The 12 days of Christmas for people who bet on hockey begin today with game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: PPG Paints Arena
NHL betting odds:
Predators +1½ (-225) 5½ (+125) +150
Penguins -1½ (+185) 5½ (-145) -170
Recent form: The Preds defeated the Anaheim Ducks 6-3 in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals a week ago to reach their first ever Stanley Cup finals. Colton Sissons scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff hat trick and Pekka Rinne made 38 saves. Peter Laviolette became the fourth head coach in league history to take three different teams to the Cup Final. Nashville is 7-1 at Bridgestone Arena where the Predators have outscored opponents 25-13 in the playoffs. Captain Mike Fisher, Ryan Johansen, and Kevin Fiala accepted the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as conference champions. That must’ve looked like The Spirit of ’76.
News: Johansen and Fiala are out for good, but Fisher could return to the lineup soon. Nashville’s top four blueliners Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban, and Mattias Ekholm will have their work cut out for them in the form of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Crosby and Malkin have seven goals each and a combined 30 assists in the postseason while Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel have a combined 35 points.
Trends for fans who bet on hockey: The NHL betting under is 4-0 in the Predators’ last four games against Eastern Conference teams, the over is 2-0-2 in Nashville’s last four games following a win, and the under is 4-0-1 in the Preds’ last five games after scoring five or more goals in the previous game. The Predators are 2-8 in the last 10 meetings with the Pens and the 1-4 in the last five visits to PPG Paints Arena.
Recent form: The Pens beat the Sens 3-2 in double overtime in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to earn their second straight trip to the Stanley Cup finals. Chris Kunitz scored the game-winning goal 5:09 into the second OT. Matt Murray made 27 saves. The Penguins won a Game 7 at home for the first time following a loss in Game 6. The Pens were 0-7 entering Thursday. Pittsburgh could become the first repeat Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997-98 season, and are the first franchise since the 1967 Expansion to reach back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances on three separate occasions.
News: The Penguins will have their flippers full with the aforementioned Josi, Ellis, Subban, and Ekholm. They’re so wretchedly adorable, standing there on their hind legs like four little Erik Karlssons.
Trends for fans who bet on hockey: The Pens are 5-0 in their last five games playing on three days’ rest or longer, and the NHL betting under is 8-1 in the Penguins’ last nine Stanley Cup Finals games, while the over is 7-1-1 in Pitt’s last nine games playing on 3 or more days’ rest.