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NHL Playoffs - Game 5
Washington +145 over TAMPA BAY

BEST LINES:  Pinnacle +142 BET365 +145 SportsInteraction +140 5DIMES +141

Posted at 1:00 PM EST.

7:15 PM EST. After Game 3 when Winnipeg lost in Vegas 4-2, I personally had some good folks tweeting out to me that Vegas is the straight goods and that they are outplaying Winnipeg. The analytics charts showed a completely different story but perception is reality and those that believed Vegas was outplaying Winnipeg by a wide margin, actually did think they were. You can apply that same thing to last night's 3-2 Vegas victory. You also see folks arguing over which team is better than the other, whether it’s Boston over Tampa, Vegas over Winnipeg, Winnipeg over Vegas or Washington over Tampa Bay. Well, we’re here to once again preach that NHL hockey, especially when it comes down to the final eight or four teams is all goaltending and luck. Nothing more, nothing less so if you actually think that you can predict which teams will hit the post, miss wide open nets, have goalies wandering out of their crease and causing weak goals against or deflecting pucks in, all the power to you.

You want further proof of how hockey is all goaltending and luck-driven? Check out the teams that missed the playoffs this year.: Calgary, Arizona, Chicago, Montreal, New York Rangers and Islanders, Detroit, Buffalo, Dallas, St. Louis, Ottawa, Florida, Carolina, Edmonton and Vancouver.

What all those teams have in common other than missing the playoffs is weak goaltending. Do you seriously think that’s a coincidence? If 90% of those teams had solid goaltending, they would be instant playoff teams. Remember a couple of years ago when Montreal got off to a 10-0 start and hockey media was talking possible Cup? As soon as Carey Price got injured, the Habs couldn’t win a game. Cam Talbot was great last year for Edmonton and this year he was awful. Last year, Edmonton made the playoffs and this year they did not. Carolina has one of the best collection of skaters in the NHL but can’t make the playoffs because they have the worst goaltending in the NHL. Last year, Tampa’s #1 goaltender was Ben Bishop and they missed the playoffs. They traded Bishop to Dallas and this year, Dallas missed the playoffs. Last year, Connor Hellebucyk and Michael Hutchinson were shaky all year for Winnipeg and they missed the playoffs. This year, Hellebucyk has been great and the Jets are a cup contender. If Cam Ward was on Vegas, their first-year story would’ve been over long ago with them being a “nice” expansion team. Washington is tied with Tampa 2-2 in the series because Holtby was better than Andrei Vasilevskiy twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy was better than Holtby twice. Vegas beat Winnipeg last night because Marc Andre Fleury was better than Connor Hellebucyk. Winnipeg beat Nashville because Pekka Rinne was yanked three times and Tampa beat Boston because Tuukka Rask was awful. We could go on and on about this stuff and cover every year over the past two decades. Goaltending is the wide, wide margin deciding factor of which team wins and which team loses, which is why we say play value and let the chips fall where they may. If you can predict which goaltender will be better, you will have your winner for this game but since you cannot (nobody can), the prudent choice is taking back a price and hoping that Braden Holby is getter than Andrei Vasilevskiy.At this price, it is worth the risk.

Please note: We have leans posted daily on Twitter and you can follow us there for leans, possible late plays or any other info we might have to pass along. 

Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.


Our Pick

Washington +145 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.90)

NHL Cash-out clause
NHL Cash-out clause +250

BEST LINES:  Pinnacle N/A BET365 EVEN MONEY SportsInteraction N/A 5DIMES N/A

Posted May 18 before Game 5

Before Game 1 of the Tampa Bay/Washington Series, we wagered on Tampa -1½ games +118 and we also bet Tampa +250 to win the Cup. We wagered 4 units on Tampa to win the Cup with the intention of buying it back or flipping the bet to FREE ROLL in the Cup Finals but that plan went a bit awry after the Bolts lost the first two games of the series. The Bolts get home-ice advantage back after winning two games in Washington but we’re not going to leave this to fate. The cash-out option at BET365 allows us to buy-out of that +250 bet to win the CUP and that’s exactly what we’re going to do, as we are extremely lucky to save this wager and again, will not leave it to fate. Therefore, we’re cashing out 4 units with no penalty as the cash-out option is exactly that. Another reason to cash-out is that if Tampa wins next game, they will go 3-2 in the series and we will have a chance to cash our series wager of -1½ games +118.

Please note: We have leans posted daily on Twitter and you can follow us there for leans, possible late plays or any other info we might have to pass along. 

Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.


Our Pick

NHL Cash-out clause +250 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 5.00)

NHL Future
Tampa Bay +250 to win Cup

BEST LINES:  Pinnacle +175 BET365 +250 SportsInteraction +250 5DIMES +200

Posted on Friday May 11 before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals


Stanely Cup Future

We’re also going to play the Bolts to win the Cup at +250, as we’re extremely confident that the Bolts will dispose of those imposters from Washington. This is really a great value bet, because if Vegas beats Winnipeg, the Bolts will be in the -170 range to win the Cup and if Winnipeg advances, the series will be evenly priced and we’ll hedge and free roll on whoever we want.

Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.


Our Pick

Tampa Bay +250 to win Cup (Risking 4 units - To Win: 10.00)

NHL Series pick
TAMPA BAY -1 +118 over Washington

BEST LINES:  Pinnacle -1½ +118 BET365 -1½ +100 SportsInteraction -1½ +100 5DIMES -1½ +105

Posted on Friday May 11 before Game 1

TAMPA BAY -1½ games +118 over Washington

Series pick – Begins Friday, May 11

8:00 PM EST. For the Capitals, their run of good fortune almost surely ends here. In Round 1 against the Jackets, Washington rallied from two games down to win it in six and the reason they won that series was because Columbus could not stay out of the box and Sergei Bobrovsky was shaky. Columbus was clearly the better team during five-on-five play and the metrics support that. In Round 2, Washington and Pittsburgh fought tooth and nails against each other with Washington winning the final game in OT and winning two others with a very late goal (under four minutes) in the third with the game tied. OT games and one goal victories are luck-driven results, as Pittsburgh could have just as easily got those bounces and won this series in six games. Braden Holtby found his Vezina form once again and really, that was the difference in that series. Holtby was better than Matt Murray and Washington got those one-goal-game bounces.

When comparing the two teams, the comparisons are not close, as Washington was and still is the luckiest team on ice. They finished bottom seven in just about every analytical category both offensively and defensively. Where the Caps thrived is on the power-play and in goal and that is why they made the playoffs, otherwise they were no better analytically than teams like Arizona and Vancouver but this market loves results and in the regard, Washington has more market appeal right now than they have for quite some time because they finally “got over the hump” against Pittsburgh. We’re not fooled and you shouldn’t be either.

The Capitals are stale as can be. This is basically the same team that has done nothing for years in the playoffs, only this year they are worse. They added no free agents of any importance and have relied on one line and Cross Your Fingers the entire year and well into the playoffs. Cross Your Fingers has come through so far. The Caps basically have stood pat for years while the Bolts, a great team to begin with, have attempted to get better every year. Status quo is not advancing any more.

Amazon started off selling books and was very successful but then they said, we’re going to start selling whole foods, we’re going to make movies, we’re going to buy up newspapers and start selling every item in the world and get it to our customers in two days. If the Washington Capitals were Amazon, they’d still be selling books and they’d be satisfied with it. That and everything above is what you would be buying if you wager on the Caps in this series. Braden Holtby may steal a game or maybe two but for the first time in these playoffs, the Caps are going to be running into a great goaltender in form so don’t be surprised if they get swept.

While the Caps were rallying from being in a hole in both series and betting pushed to almost the max with five OT games so far in 12 playoff games, the Lightning disposed of the Devils in five games and then disposed of what some were calling the best team in hockey, the Bruins in five games also. The Bolts didn’t just beat Boston, they beat them four straight after losing the first game, 6-2 and them holding the high scoring B’s to two goals or less in three of the last four games. The Capitals are ill-prepared to go nose to nose with the Bolts. The Lightning are filled with stars. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov both had MVP-type seasons. Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn—standouts from the last deep run by the Bolts—have been excellent and are those playoff-like performers that every team needs.

What makes the Lightning so dangerous, though, is their unparalleled depth. Start with J.T. Miller. Arguably a throw-in for the Ryan McDonagh trade at the deadline, Miller has been one the team's best forwards. Playing on the first line, Miller finished the regular season with 18 points in 19 games. In 10 playoff games, he has seven points. In his second season, Brayden Point was a 30-goal scorer and has 10 points in the playoffs. Keep going down the list: Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat, Anthony Cirelli. The Bolts can score from any of their four lines, and have two of the NHL’s best game-breakers to start it off. The Capitals have Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson and Cross Your Fingers. Finally, the Bolts defense is superior by a wide margin and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, coming off a dominant regular season, has been even better in the playoffs. He's lowered his goals-against average and increased his save percentage. He had a clunker—Game 1 against Boston—but has otherwise been solid and now these two teams, that are not close to being equal will clash. Washington is not taking Tampa Bay to the limit here and frankly, that we get a price on the Bolts to win in anything but the maximum amount of games is pure value at its best.

NOTE: We will also be playing this series on a game by game basis regardless of this future bet as we see fit. In other words, we’re not going to allow any series bets to influence individual game wagers.

Please note: We have leans posted daily on Twitter and you can follow us there for leans, possible late plays or any other info we might have to pass along. 

Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.


Our Pick

TAMPA BAY -1 +118 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.36)

RangeWLP+/- (Units)
Last 30 Days10220.00-10.94
Season to Date1832340.00-5.31
Sports Interaction
Sports Interaction