In my years of Profitable Sports Gaming I have found that Sports can be cruel and simultaneously that Sports can be oh so exalting. Cruel in the sense that whether it be individual/team setback, loss or injury the game goes on, the team moves forward, and the player must work to recover. Exalting in that perseverance can and is often paid off in the ultimate accomplishment.
The Vegas Golden Knight story has been an incredible one and while I applaud their success I also must be true to the handicapping process. That process says that tonight the Capitals lay on the Golden Knights exactly what the Knights laid onto the Winnipeg Jets in the Conference Final series…..a cold hard slapshot in the face. I do believe that as Vegas did to the Jets in the Campbell Finals so too will the harder, faster more focused and weathered Capitals do to the Knights tonight. That’s the cruel part.
The exalting part will be the release of emotion and the outpour of camaraderie that decades of pent up frustration when the Capital futility converges on the Cup. As a collective they’ll finally earn their opportunity to hoist whether that be tonight as I foresee it or game six, either way the Capitals have paid their dues to the Hockey Gods and the Knights have not. Criticize that statement only at the expense of explaining to me how Neal missed a wide open net last game or the number of pucks that rang off the iron in game four.
No, tonight puckheads we celebrate determination, grit, fortitude and honor for the correct team is going to hoist the 2018 Stanley Cup and it’s the Washington Capitals. Be it game five or six it matters not…because in the end it’s about the….
Enjoy the festivities puckheads
"This is the business we have chosen" Hyman Roth in Godfather II
6-4-18 7pm EST
NHL Stanley Cup Final game 4
Welcome Puck passionates, if you told me after game one when the Capitals were down 0-1 that I could work myself in position (prior to game 4) to profit +2.5 units if the Capitals win the Cup and lose nothing if the Knights happen to hoist I would have jumped at the opportunity.
Today we have that same option.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe the Capitals can run the Knights out of the gym tonight and half way expect that to happen… BUT Profitable Sports Gaming is as much about maximizing profit as it is minimizing risk. Not only that I feel it would be poor business to make any decision other than executing a 1 unit wager on the Knights +200 series tonight.
I’ve said on numerous occasions that Future wagers’ sole purpose is to insure bottom line profit! Understanding this makes tonight’s decision quite easy because after all is said and done….it’s business!
It’s important not to allow confidence in a gaming position to manifest itself with inefficient wagering. I’ve gone on record publicly on numerous radios shows, podcasts, publications and my own blog expressing how I handicap Capital dominance in this Stanley Cup Final series and while the money wagered is of great importance, of greater importance is the fact that my pride in on the line here and I yearn for the Caps to hoist the Cup as much as they do.
I work tirelessly on my gaming releases and will say that when I publish these breakdowns they have my heart and soul in each as well my pride is on the line every time I release a position.
There will be gaming opportunities into game five (and beyond if the Knights win tonight) so tune into what I hope will be a Capital’s dominant performance tonight and enjoy the passion.
Profitable Sports Gaming
6-2-18 4:05pm EST
Golden Knights +110 L
System tonight favors Knights. Let's hope system is off...
5-30-18 7:05pm EST
The Hockey world, both new fans and traditional are relishing the success of the Vegas Golden Knights as well they should. I enjoy this success story as much as any for what the Knights have done for a sport I love, a community I respect and the business that is profitable sports gaming.
What makes me bristle is the coronation that’s being anticipated and planned after simply one Stanley Cup Playoff game. Over the years, I’ve learned to respect and admire both teams until one wins their fourth game before making any party plans and proclamations.
I caution the Knight fans not to get too wound up unless of course they win tonight but again this is a seven-game series and I hesitate to think that it is as easy as the Golden Knights are making it appear.
Additional Capitals +210 series below and earlier today our only position.
5-29-18 4:45pm EST
Announced this morning on 'The Numbers Game' with Mr. Gill Alexander Capitals +210 series which is the best line I can find outside of Las Vegas.
Capitals +150 game 1 L
Las Vegas Golden Knights -140 vs. Washington Capitals +130 (series)
Welcome to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final where the top two 2018 NHL hockey clubs compete for the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup Trophy.
