NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Pittsburgh Penguins did what they needed to in the first two games of their Stanley Cup Finals series against the San Jose Sharks. They won both games on home ice to send the series back to California holding a 2-0 lead. Now Game Three is set for Saturday night and it’s quickly become the Sharks’ biggest challenge of the year. If San Jose wins they cut the deficit to 2-1 with Game Four on home ice Monday night. If they lose, they’re down 0-3 and only four NHL teams in history have come back from a three game deficit in a best of seven series.

The urgency for San Jose is clearly reflected in the price. The Sharks are a -140 favorite which is significant as it is the first time in eleven games that the Pittsburgh Penguins have been a betting underdog. Is there a good reason for this? Not really. The Penguins are still the same ‘public’ team we’ve talked about throughout the postseason and particularly in their previous series against Tampa Bay. The only reason that the game is priced the way it is? San Jose’s season is riding on it and it’s ‘Bookmaking 101’ to make bettors pay a premium to take a team in a ‘must win’ situation.

It’s also ‘Handicapping 101’ to bet against a team in a ‘must win’ situation. That’s especially true when everything about the intrinsic quality of these teams suggest that it’s a ‘coin flip’. That was the case throughout the Tampa Bay series and that’s still the case here. We’ve got two evenly matched teams and that means we’re getting value by taking the +130 with Pittsburgh.

So what about the Sharks’ ‘must win’ situation? Doesn’t that matter? Not to us. It matters to the ‘public’ and recreational bettors. It matters to the talking heads in the sports media and the clueless callers to sports talk radio shows. Who doesn’t it matter to? Professional sports bettors. They’re in the business of finding value and betting accordingly. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do here. Find the value and the wins and losses take care of themselves.


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