NHL Hockey Betting: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues

NHL Hockey Betting:  San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Only four teams remain in the Canada-less Stanley Cup playoffs and on Sunday the Western Conference Finals will get underway. The St. Louis Blues will host the San Jose Sharks for the right to play for the Stanley Cup against the Eastern Conference Finals victor between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. Both of these teams are coming off of tough seven game conference semifinal series. The Blues needed seven games to eliminate the Dallas Stars while the Sharks were taken to the limit by the pesky Nashville Predators.

The betting lines in the respective conference finals are a strange dichotomy. In this series, the pricing appears to be closer than our numbers suggest it should be. Back East, the Pittsburgh Penguins were a -200 favorite to win their series against the Tampa Bay Lighting before the loss of Ben Bishop to a leg injury in the first period. Without Bishop, the Penguins are a -200 favorite in Game Two after being a -175 chalk in Game One. Obviously, public perception has much to do with this but in this series at least we’ll gladly take a lower than expected price on what I consider the superior team.

San Jose is definitely a quality hockey team. Their struggles to finish off an erratic Nashville Predators team are a concern heading into a series against a team that plays a similar style, only plays it better. St. Louis had a much tougher road to this point but have survived tough challenges from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and the Western Conference regular season champion Dallas Stars. The Blues have shown a dangerous tendency to get careless on defense throughout the first two rounds though they were much better against Dallas than in the opening round against Chicago when it seemed like they were allowing the Hawks 40+ shots on goal every night.

The Sharks have more weapons up front but the Blues have an elite ‘sniper’ in Vladimir Tarasenko and a balanced lineup behind him. They’ve shown the ability to get goals when they need them with a variety of players stepping up. St. Louis is better defensively and has a slight edge in net. They’ll win this game and win this series.


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