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Some reflections on Game One from a short-term investment perspective

What the series looked like to betters before the puck dropped yesterday

Bellagio Resort In Las Vegas Demonstrates Coronavirus Safety Protocols Ahead Of Reopening Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There are a lot of Tampa Bay Lightning fans that have an interest in the Stanley Cup Final. There are even more Montreal Canadiens fans watching as well. For the rest of the league, they’re watching because it’s the last bit of competitive hockey until October. For a dedicated few, it’s also a chance to make a little money (or if you bet on Erik Cernak to score the first goal in last night’s game, a lot of money).

With the proliferation of online betting apps you don’t have to live in Las Vegas or know someone who knows someone to get your bets placed. If you’re in select states you don’t even have to leave your coach to place your next bet. Unfortunately Utah isn’t one of those states so I still have to jump in the car and drive through the Salt Flats to lovely Wendover, Nevada if I get an urge to make a short term investment.

As editor of this little site I do get a lot of emails in regards to the odds in the NHL whether it’s for the Stanley Cup, league awards, season win totals, whatever. From time to time they also include the betting trends, so it was a little interesting to see what the online betting public thought about the series between the Lightning and the Canadiens prior to yesterday’s puck drop.

According to the info I saw, roughly 96% of the money that was wagered on the over/under was with the belief that the two teams would combine for less than 5 goals. Which was looking like it might at least push (you get your bet back) until Steven Stamkos banged home the power play goal with under two minutes left in the game.

It makes sense that betters thought it would be a low-scoring affair. After all you had two teams that hadn’t seen each other in over a year, two of the best goalies in the playoffs and two teams that focus on defense before offense. A 2-1 or 3-1 game wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

As for the series overall, the majority of the betters (65%) favored the Canadiens on this particular website. It’s an odd number considering all of the pundits seemed to think the Lightning would win this series, but then again they also thought that about Montreal’s previous three rounds. With a chance to double your money (Montreal was +210, so you win $210 for every $100 you bet) and what a lot of people thought would be a close series, it wasn’t a horrible play.

While they might not feel great about last night’s performance, all they have to do is look back at last series when Vegas beat then 4-1 before the Habs rolled off wins in four of the next five games. Tampa Bay might have looked dominant in all aspects of the game, but this series is far from over.

If you think last night’s game was an aberration and Carey Price is going to bounce back to shut the Bolts down you can get some really, really, really good odds on the Canadiens right now (+430). If you want to bet on the Lightning just to say you bet on them, the payout won’t be great (-560), but maybe you can print out a screenshot of your bet and hang it on the wall.

One way to bet on the Bolts and possibly get a decent payout is by wagering a player prop bet. The most common one is “Will X player score tonight”. If you think Brayden Point is going to score a goal tomorrow night, and why wouldn’t you since all he seems to do is score in Stanley Cup Final games, your odds would be +125. Which, honestly, is pretty low for that type of bet. If you think he’s going to score the first goal of the game the odds skyrocket to +750.

If the Lightning do pull this off, there is a good chance that someone for the team will be named the Conn Smythe winner as the most valuable player in the postseason. The usual suspects lead the way with Andrei Vasilevskiy as the favorite (+100), Nikita Kucherov next at +150), and Brayden Point at (+250). Carey Price has the best odds for a Canadien at +400, and if they come back in this series, expect that number to plummet.

The online apps also let you choose some other options. For example, if you think the Lightning are going to win the series in six games you can get +400 odds. If you think the Canadiens are going to storm back and win in five there is a nice little +900 bet sitting out there for you. In other words, you can pretty much bet whatever you want to. And you don’t even have to leave your living room.

This was written for information purposes only, we are by no means experts. Please gamble responsibly. If you think you might have, or know someone that might, an issue with gambling please reach out to the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700.