Stanley Cup Finals Betting Guide: Game 5
The Avalanche are one win away from their first championship since 2001 after taking Game 4 in overtime. Can the defending champion Lightning muster their championship heart and get this series back to Tampa?
Where does the betting value lie for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Lightning +1.5 (-176) - 2 Stars
Our model does believe that, more often than not, this series ends Friday. It's got the Avs winning this one 58.5% of the time.
Of course, the public consensus is also that. This dominant team all year is one win on home ice from closing out one of the most impressive overall seasons in recent memory. That's why Colorado carries a hefty -176 moneyline in Game 5.
Overall, our model sees one-star value on the Bolts to win this one. They're only implied to win it 40.7% of the time, but the model does believe they prevail 41.5% of the time.
However, a more significant lean is on this bet that I prefer as well. It believes Tampa Bay keeps it within a goal -- just as they did in Game 4 -- 67.9% of the time. Even at 63.8% implied probability, there's still a good bit of value here.
Colorado still has the third-best expected goals-for rate (3.61 per 60 minutes) in the playoffs, and they've posted the best expected goals allowed rate (2.39 per 60) of any team.
Pun intended -- I'm not trying to step in the way of this...Avalanche...with hard-earned U.S. dollars by backing Tampa on the moneyline. The stars appear to be aligning entering this tilt in Denver.
Under 6.0 (-120) - 1 Star
As you may have heard, 91% of bets were on the over in Game 4. It ended poorly.
This total has stayed at 6.0 all series despite Wednesday's contest being the first that actually fell short of it. It's because the peripheral numbers here aren't expecting much offense.
The Avs have only posted 3.26 expected goals per 60 minutes in this series despite scoring 4.0 per contest. Tampa has also slightly overachieved, scoring 2.8 per game but only posting 2.60 expected.
These two teams only combined for 29 high-danger chances in Game 4 despite the modest combined shot total (81) that might draw one to the over. As the stakes become greater, the team ahead is only further likely to sit on the lead and bog the pace.
numberFire's model expects this one to see six goals or fewer 59.6% of the time. Against the 54.5% implied probability on FanDuel Sportsbook, the under receives a one-star nod of approval.
Player Props to Consider
Gabriel Landeskog to Score a Goal (+172)
I still don't think markets have adjusted to Gabriel Landeskog's nose for the net.
Landeskog is Colorado's power forward in front of the net, so his 2.89 shots per game this postseason isn't going to blow anyone away. Still, he's cashed in on a postseason-high 11 goals on plenty of high-danger putbacks and crease opportunities.
He is the most likely player to score per numberFire's model and is projected for 0.44 goals. Yet, his odds here still only imply a 36.8% chance to score. He's netted three goals in four games during this series, and a fourth likely goes a long way to secure Lord Stanley's Cup.
Brandon Hagel to Score a Goal (+350)
Tampa Bay's forward depth has been tested immensely in this series. Brayden Point hasn't played in the past three contests, and Nikita Kucherov and Nick Paul are both banged up. It's created opportunities for others.
For the time being, Brandon Hagel has shifted onto their second forward line and second power-play unit. His odds really haven't caught up to that new role.
Given his time on ice (21:33 in Game 4), numberFire gives Hagel a 32% chance to score a goal in Game 5. His +350 odds here imply just a 22.2% chance, making the Saskatoon native the model's best value on the board to score.
Ross Colton 2+ Shots on Goal (-122)
Ross Colton started the playoffs by posting multiple shot attempts in 9 of his first 12 games. He's gone cold lately, posting just three total shots on goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Our model still thinks there's value in an unexpected bounce back here. He's still playing decent enough minutes (12:29 TOI in Game 4), so we're projecting him for 2.34 shots in Game 5.
The -122 odds here imply just a 55% chance it happens, but playing with Paul and Corey Perry, he could conceivably get this done in short order with a more aggressive mindset heading into the elimination game.
Andrei Vasilevskiy Under 33.5 Saves (-104)
In the last five closeout games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the two squads involved have combined for just 3.4 goals per game on average. When you see a team ahead with a chance to end it all, they generally play safer and sit on the puck.
That might be a key reason why Andrei Vasilevskiy is only projected to face 32.0 shots in this one, and with a projected 3.0 goals allowed, that would leave him with just 29.0 saves -- all per numberFire's model.
Lines markedly lower than raw averages can be trap lines, and Vasy is averaging 36.0 saves per contest in this series. The natural lean for the public should be on the over here (reflected by the -122 price), but the sharper side might be to bet Colorado's offensive pace stalls if they have a late lead with the ultimate prize on the line.