After how these two series got started, who would have thought that the New York Rangers would be heading back to Carolina with a 2-2 series tie? Or that the Edmonton Oilers would have the Calgary Flames on the ropes? Hockey is a funny sport and momentum can certainly swing the pendulum in either team's favor, seemingly overnight. It makes things interesting as an observer, but completely dreadful if you have money on the game and are trying to decide who's going to bring you a maximum return.
Taking a peek at tonight's two matchups, there are a few interesting factors at play. Taking into account all of the team's home and away records, and how well they've played rebounding from a loss, you'd think it's a walk in the park to determine outright winners. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Throw everything you know out the window and start digging into the underlying numbers and analytics that provide you with deeper insight, and you may find some intriguing nuggets of knowledge.
Fear not, the idea of the game is to make as much money as possible while risking as little of it on big gambles. Let's focus on what makes sense and tell your gut that it's time to take a backseat for this one.
Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers– Pick: Hurricanes
The momentum is heavily in the favor of the Rangers heading into Game 5, and for good reason. After their top-six was stunned, and only one puck beat Antti Raanta in the first two games, there was an uneasy feeling in the air in New York. Fortunately for them, Carolina has trouble carrying over their home-ice success into enemy territory. Despite a strong defensive effort, New York was relentless at puck management and cycling and gave their fans something to cheer about. They scored twice on the powerplay and pumped Raanta for six goals, and once more into an empty net.
The Rangers were one of the better offensive teams in the first round, pumping the Penguins for 28 goals in seven games. Players like Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin were the stars the team expected them to be, and defensemen Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba were undeniably fantastic as well. Sure, Igor Shesterkin struggled, but he's managed to turn things around against the Hurricanes. The problem now becomes their odds of defeating a team that is flawless on home ice. The Bruins couldn't do it despite looking like the better team on most nights, and the Rangers have been reduced to one goal in two games.
Leon Draisaitl for Over 1.5 points @ +125