Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:30 PM EST
NY Islanders +115 over PITTSBURGH
7:30 PM EST. OT Included. The Penguins versus the Islanders series is a perfect example of how the market reacts to wins and losses more than anything else. The media and market refuse to believe what their eyes are telling them. Instead, they trust that the Penguins are the much better team, which will continue to provide us with outstanding value on the underdog. The Penguins are not the better team. The Penguins may have finished with more points than the Islanders but every key metric screams out that the Islanders win expectation is greater than Pittsburgh’s.
People call fútbol the beautiful game, but they probably just didn’t catch any of Pittsburgh’s extremely lucky victories this year. This isn’t about schadenfreude, to be clear. It’s not about relishing the self-inflicted wounds of the Islanders. No, it is about an appreciation of the art form that is the undeserved victory. Pittsburgh had more than any team but again, the market sees wins and couldn’t care less about how they were achieved.
Not for just one playoff game but for months now, the Pens are giving up far too many odd-man breaks. Just before the playoffs started, the Penguins had given up 34 goals in an 11-game stretch. That’s not a good number. It does not matter how many big saves you make, it does not matter how many saves you make in general, you are not going to overcome your starting goalie giving up three howlers in a single playoff game (and maybe a fourth depending on how harsh you want to be on Kyle Palmieri’s game winning overtime goal). The Islanders have been an opportunistic bunch ever since Barry Trotz arrived but this year, they are a legit opportunistic bunch that kept getting better as Game 1 wore on while the Penguins got sloppier.
Pittsburgh now has the weight of the world on their shoulders while the Islanders will just come out and play their usual, strong brand of hockey with a chance to go up two games. The Islanders see opportunities and seize them. This is another one of those opportunities that they have been thriving in ever since Trotz arrived. We’re not sure why the market is in love with the Pens but we’ll try to take advantage again.
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NY Islanders +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)