I stayed off betting Game 2 of the Cup Finals, which is never a bad move as the Avs trounced the Lightning 7-0 to take a 2-0 series lead. Tonight the series shifts to Tampa Bay with a must win for the back to back Champs.
Game 3: Lightning vs. Avalanche (8:00)
The Avalanche are just two wins away from winning their first Stanley Cup since 2001 and knocking off the back to back Cup Champion Lightning. After blowing a 3-1 lead in Game 1 that they ultimately ended up winning 4-3 in overtime, the Avs got the no doubter win in Game 2 at home as they completely dominated the Bolts with a 7-0 blowout win. They outshot the Lightning 30-16 and seemingly solved Andrei Vasilevskiy. Last year’s Conn Smythe winner was horrible in goal with a .767 save percentage in Game 2 while despite not facing a whole lot of shots, Darcy Kuemper, who’s been shaky at times this season and in the playoffs, recorded a shutout. I can’t see the Lightning coming back from that game and winning the Cup at this point and I’m thinking their run as Stanley Cup Champions is nearing its end. That’s great for my series bet on the Avs to win the Cup, but I’m thinking it isn’t great for my over 5.5 games prop. Although I do think the Lightning end up getting a win at home either tonight or on Wednesday, I’d expect this series to be over in five games with Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and their Avalanche lifting the Cup at home in Colorado. Currently, not taking into account my series bet on the Avs to win it or any individual game bets, I’d lose 4.5 units if the series goes under 5.5 total games. I’m going to reduce some of that risk today and just focus more on game by game plays. For my hedge I will take the Avalanche to win the series in five or less games for four units. That would mean (again, not taking into account my series bet on the Avs and game by game bets) that as long as the Avs either sweep or win in five games, I’d only lose half a unit on the over 5.5 games prop while if it goes over 5.5 games, I would just lose 2.2 units. I’m fine with taking the smaller loss risked on those with the hedge and I can just play this series game by game. On to Game 3. The reason that I stayed off betting Game 2 was that I thought the Avs were the better team in the series but that the Lightning have bounced back very well after playoff losses over the last three seasons and wanted to see how that game played out and what adjustments Jon Cooper’s squad would make. Going into Game 2, the Bolts were on an 18-1 run after a loss, which is obviously 18-2 now. Tonight’s game is sort of similar to me. I still of course think the Avs are the better team here, but the Lightning have been much better at home during these playoffs than they have been on the road, especially defensively. Andrei Vasilevskiy has a .947 save percentage at home and Tampa’s only allowed six five on five goals in their eight home games in this year’s playoffs while allowing 25 goals in eleven games on the road in these playoffs. A series isn’t in danger until you lose at home. This is a must win game for Tampa at home tonight, otherwise this series is over. No shot any team is coming back from going down 3-0 in a series to the powerhouse of the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll take the back to back champs here for half a unit to keep this series competitive. The play I like better on this game though is the under. The first two games of this series, even though they played out in completely different manners, both had seven total goals. I think in order for Tampa to win this game, they need to control the pace of the game and keep this a low scoring grind since they’re not going to be able to run and gun and score at the high pace that Colorado potentially can. Along with that, Colorado’s been very good in this series at limiting Tampa’s chances. I’ll take the under 6 in this game for a unit.
.5u Lightning ML (-107)
1u Lightning/Avalanche under 6 (-120)
Open Series Bets
3u Avalanche/Lightning over 5.5 games (-150)
2u Avalanche (-165)
4u Avalanche in five games or less (-130)
Record: 920-704-38 (+15.91 units)
Regular Season: 809-605-32 (+19.61 units)
Playoffs: 111-99-6 (-3.7 units)
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