The opening round best-of-seven clash between the San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs heads to Game 4 this Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The late 10:30 p.m. (ET) start out West has the home team set as a -150 favorite to take a commanding 3-1 series lead after winning the last two games. The total for Game 4 has been set at 6.5 after closing at that same line in the previous two contest.
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San Jose struck first at home in Game 1 with a 5-3 win at home as a -125 favorite. Vegas evened things up with 5-3 win on the road as a +115 underdog and Sunday’s 6-3 victory on their home ice as -150 favorites gave the Golden Knights the early 2-1 series lead.
These two teams have now played each other 17 times in just two seasons. Along with eight regular season matchups in that two-season span, they squared off against one another in last year’s playoffs. Vegas had the 2-1 edge in that series as well before getting blanked 4-0 on the road as a +128 underdog in Game 4. The Vegas Golden Knights went on to win that series in six games on their way to earning a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals against Washington.
Top Underdog Bet- Take the Sharks (+120) at Golden Knights (-150)
San Jose is going to have to win Game 4 on the road this time around, but I like the Sharks’ chances to get the victory this Tuesday as underdogs. Even though the first three games have been decided by a combined eight goals with a total of 24 goals scored, I see things starting to tighten up from here on in.
The Sharks are the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division behind the Calgary Flames. Vegas was third in the standings and eight points (93) in back of San Jose (101). The regular season series was split 2-2 with each team winning once at home and once on the road. Three of the four games went OVER the closing line and the total has gone OVER in seven of the last nine games between these two division rivals.
Last week’s Dogs Ready to Bite the Books article paid out when the Blues upset the Jets in Game 1 of their series.
While defense has been on the backburner through the first three games of this series, I still think San Jose goalie Martin Jones will be the difference on Tuesday night. He looked sharp in the series opener by stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced. Vegas turned up the heat in Game 2 with three first period goals on its first seven shots on goal to send Jones to the bench. Back between the pipes on Sunday, he faced a 40-shot barrage and allowed six goals.
I also like the Sharks’ chances to regain the form that led to five goals in Game 1. Joe Pavelski scored a key goal in that game after taking a shot to the head that cost him a few teeth and stiches in his lip. San Jose has already proven itself to be a veteran ball club that will not go down without a fight in any best-of-seven postseason clash.
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Vegas struggled down the stretch of the regular season with just one win in its last eight games. The total stayed UNDER in five of those eight contests. One of those loses came against San Jose to close out the month of March. The Golden Knights closed as a +120 road underdog in that 4-3 loss on March 30.
Marc-Andre Fluery has gone the distance in goal for the Golden Knights through the first three games with a 3.35 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage. He gave up three goals on 28 shots in Sunday’s win.
Article by Dave Schwab
Posted April 15th, 2019