The Nashville Predators will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing Game 1 loss in the Stanley Cup Final when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 on Wednesday as small road underdogs.
The Predators outplayed the defending champion Penguins for much of the series opener but ultimately lost 5-3 despite holding a huge 26-12 edge in shots.
Betting line: The Penguins opened as -160 favorites (wager $160 to win $100); the total is at 5.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.0-2.3, Penguins (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Predators can pay on the NHL lines
Who knows what would have happened had P.K. Subban’s goal been upheld in the first period and given Nashville an early 1-0 lead in Game 1. Pittsburgh was smart to challenge the play and won it before going on to blank the Preds 3-0 in the first 20 minutes.
Regardless, there are still plenty of positives to take away from the team’s first Stanley Cup Final game.
Nashville not only outshot the Pens by a giant margin but also held them without a shot for 37 minutes before allowing two goals in the final four minutes. Goaltender Pekka Rinne needs to brush off that loss and hope the Preds score first in Game 2.
Why the Penguins can pay on the NHL lines
Pittsburgh knows it was fortunate to win Game 1 and should be able to play a lot better in Game 2. Sitting on a 3-0 lead was a mistake and gave Nashville the opportunity to come back and eventually tie the score in the third period.
On a positive note, the Pens still won the game even though they did not play their best for more than half the game and saw Matt Murray come through to earn another victory. The goaltender was shaky at times but improved to 4-1 in the playoffs with a .936 save percentage.
Smart betting pick
This is an important spot for the Preds because they obviously do not want to head home down 2-0 and needing to win both Games 3 and 4 to even the series. While Nashville has been the best home team in the postseason, finding a way to win at least one of the first two games of each series so far on the road has been the key to its success.
Bettors should expect the Preds to rebound with a stronger offensive effort and win Game 2 in an upset.