NHL Betting Guide: 9/4/20
Saddle up, folks! We have two(!!) Game 7s today. With both of them Western Conference matchups -- games start at 4 pm ET, and there's no time to waste.
Here's what we're looking at!
Under 6.5 (-125): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
We've seen a reversal of fortunes for the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars offenses. After scoring 19 goals in the first four games, the Stars managed just four in the next two. The exact opposite was true for Colorado, who managed 5 goals in the first two games and 20 over the last four.
Both teams have inflated shooting percentages this series and are above regular-season averages throughout the playoffs. The winning team in each game has exceeded expected goals for by a decent margin. Expect offensive regression as these teams work their way back down towards averages.
Michael Hutchinson has stepped up in Philipp Grubauer's absence and is trending in the right direction. Conversely, Anton Khudobin's numbers have fallen off a cliff over his last four starts. He's posted a cumulative 87.6% save percentage, and the only time it was above 90.0% is when he came on in relief of Ben Bishop in Game 5. Prior to this four-game slide, Khudobin was sitting with a 92.1% save percentage, which was still below his regular-season average. Khudobin's metrics have dropped substantially, and we should expect some progression in that regard.
Of note, both these teams played in Game 7s last postseason, and both games stayed under the total.
Game 7s have a reputation for being tight-checking affairs, and I expect nothing less from this game. Additionally, there has been a lot of overachieving offensively so far this series, and goaltending metrics favor a low-scoring game. It's on that basis that under 6.5 is a three-star play, as per our projections.
Canucks +1.5 (-140): 5-Star Rating Out of 5
If he keeps this up, it won't be long before Thatcher Demko has a monument in Vancouver. Demko has stopped 90 of 91 shots over the last two games, helping the Vancouver Canucks level their series against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas dropped to 1-6 in elimination games since blowing a 3-1 series lead to the San Jose Sharks in the 2019 NHL Playoffs. Their offense continues to sputter in big moments, scoring 13 goals across those seven games. Despite this concerning trend, Vegas is a steep -250 on the moneyline. It appears that the betting market has more confidence in Vegas than they have in themselves.
Another trend I came across is Vegas' outcomes on the second night of a back-to-back. Outright, they've been a reliable play winning 9 of 13 contests. However, covering the puckline is a different story. Vegas has won by more than one goal in just 5 of 13 encounters, and 4 of those games needed overtime. Considering these troubling trends, it's tough to see Vegas running away with this one.
If momentum is an intangible crutch you like to lean on, then there's no stopping the Canucks at this point. Our algorithm gives Vancouver the outright advantage in tonight's game with a 52.4% chance of moving on to the Western Conference Final. If Vegas does win, the evidence doesn't support that they're going to shoot the lights out to get there. As such, Canucks puckline is a five-star play.