Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Betting Analysis
By Angelo Montilla
History won’t be on Alexander Ovechkin’s side as the Washington Capitals prepare to face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinal, which kicks off Thursday night with Game 1 going at the Verizon Center.
Having lost two playoff appearances to the Penguins, including last year’s second-round tilt, Ovechkin and the Capitals are looking for redemption as the -145 favorites in the best-of-seven series. Ovechkin has never led the Caps past the second round of a playoff series and it the club fails once again, sweeping changes may be in order throughout the organization.
The Penguins — defending Stanley Cup champions — enter the series as appealing +125 underdogs. However, you could say the odds are also stacked up against the Pittsburgh as well, considering no team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998.
The Pens made things look rather easy in the opening round, needing just five games to dispose the Columbus Blue Jackets. In that span, Pittsburgh’s offense exploded for 21 goals, which leads the NHL in the post-season.
Evgeni Malkin stole the spotlight as he leads all players in scoring with nine points in five games. Now’s the time to put your money on Malkin as Bovada has set his projected point total at 7 with an over/under payout of -115. The Capitals’ defense hasn’t exactly been solid as a rock and neither has goaltender Braden Holtby, so expect Malkin to go over that mark.
The Capitals’ offense was held at bay against the young Maple Leafs in the first round with Ovechkin scoring three goals in six games. While those are decent numbers, it won’t be enough to cover Bovada’s projected point total of 5.5 for the Great 8.
Think you can predict the amount of games it will take to determine a winner in this series? If history is any indication, we can expect it to go the distance, as both clubs match up evenly from the net out.
Regardless if the Pens or Caps win in seven games, Bovada is offering a +450 line. There is the possibility of this series ending in six and if that is the case, put your money on the Penguins, who would be playing on home ice — where the club lost just six times during the regular season.
No matter which way you look at it, there will be no avoiding the focus, which will be solely on the matchup between Crosby and Ovechkin. Sid the Kid already has two Cup rings to his name while Ovechkin will finally try to capture his first title.
It will be the Pens that break through once again, leaving Ovie and company searching for answers once again. Take the Pens in six.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins (+125)
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