The 2018 Golden Knights have been a one of the greatest success stories in North American Sports. The civic pride they’ve instilled into the Vegas community, the attention they’ve driven to the game of Hockey and the tremendous growth in hockey wagering handle (especially in Las Vegas) are all unquantifiable and attributable to this team. The boon provided by these Knights was unanticipated by everyone which is what makes this meteoric success so unique and noteworthy. While the Golden Knights story is inspiring, the goal today is to evaluate every factor possible in determining advantage (if any) between these two teams. When the two most complete teams reach the Stanley Cup Final series they arrive focused, determined, strong-willed and eager to complete the dream they’ve envisioned since childhood. Here’s a breakdown of the series as I handicap it.
Fleury 1.68 GAA .947 Holtby 2.04 GAA .923
These goaltenders know one another well as they’ve competed plenty in the past. Holtby, since his reinsertion into the lineup for the Capitals has played stellar hockey in contributing to the Capitals success. He’s calm, confident and playing the best hockey of his career entering this series..
Fleury has been magnificent these playoffs and his numbers prove it. If he remains playing at this level of dominance and producing these results then Las Vegas will win the Cup. That said, I have reservations about Fleury and though he has quelled them all year long I do not believe he’ll be able to continue this quality of play especially against a bunch of hardened veterans who know him well and are looking forward to competing against their old nemesis. In four straight seasons as the full time Penguin netminder, Fleury never realized a save percentage higher than .900. Last year while playing part time he accrued a .924 GAA over nine wins in fifteen games but was relieved mid playoffs by Matt Murray. Fleury’s been exceptional to date, but I expect regression in his performance in this series not so much because I don’t feel he’ll continue to play well but because I feel there is only so much pressure a minder can face before a few begin to slip by. In the playoffs, a .915 or .920 save percentage is outstanding for a netminder but Fleury’s current .947 is stellar and in my opinion unsustainable especially understanding his past performances, his defense and the opponent.
Advantage: slight Golden Knights
Each team has played suffocating defense during these playoffs, but a closer look reveals Fleury backing up a defense that allows an abundance of shots on goal. In fact, the Knights have allowed 33.7 shots against their ‘Minder per game which is ranked 14th of all the teams in the playoffs. At this time of year its important to realize that minor team flaws may become festering issues in the Stanley Cup Finals and allowing a team such as Washington to sustain pressure in the offensive zone will be detrimental to the Knights chances. The Knights will be forced to address shots against in this series.
Washington’s defense on the other hand has allowed a paltry 28,2 shot against per game against potent offensive competition so far this playoff season in Columbus, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay). Washington frustrated the Pens and Lightning with their defensive ‘bend but don’t break’ suffocating style and those teams are at least as offensively potent as are the Knights if not more so. Defense is a strong factor in favor of the Capitals.
While it’s clear the Knights are quick, fast and skilled they only average 2.87 GPG which ranks them tenth of all sixteen playoff teams. Vegas is extremely resilient however as they tend to answer goals immediately with tallies of their own as evidenced by the fact that against the Jets they scored eight of the nine goals scored after any game was tied! The Knights 27.8 scoring chances per game is best among teams in this year’s second season with a minimum of ten games played. The Knights are an opportunistic squad that attack opponents with four unrelenting lines even though their scoring basically comes from the top two groups.
Washington’s offense is power based and very effective as they average 3.47 GPG, the highest of all playoff teams except the Penguins. The Capitals have offensive stars with recognizable names with guys like Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie but they are deeper in talent than is Vegas and in this final series I believe this will be apparent. Washington puts tremendous pressure on opposing defenses as they get production from all four lines which is something Vegas lacks, depth on offense.
These two Coaches are both world class men and coaches. I see little difference. Trotz coached in a Conference semi-final prior and has eleven playoff coaching appearances while Gallant is in his second playoff appearance as a coach having taken the Florida Panthers to the playoffs in 2015-16. Trotz has more playoff experience and Gallant has preven that Vegas hired a great coach.
Special teams become more important the deeper this tournament extends and it is in this area of play that I believe Washington has quantifiable advantage.
The Washington power play is hitting at a 28.8% clip compared to a meager 17.6% for the Knights. Therefore, the Knights must remain disciplined as they already allow abundant shots at their net and if they go shorthanded, it will further stress an already taxed defense and over worked netminder. Team discipline for Vegas is most important.
