Tonight the puck drops on the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first series to start (despite the North Division still playing regular season games for another few days) is the #2 seed Washington Capitals vs. the #3 seed Boston Bruins out of the East.
On the regular season, these teams are tied with four wins each. Three of the four Caps wins were decided by just a goal (one in overtime and one in a shootout) including their final game of the season where the Caps won 2-1 with less than two seconds left in regulation. That game showed me more against the Caps than for them though as the Bruins had 3/4 of today’s lineup resting.
The Bruins have appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals three times in the last decade, winning the Cup in 2011 over the Canucks, losing in 2013 to the Blackhawks and losing two years ago in Game 7 to the Blues. The Caps have only one Cup appearance in that span where they finally got over the hump and became Stanley Cup Champions in 2018 over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Although being shaky to start the season, the Bruins caught fire after the trade deadline when they acquired Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres. After that, they went on a 12-5 run. The Caps have been good too in that time frame going 9-5.
The biggest storyline of this series is Big Z, Zdeno Chara making his revenge against his former Bruins now in a Caps jersey. That should be fun to watch along with two of the biggest villains in hockey of Brad Marchand vs. Tom Wilson.
On the season, the Capitals have averaged higher scoring than the B’s have with 3.36 GF vs. 2.93 although the Bruins have generated more shots averaging 3.33 SF vs. 2.88. On the defensive end of the ice, the Bruins are better all around with a lower goals against (2.39 vs. 2.88) along with allowing one less shot on average per game.
I think what this series really comes down to is goaltending. In a seven game series, I don’t see Vanecek and the Caps D being able to shut down the Bruins top line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak along with Taylor Hall.
From earlier this season, I have a +1600 future for a unit on the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup. There’s still a lot of value on the Bruins to win the Cup at +900, which I’ll add for 1.5 units.
The most successful strategy on the playoffs I believe is to bet bigger on the series and then stick with that team. If that goes correctly, you win big on both the series bet as well as the individual bets every game. I’ll take the Bruins to win the series for 4 units and the Bruins to win the East for 2 units. And if the series seems to trend the opposite way, bet against it to hedge out.
In the regular season, these teams have trended over when playing each other, with over 5.5 going 6-2 and over 6 going 4-2-2. I’m not betting the over on Game 1 as I want to see how that game plays out, but will likely look to bet on it later in the series, especially in elimination games.
Let’s go Bruins!
1.5u Stanley Cup Champions: Boston Bruins (+900)
4u Bruins to win series (-155)
2u East Division Champions: Boston Bruins (+180)
1u Game 1: Bruins ML (-125)
.5u Game 1: Bruins -1.5 (+200)