Saturday’s NHL slate features two pivotal Game 4 matchups. And guess what? There’s an underdog I really like for today’s top NHL betting pick.
Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for today’s games >>
New York Islanders (+135) vs. Boston Bruins
This is the definition of a back-and-forth series. After getting dominated in Game 1, the Islanders have picked up their play significantly and were arguably the better team in Game 3.
Unfortunately, goaltender Semyon Varlamov let up a soft goal in overtime that sent the raucous crowd at Nassau Coliseum home disappointed. Now, it’s up to Barry Trotz’s group to rebound once again, this time on home ice.
The good news for the Islanders is star forward Mathew Barzal finally lit the lamp this postseason, notching the game-tying goal in Game 2. After a sluggish start to the postseason, Barzal finally seems to be hitting his stride and is getting good results.
The Isles have also done a tremendous job shutting down Boston’s “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The line had a 91% expected goal rate in Game 1 but has generated less than one expected goal combined in Games 2 and 3. In other words, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock have stepped up and shut down Boston’s top-scoring line the last two times out.
This bet could come down to how Varlamov responds after letting in an awful goal that cost his team Game 3. If Varlamov comes out sharp, I feel even stronger about the Islanders in this spot.
Boston is the deeper, more talented team. And they’ll probably end up winning the series. But the Islanders are the more desperate team in this one, knowing a second straight loss at home will put them in a 3-1 hole going back to Bean Town.
The Bruins are listed as -150 favorites on PointsBet, suggesting they have a 60% chance of winning this game. This line feels too high, presenting great value on the Islanders.
Thoughts on Hurricanes vs. Lightning: Game 4
Finally, the Hurricanes broke through against Andrei Vasilevskiy. This series has essentially been dead-even, with Vasilevskiy being the key differentiator. But once again, Carolina suffered an injury. This time, it was depth forward Warren Foegele who was injured, joining Nino Niederieter and Vincent Trocheck in the injury club.
The story entering Game 3 was Carolina’s inability to convert on its scoring opportunities. In Game 3, Tampa Bay was the team that struggled to take advantage. The Lightning generated 15 high-danger chances at even strength but couldn’t score on any of them. Instead, Tampa’s lethal power play did the heavy lifting. The Bolts scored both goals with the man advantage.
Carolina’s switch between the pipes seemed to make a difference, as Petr Mrazek stopped 35 of 37 shots in his first playoff appearance to relieve Alex Nedeljkovic. But regardless of who’s in the net for the Canes, they need to do a better job of containing Tampa Bay’s high-octane offense.
Obviously, that job is easier said than done. That’s why I’d lean with the Lightning to get one step closer to the conference finals. The best number I’ve seen on the Bolts is -160 at PointsBet. I’d also consider a play on the over 5.5 as a decent NHL betting pick, as we could be in store for a frantic matinee.
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