The Capitals penalty kill is 75.6% effective (compared to the Knights 82.5%). A closer look into who each team played during these playoffs however shows that Knight opponents, the Kings and Sharks were not offensively apt, and the overconfident Jets hobbled into their series with the Knights after a grueling seven games with the Predators. The Capitals faced the hottest offensive team entering the playoffs in the Columbus Blue Jackets then the two top ranked Power Play teams in the playoffs in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. I feel the Capitals will be more than well prepared for anything the Knights can toss at them knowing that the Knights are currently struggling on this phase of the game. I don’t see that changing against the Washington defense.
-Face-Offs Won (FOW)
Face-offs in any hockey game are important in that they determine possession and possession is the preamble to offensive pressure. In one’s own zone face-off control is even more important in that puck possession allows a team to begin transition from defense to offense. Washington’s FOW is 49% which is acceptable understanding that for much of the playoffs their lead C Backstrom (who is their face off stalwart) was injured (hand). Backstrom is now back, healthy and back in the circle for face-offs.
The Golden Knights 47.7% face off success is fourteenth among all playoff teams this year. This is an area they must improve upon if they are going to pressure the Capitals defense with their speed and quickness.
Special team’s effectiveness in hockey is much like football in that they contribute proportionally to outcome and not every team is as effective with their special teams as others. Small details can pay great dividends in special teams and there’s a clear edge here….
Here is where my interpretation from decades of watching these Tournaments is drawn upon. I don’t expect everyone to agree with these positions but they are as I state them to be: considerable factors in who will Hoist in 2018 at least in my handicapping process.
Make no mistake that the eight to nine days off for Las Vegas is a curse and not an advantage. We saw in several series this year (and regularly in past seasons) that teams with abundant rest have a tough time catching their legs in game one of a series…and that’s with five or six days of rest let alone a full seven or eight! Add to this that every Las Vegas practice since they whupped the Jets has been sold out and people have had to be turned away. The Vegas coach, team and jock strap handlers are the talk of the town as well the Hockey world and for the last nine days they’ve been praised, exalted and interviewed. This is not an ideal scenario for a team with no previous playoff experience that needs to enter the biggest seven game series of their careers focused and firing on all cylinders. There’s no way for them to be able to prepare for what has transpired these last nine days.
Game one advantage in my judgement goes to the Capitals no matter what type of light show extravaganza we witness prior to the contest. In later series games it is understood that rest may and often does compliment the team with days off. In this series however, I believe the abundant rest prior to the series and the schedule of Stanley Cup Playoff games this year does Vegas well more harm than good.
A potential issue for the Knights is the Stanley Cup schedule. In every 2018 playoff series leading up to this final series, games were played every other night like clockwork. One look into this series and we see that rather than games scheduled every other day this series is: Monday, Wednesday, two days off then Saturday, Monday, then another two days off prior to (each) game five, game six and game seven.
Teams that rely on quickness, precision skating and pin point passing benefit by rhythm and regularity. Stretching out the schedule into a choppy two week plus schedule in no way benefits the rhythm and rhyme a team like the Knights wants/needs to establish to be effective and dominate. In fact, it could be argued that this uneven irregularly set up schedule provides advantage to the team that plays a heavier more physical style and relies less on speed of play and precision which is the Capitals.
It’s my belief that this scheduling (when looking back) will be one of the main contributors to the Golden Knights struggling to maintain their speed, precision passing and early playoff prowess.
To put this simply, the Golden Knights have not incurred an appropriate amount of organizational, emotional or physical desperation to be able to hoist the Cup. Meanwhile the despair, dejection and underachievement that has been overcome by the Capitals for the last decade plus is tangible. No hockey enthusiast may debate this and it’s Washington’s past futility that drives them toward a Stanley Cup Championship run.
Sure, the Knights are AS focused, sure they’re going to be AS prepared and they absolutely long to win just like the Capitals do, BUT they’ve not been kicked in the teeth, nor have they ever felt the disappointment of constantly coming up short or for that matter even losing a playoff series!. The Knights have not had the opportunity to invest the necessary blood sweat and tears it takes to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup and for this reason and those above I feel the Washington Capitals win this series.
Series Washington +130 Prop: Under 5.5 series games +175 (half, may not be available to all)
We'll invest one unit on the series now. If the Capitals lose game one we're coming right back with another. Tonight's game will be posted later if we move. Enjoy the Stanley Cup everyone.
Profitale Sports Gaming