Sport NHL Betting Lines: Is Montreal about to shock the world in Game 3 vs. Vegas?

08:05  19 june  2021
08:05  19 june  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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After evening the series 1-1, the Montreal Canadiens head back home for a pivotal Game 3 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Let's get to it.

All betting odds courtesy of BetMGM

Vegas Golden Knights (-165) @ Montreal Canadiens (+145) — Total: 5

I had the Vegas Golden Knights to win Game 2 of this semifinal series. I said everything Montreal does well, Vegas does a bit better.

Well, it seems the Habs heard me, because they came out firing and secured the equalizing victory, 3-2, evening up the series as it heads back to Canada for Game 3.

And they made it much, much easier to lay a bet on them in the process.

Like the New York Islanders in the other Stanley Cup semifinal, it seems we may have undervalued this Canadiens team entering these playoffs. Admittedly, the Habs sort of stumbled into their series with the Leafs, and oddsmakers didn't really respect them enough heading into Game 1 against the Golden Knights, even after they swept the Jets.

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Montreal lost Game 1 as heavy underdogs but won Game 2 as even heavier underdogs.

That key victory — in Vegas while showcasing their deep forward group and opportunistic defense — must now change our expectations for this team moving forward. The Habs' +145 odds isn't just a "That's +200 juice" type of play the way betting on them may have been in Game 1 or 2.

Now, it's a value bet as the series shifts to Canada.

On the Vegas side of things, slow starts continue to haunt this Knights team. Vegas has found itself down by multiple goals early in games — it happened against the Wild and the Avalanche — only to storm back and win, but Montreal never let their lead go in Game 2. Comeback attempts aren't exactly a recipe for success, even though it's worked for Vegas in these playoffs. Mark Stone's struggles on the scoresheet the last five games of the playoffs have also hampered Vegas' attack as a whole, as well as the way they've been losing faceoffs against Montreal (after winning the faceoff battles against their previous playoff opponents, Vegas has lost that edge through two games in this series).

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Mark Stone wearing a uniform: Mark Stone's lack of an impact on the scoresheet has hurt Vegas. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Mark Stone's lack of an impact on the scoresheet has hurt Vegas. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

And now that have to travel up to Canada for the first time in months.

This was always going to be a tough series to bet the moment Montreal won a game, but the fact that they won Game 2 has made it even tougher. I won't argue with anyone who rides the wave and takes the plus-money with the Habs in Game 3. Carey Price often plays better at home — he has a 1.91 goals-against average these playoffs at the Bell Centre — and Vegas hasn't exactly blown the doors off when it's been away from the T-Mobile Arena.

I'm a bit more interested in the total, however. I have made it no secret how terrified I am of the 5 total in hockey, but here we are. The first two games in this series have pushed the total (4-1 and 3-2), yet it remains at 5, with bettors having to pay up for the OVER (-135) in Game 3.

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That tells me two things. Either a 2-0 goaltender-dominant game is coming (and sharps have noticed) so it's pointless to up the total from 5 to 5.5, or Game 3 is going to end 5-4 and that's why you have to shell out some extra coins for an OVER bet.

I tend to lean it's the *gulp* former. Les Habitants are 1-3 in favor of the UNDER their last 10 games at home, and the Knights are 1-3 to the UNDER their last 10 games away from Vegas. Both teams have cashed the UNDER more than they have the OVER in their last 10 games overall.

With Montreal playing tighter (if not a more boring) form of hockey at home and Vegas looking to shore up their defense to avoid another comeback attempt, I see value in the UNDER here. I'm not exactly wary of the plus-money with the UNDER either; 5 is a really low number in any matchup, so it makes sense the OVER would be favored.

Variance will eventually strike in this series — the first two games nearly hit the OVER, after all — but a defensive struggle looks to be in the cards for Game 3.

Pick: UNDER 5 (+110)

Canadiens-Golden Knights stream – Game 6 on USA Network .
Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app.The Golden Knights went back to Marc-Andre Fleury in net, and also got top-line center Chandler Stephenson back in the lineup, but it was the Canadiens who put on a show in Vegas. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the opener off a Fleury rebound midway through the first period. Eric Staal and Cole Caufield tallied goals just over three minutes apart in the second, and Montreal carried a 3-0 lead into the final frame.

usr: 1
This is interesting!