By: Ryan Gilbert
NHL Qualifying Series Odds Preview: Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Hockey is officially back! The NHL will resume with the Qualifying Round on Saturday, August 1st. One of the series worth keeping an eye on to bet is the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Period. They barely missed out on one of the top four seeds in the East, which would have placed them in the round-robin tournament. Instead, they have to beat the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-five series to advance to the first round of the playoffs.
The Penguins were hampered by injuries during the regular season, but they are healthy now. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Co. ready to go, they’re going to be hard to bet agains
NHL Qualifying Series Odds: Penguins Odds and Canadiens Odds
Pittsburgh Penguins’ odds to advance: -235
Montreal Canadiens’ odds to advance: +185
As you can see, the Penguins are the heavy favorites in this series. There are a few good reasons for that.
As mentioned above, the Penguins are one of the top teams in the East and absolutely deserve a shot in the playoffs. On the other hand, the Canadiens should just be happy to have a chance at making the playoffs. The Canadiens were completely out of the playoff picture when the season was suspended, and it’s only this unique situation that allows them this chance.
A best-of-five series in hockey is going to be interesting, however. If the Canadiens win Game 1 with a strong performance from Carey Price, they put the Penguins on the ropes, just two wins away from knocking out Pittsburgh. On the other hand, it’s quite possible that the Penguins steamroll the Canadiens.
I would not recommend betting on the Penguins to advance, but rather on how many games it takes them to advance.
Best Bets for the Penguins vs. Canadiens Qualifying Series
If you bet on the Penguins to sweep (+400), it gives you other options to work without throughout the series.
If the Canadiens win Game 1, causing you to lose your bet, you could double down on the Penguins to win the series as their odds would move in your favor. If the Penguins win the first game, you could hedge your bet. That goes even one step further if the Penguins win the first two games.
Your bet on the Penguins to sweep could be hedged by betting on the Canadiens to win Game 3, which should be close to +185 odds if Pittsburgh won the first two games.
If you think the Canadiens might win a game, the odds for the Penguins to win in four games (win the series 3-1) are still pretty good at +350. Or, to make it a bit simpler, you could bet on the Penguins’ spread in the series. The odds for the Penguins -1.5 games is +115.
Betting on the Canadiens at +185 may be worth it if your of the belief that Carey Price can carry Montreal and the Penguins may be rusty. However, if you are set on betting on the Penguins, I would recommend betting on them to sweep (+400) or -1.5 games (+115).