NHL Betting Preview — Stanley Cup Game 1: Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights
In the general scheme of things, when an expansion team in any sport rises to the point where it can win a championship, that is at least ONE of the sports stories of the year. And that is what we have seen unfolding in Las Vegas, where the first-year Vegas Golden Knights have out together a squad that they lovingly call the “Misfits” and gone on a run that places them in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, with the first game scheduled for Monday night at 8″05 PM ET on NBC. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can get reduced juice on this one, and then after the game begins, you can place wagers in real time using the technology provided through Live Betting Ultra.
The Vegas story is somewhat intertwined with the Washington story, because the same man essentially built the core of both teams. George McPhee, who did such a masterful job, as it turns out, making expansion draft picks, trades with other teams on that day, and stockpiling amateur draft picks for the future, was the GM with the Caps for 17 years, and he brought much of the corps of that Washington team aboard. That includes Alex Ovechkin, who is finally playing in the Finals in his 13th season.
Vegas has relied on its speed for much of the year, and in the scheme put together by Gerard Gallant, who has his team putting on tremendous pressure in the forecheck, making it very difficult for the opposition’s defensemen to clear the puck out of the zone. Turnovers often ensue, and that turns into a scoring opportunity. This is a team that was good enough to get through its post-season without a lot of bumps, as they swept Los Angeles, lost only twice to San Jose and once to the Winnipeg Jets.
Washington, which has been criticized in the recent past for falling short when it counted most, showed a lot of heart by coming from behind in all three of its playoff series. And along the way they managed to dethrone the two-time defending Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the NHL betting odds for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, as they are posted at BetAnySports, the Golden Knights are the favorites on their home ice:
Vegas Golden Knights -143
Washington Capitals +123
Knights -1.5 Goals +200
Caps +1.5 Goals -240
Under 5.5 Goals -125
Over 5.5 Goals +105
And the Golden Knights are the -140 favorites to win the series, with the Capitals at +120.
The Vegas goaltender was a part of those two Cup winners in the Steel City, and one before that too. Marc-Andre Fleury was sidelined a bit by injuries during the regular season, playing only 46 games, but that has just made him fresher for the playoffs, where he has been brilliant, stopping almost everything in sight. His goals-against is 1.68, with a save percentage of .947, and it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.
Unless it was the effort put forth by Washington’s Vezina Trophy-winning netminder, Braden Holtby, who found himself encountered with a Tampa Bay Lightning team that had scored more goals than anybody during the season and shut the door on them with everything on the line in the East finals, going the last 159 minutes of the series without allowing a goal.
What Vegas wants to do is take advantage of matchups where they can, but Gallant has been one to match strength- vs. strength. So he really doesn’t mind sending his top line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson (who scored 43 goals this season) and Reilly Smith out there against Washington’s #1 line of Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and the physical Tom Wilson. And if the Caps have injured Nicklas Backstrom available, that will punctuate a depth advantage up front.
Washington has two effective defensive pairs, but they are a little shaky in the third. And that is what Vegas would like to see out there. But they play only about 10-11 minutes a game. We are looking for the goalies to shine again – I mean, why not? – and therefore we are leaning toward going UNDER the total in this first game.
BetAnySports has all kinds of great betting options available to you for the Stanley Cup Finals., including sides, totals, in-game betting and props……….. Live Betting Ultra gives you real-time wagering action to have some fun with, and when it is time to deposit, you can do it using your Visa card, person-to-person transfers (like Western Union) and the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system and NEVER incurs a transaction fee!