Bettors have a lot to consider on Monday night, but it may be the most cut and dry of the playoffs. We are keeping the actual lines out just to give you an idea of where the easier plays might be. When you look at this, there is lots to like including some electric stuff. That could also just be the Winnipeg crowd.
The scenes shift to Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Those last two are going to be particularly intimidating. There are no late game so barring overtimes. The last game should actually end before midnight for a change. Something tells me we may have just jinxed this but c’est la vie!
There are some obvious scenarios and maybe some easy pickings so let’s get down to the business at hand.
Bettor’s Edge Monday
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Do the Rangers love to make series harder or what?
They found a way to lose a game Saturday night that they had in the bag. Bettors gasped in horror as the over hit (we picked the over actually). However, no one expected Marc-Andre Fleury to shine, particularly on the penalty kill where the New York squad accumulated most of their shots.
Some will argue that the Rangers play better on the road and that is true. They are going to have to put their hard hats on for Game 3 because they did not for Game 2. After that first period goal, it just was not the same for New York. Simply the team relaxed and there is zero excuse for that. Much the same was done after Game 1. This is the playoffs. You get eliminated if you keep playing with fire like this.
Rangers Do It the Hard Way
The coaches made that message loud and clear. This was a Rangers team that won the most road games ever. They play a style in some ways better suited for the road. A good chunk of this was with Cam Talbot in net and not Henrik Lundqvist. Now to counter this, the Swedish goalie had that three-game stretch in the playoffs against the Penguins last year that was otherworldly.
This was after a very ordinary first four games. This is kind of the M.O. though for Lundqvist. The team and him do make some of these early series a lot tougher than they should be. Then they have to pull the meal out of the fire before it gets burned.
Pittsburgh fully expected to be down two games to nothing. Yet, they are not. It is from their lack of discipline and chirping officials that they are in this position. They could be up two games to nothing if they just would stay out of the penalty box. It really disrupts their game and they can be as good as the Rangers 5-on-5 and they could generate a few more power play chances themselves if they stayed out of penalty trouble.
That, in itself, should be a wake up call for the Rangers and their fans. Nothing comes easy but this New York team maybe read some of the newspaper clippings and headlines a bit much. They are going to have to use the approach that got them there and finally put their heads down and play more “60 minute hockey games” because the reality is other than a period here and there, this team has been outplayed by an undermanned Penguins squad.
What Happens Now?
Game 3 could go so many ways but we tend to think the Rangers are covering here and possibly win outright. It may be good to even go over on the Rangers team total which should likely be 2.5. Can the Penguins come up with their best game of the season. I do not know bettors if they can really answer that bell.
What else happens? The crazy atmosphere in Minnesota should yield a Minnesota win and then there is Winnipeg. If there are prop bets on crowd noise at all, take the over. That is going to be a bettor’s paradise as the crowd plays the game for them and Winnipeg finds a way to win. I am partially kidding about the crowd but they are not only loud but they really do provide a lift. If you doubt that, watch the Calgary-Winnipeg game from April 11th and you tell me otherwise.
Bettors have some cut and dry choices but we will have a few more on Twitter as the game times approach. Good luck again and bettors make us proud!