Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:45 PM EST. Odds subject to change.
Pinnacle -½ +118 BET365 -½ +120 Sportsinteraction -½ +104 888Sport -½ +105
Carolina -½ +120 over Florida
7:07 PM EST. It’s been fun, but it’s time to turn out the lights and head home. The party is over, and the train is about to leave the station. We are going to take nothing away from the Panthers, as they have been a profitable underdog throughout these playoffs, but the time has come to fade the Cats.
We often discuss how luck-driven the results in hockey are, and the Panthers are a prime example of that. Florida rode the unexpected hot streak of a career minor leaguer in goal to secure a Wild Card playoff spot, while their $10-million man sat on the bench because he could not be trusted to get that job done. Fast forward a few weeks, and now the Panthers are riding the hot hand of the highly-paid Sergei Bobrovsky, having knocked off the Stanley Cup favorites not only once, but twice, sending the mighty Bruins and Maple Leafs packing in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Frequent readers of this space are not likely to be as shocked by those two results, as we did our best to present the Panthers as the undervalued team they were. Both the Bruins and Maple Leafs were grossly overpriced and overrated in the market, but now we can use that perception (and the "rub" the Panthers got from beating both) to our advantage, as the Hurricanes are superior to both Boston and Toronto.
In Round 1, versus the B's, the Cats were a +192 underdog in Game 1, +180 in Game 2, +216 in Game 5, and +191 in Game 7. Never mind they could have easily lost that series, as Games 5 and 7, both Florida wins, went into overtime. In Round 2, the Panthers were +156 in Toronto for Game 1, +171 in Game 2, and even after the Cats proved they could hang with the newly crowned Cup favorites, Florida was still a +159 pooch in their 3-2 overtime win in Game 5. We'll add the Cats won two of their four games in the second round in overtime, too.
The Hurricanes are being disrespected here, as they cannot be a smaller price at home versus Florida than the Maple Leafs were in Round 2. We don't need to gush over the 'Canes' loaded roster, their long-standing as an analytics darling, or their proven ability to control the game and generate scoring chances to make our case because this price is ridiculous. The Hurricanes just make quick work of the Devils, who are truly great, beating Jersey in five games, but nobody is talking about that. Instead, it's the incredible run of the Panthers that is getting all the headlines. In reality, all that really matters is that the Panthers are being offered up at their lowest price of these playoffs. That's our cue to sell.
Carolina -½ +120 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.40)