What an opening game to the Stanley Cup Final we were treated to on Wednesday night. It had everything. The Avs were fast and controlled play early with a couple quick goals jumping to a 3-1 lead. Then Vasilevskiy settled down and was dominant in the 2nd and 3rd Periods while the Lightning utilized some quick strike offense to tie things up. Then Colorado took control back, threw everything they had at Vasilevskiy and it took an unfortunate bounce off a blocked shot to beat him in OT. Game 1 was everything we hoped it would be (ok, except the bets, didn’t see Makar being held off the scoresheet). Hopefully Saturday’s Game 2 lives up to the standard set by Game 1. Using FanDuel for my Game 2 markets. Sign up with them HERE and get $200 in free bets when you make your initial deposit and place a $5 wager. Onto the picks.
Nathan MacKinnon Anytime Goal (+142) & Over 4.5 SOG (-145)
Nathan MacKinnon was all over the ice in Game 1. His speed was a problem for Tampa, he recorded 5 SOG, he generated a lot of chances on the Power Play, and recorded an assist. He did just about everything except score a goal. Since being held off the scoresheet in Games 1-4 vs St. Louis, MacKinnon hasn’t gone back-to-back games without a goal. He’s got goals in 8 of the Avs 15 postseason games thus far and has been the best goal scorer in the playoffs thus far. MacKinnon is averaging 5.8 SOG per game this postseason, and over the last 4 games he’s averaging 7 SOG. Sometimes the simple answer is the best one. Keep it simple, stupid. Bet MacKinnon.
Andrei Vasilevskiy 40+ Saves (+320)
I went with the 40+ saves here because I’m a sucker for value, and the odds jumped to +320 from around +260 for 39 or more. My advice, find Vasilevskiy’s saves market on FanDuel and take any of the numbers you like once the odds turn into plus money. The Avs controlled the play for most of Game 1, but it wasn’t total dominance and they still generated 38 shots on goal. Vasilevskiy was lights out after his bad 1st Period and completely slammed the door until OT. Like the Lightning as a whole, Vasilevskiy gets better as series go on. I expect Colorado to control the pace again in Game 2 and Tampa to lean heavily on Vasilevskiy. He should see a ton of action again and stop 35+ shots.
Andrei Vasilevskiy Conn Smythe (+650)
I just wanted to update this one after my picks prior to Game 1. The odds have jumped from +430 to +650, and other the Game 1 loss (which Tampa is quite used to) there was absolutely nothing to make me think a series win for Tampa means a Conn Smythe for Vasilevskiy. He was bad in the 1st Period, Colorado put up 3. He dominated the next 2 periods and his team climbed back in. If we see the 2nd & 3rd Period Vasilevskiy for the majority of the series, Tampa has a great chance for the rest of this series. I actually feel better about this bet now with Tampa down 0-1 than I did before the start of the series.
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