all a team can hope to do when Florida ramps up its attack the way it did. According to my model, the Panthers have a 67.5 percent chance of winning the series, as it’s now a best-of-three and they do have home-ice advantage. That converts to fair series price of around -210, but while there is value on the Capitals to win the series at 235, I’m not going to recommend a bet that I am not making myself. I have built up a lot of positive expected value in this series, and while I might decide to back the Capitals on a game-by-game basis, I’m not interested in adding any more bets on them to win the series. My stance might change if they go down 3-2 in the series.

Dallas Stars ( 210) vs. Calgary Flames (-260)

Both goaltenders have been phenomenal in the series, especially Jake Oettinger. Jacob Markstrom hasn’t faced nearly as many shots as Oettinger through the first four games, and the Flames seem to have figured out how to penetrate the Stars’ defensive structure. Dallas had done a great job of boxing out the Flames and preventing them from generating as many high-quality scoring chances as they should have given how much the puck has been in their possession. But in Game 4, the Flames generated seven expected goals and scored four. Calgary dominated the Stars in terms of quantity, too, owning approximately 65 percent of the shot attempts. Oettinger still scares me a bit, but it sure seems like the Flames are in the driver’s seat in what is now a best-of-three series. My model estimates that Calgary will win the series about 76 percent of the time, which means the series odds should be around -320 in favor of the Flames. I’m holding a ticket on the Flames to cover the series spread (-1.5) and I haven’t made any bets on the Flames to win the series at the adjusted price, but I will be interested in betting them on a game-to-game basis, especially when the series returns to Dallas.

 

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