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Tue 04/06/2019 - 07:58 EDT

Stanley Cup 2019: Series All Even

Blues Making Music

The St. Louis Blues rose to the occasion and won their first-ever home game in the Stanley Cup Finals to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Ryan O’Reilly scored two goals in a critical game for the Western Conference champions, especially after a miserable loss a few nights earlier. The Boston Bruins thumped the Blues 7-2 in Game 3, but they failed to produce the same effort in a 4-2 loss in Game 4.

“It’s anyone’s game now,” Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist said.

The NHL championship now shifts to Boston for Game 5, and so do the Odds to win the Stanley Cup (betting lines provided by Bovada).

  • Stanley Cup Odds before the start of the best-of-seven series: Boston -160, St. Louis +140
  • Stanley Cup Odds after Boston’s Game 3 victory in St. Louis: Boston -350, St. Louis +275

Bettors can expect the Vegas Odds Stanley Cup to drop back near the original line after the Blues’ spirited victory in Game 4. It’s worth noting that the future odds on the championship will change throughout the series, but your odds are fixed when you make your bet.

Trophy

From Worst to First

It wasn’t that long ago that the Blues had the worst record in the NHL. St. Louis was dead last among the 31 teams on Jan. 3. Today, they are in their first NHL championship in almost 50 years.

So, when it comes to experience, the Bruins definitely have the historical edge.

  • The Bruins last hoisted the cup in 2011. The Original Six team is 6-13 in 19 appearances in the finals, dating back to 1927.
  • The Blues have never won the championship in three tries. Their last shot at hockey glory was in 1970.
  • The two conferences have split the last 10 Stanley Cups, with the East winning the last three.
  • The last final series to go seven games was in 2011 when the Bruins knocked off the Vancouver Canucks.

What the Betting Lines Say

The most common bets for hockey at Las Vegas sports books and top-ranked online sites like Bovada are the money line, puck line and over/under totals.

The money line offers NHL Stanley Cup Odds on both teams. Pick the winner and you win this bet. The puck line is like the point spread in football, except it’s usually fixed where the favorite must win by two or more goals. Over/under totals is a wager where the bettor predicts the total of the final score. Let’s take a look at the records in each betting category this season for both Stanley Cup finalists:

Money line

  • Boston
    Regular season: Record as favorite 39-24, record as underdog 9-10
    Playoffs: Record as favorite 8-4, record as underdog 6-3
  • St. Louis
    Regular season: Record as favorite 29-24, record as underdog 16-13
    Playoffs: Record as favorite 6-6, record as underdog 8-3

Analysis — The Bruins have a better record as favorites on the money line, while the Blues seem to win more often as the underdogs.

Puck line

  • Boston
    Regular season: Record as favorite 25-33, record as underdog 17-7
    Playoffs: Record as favorite 6-6, record as underdog 8-1
  • St. Louis
    Regular season: Record as favorite 15-33, record as underdog 25-9
    Playoffs: Record as favorite 2-10, record as underdog 8-3

Analysis — Both teams have subpar records as favorites, but they often reward their backers as the underdogs. The Bruins suffered their first loss on the puck line as the underdogs in Game 4 after winning eight straight against the spread in the playoffs this year.

Over/under totals

  • Boston
    Regular season: 34-44-4
    Playoffs: 9-12-0
  • St. Louis
    Regular season: 34-44-4
    Playoffs: 12-9-2

Analysis — The under holds a slight edge in the totals bet, but it’s almost a 50-50 proposition for both teams in the playoffs.

Tuukka

Stanley Cup Finals Prediction

This series has featured two heavyweights trading powerful punches. The Bruins rallied to win Game 1 before the Blues surged in overtime to capture Game 2. Boston won Game 3 in a blowout before St. Louis responded with one of their best efforts of the season in Game 4.

Jaden Schwartz leads the Blues in playoff scoring with 12 goals, while O’Reilly is the team leader with 13 assists. The Blues are 7-2 and have scored a league-high 31 goals in nine road games during the playoffs.

Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with nine goals, followed by Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle, who have added eight each. Boston is 6-4 at home this season during the playoffs, including two losses in overtime.

One of the most lopsided stats of the postseason is power-play efficiency. The Bruins have connected on 23-of-67 power plays (34.4 per cent), while the Blues have hit the mark on just 13-of-76 opportunities (17.1 per cent). The Blues will need to stay out of the penalty box and win at least one more game on the road this season to capture their first ever Stanley Cup title.

Pick — Boston (-350). The Bruins’ core unit is in its third championship since 2011, while the Blues only have two players that have ever been to the finals. Boston is a city of champions, spoiling their New England fan base with recent titles in football (Patriots) and baseball (Red Sox). They can add hockey to that prestigious list.

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