Penguins team to beat in Stanley Cup Final opener
Take the Pens & the over in Game 1
By Angelo Montilla
Here are a few Stanley Cup betting lines to consider, with odds courtesy of Bovada.
The Pittsburgh Penguins know what to expect when they host the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
Coming off a Game 7 victory in the Eastern Conference Final, the Penguins are now faced with the tough task of defeating a Nashville Predators club that is also a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
The two will clash in Game 1 of the highly anticipated best-of-seven series, which begins in Pittsburgh.
“I think it will be the hardest challenge of my life,” two-time Cup champion Evgeni Malkin told reporters during the Stanley Cup Media Day. “My job is not just to score goals. I need to do small things too, like win faceoffs, block a shot if I can. It’s all my job.”
Malkin leads the NHL in playoff scoring with 24 points through four games. Ten of his points came on the man advantage and with the Predators averaging 9.13 penalty minutes per game, so staying out of the box will be paramount if Nashville stands any chance in this series.
This is a tale of the best offensive team in the league facing off against the top defensive club. While the Penguins are averaging a league-leading 3.06 goals for per game, Nashville’s stingy blue-line is surrendering just 1.81 each match.
Pekka Rinne is a huge reason why the Predators have been able to keep pucks out of their own net as the goaltender is sporting a 1.70 goals-against average and .941 save percentage — both league-leading statistics heading into Game 1 of the Cup final.
Several online sportsbooks are setting the total goals projection higher than expected for Monday’s contest, including Bovada, which is offering an over/under line of 5.5. An over result is paying +120 odds and considering opening matchups of series tend to be high scoring, that is not a bad to grab before puck drop on Monday night.
The Penguins are feeling really good after their conference final win over Ottawa and it will carry over to Monday when they take on the Preds. Pick the Penguins and the over.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins (-165) and the over (5.5, +120)