Updated Stanley Cup Odds
With the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals set to open on Monday night, the San Jose Sharks skate into CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh as underdogs. The Penguins have been listed as the favorites to win the series at -120, but the Sharks offer even odds to hoist the Cup when this is all over. Find out more about the updated NHL betting odds here.
Updated Stanley Cup Odds
How have the two teams fared against one another as of late? Because they are in different conferences, they only met twice this year, and they have only met ten times since the start of the 2009-10 regular season. The two teams split their meetings this year, with the Sharks winning 3-1 in Pittsburgh and the Penguins winning 5-1 in San Jose. The Sharks have won six of those last ten meetings.
Both teams have posted 12-6 records in these playoffs so far. Both have seen goalies who are new to the crucible of postseason play respond in a huge way, as rookie Matt Murray has stood on his head in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury, while Martin Jones (not a rookie but in his first season as a starter) has stood tall as well.
The Sharks feature the top three scorers in the playoffs so far: Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns have scored 24, 22, and 20 points respectively. Pavelski leads all playoff scorers with 13 goals. Given that the Penguins come in with that big name of Sidney Crosby, you might expect the numbers to be different. But the Sharks have been terrific. They arguably came up the easier side of the draw than the Blues, their opponent in the Western Conference finals, but you have to play the teams you’re given, and the Sharks have done so with authority.
So with Pittsburgh +175 and San Jose +225, we have a fairly matched Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins have a whirling dervish of an offense that simply overwhelmed the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. The fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to push them to the brink of elimination and take the series seven games, though, means that a team that is fast but also plays defense can find ways to get around the Penguins. The Rangers and the Capitals were reasonably solid in terms of physicality but could not match the Penguins’ speed, so they ended up looking like traffic cones in comparison.
While the Penguins offer Crosby, they have an incredibly balanced lineup of skaters, and they feature four lines that can all score, so there are no shifts when the Sharks can relax. The Blues had a lineup with similar balance, but the Kings and the Predators did not.
So given what the Penguins have accomplished so far in these playoffs, it makes sense that they are the favorite. Don’t overlook those Sharks, though. While the Penguins have the press and the glitz, the Sharks have the numbers. It would not surprise me to see this series go the whole seven games.