Nashville at Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Betting Preview

Posted by Peter Boysen on May 26, 2017 in

In all of the storied history of the National Hockey League, no 16-seed has ever made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals — until now. The Nashville Predators swept the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, eliminated the St. Louis Blues and then knocked out the Anaheim Ducks to play for Lord Stanley’s hardware. The Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets, the President’s Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, and now the Ottawa Senators, although they have had the more arduous path, as the last two series each went seven games, and the Penguins’ Game 7 win over Ottawa went to two overtimes. Can the Predators complete a shocking postseason and take the Cup? Or will the Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup winners?

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Nashville at Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Betting Preview

When: Monday, May 29, 2017, 8:00pm ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
TV: NBC
Radio: Nashville / Pittsburgh
Live Stream: NHL.tv
NHL Odds: Penguins at -1½

Why should you bet on the Predators?

The goaltending prowess of Pekka Rinne is one major reason why the Predators have advanced this far. On those rare occasions when the Nashville defense has hung him out to dry, he has come up with big save after big save. Another important contributor has been defenseman P.K. Subban, who could well end up with a Conn Smythe trophy (for playoff MVP) if the Preds hoist the cup at the end of this series. The two teams split their regular-season meetings, but given that the Predators have shut down three big-time offenses in this postseason already, they have a real shot to come into Pittsburgh and take Game 1 from a Penguins team that has played three more postseason games.

Why should you put your money on the Penguins?

The Penguins have seen one goalie (Matt Murray) go down to injury and then return in the conference finals. Their defenseman with the most points is Justin Schultz missed four games of the conference finals with an injury. Ron Hainsey, appearing in his first postseason at the age of 36, leads defensemen in ice time. So you have a true patchwork defense for the Pens — but it works well enough. The offense brings wave after wave of pressure, typically dominating attack zone time, and if they can break through the Predators early, they could turn this into another dominating win on their home ice.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

I’m intrigued by this matchup of intrepid defense and explosive offense. I see the Predators playing tough, but I see Pittsburgh winning, 3-2.