According to ESPN Stats & Info, teams with a 2-0 series lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final go on to hoist the Cup 90.6% of the time (48-5). That percentage jumps to 92.7% for teams that win their first two games at home (38-3). What’s in store for Game 3? Here are some wagers we have our eye on:
—Greg Wyshynski, NHL Senior Writer
Odds courtesy Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Vegas Golden Knights at Florida Panthers
Puck line: Florida -1.5
Money line: Vegas (+100), Florida (-120)
Wyshynski: Golden Knights Money Line (+100) These odds have dropped from the opening line, I snuck in at +105. The fact that Vegas is even money in a must-win Game 3 for the Panthers is a snapshot of where this series sits: One team peaking at the right time, playing outstanding defensively and unflappably in the face of their opponents’ aggression. And the other team is the Panthers.
Wyshynski: Aleksander Barkov over 2.5 shots (-125) Barkov edged over this total in Game 2 at Vegas with three shots on goal. He has the second highest number of 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes at home during the playoffs for Florida (16.1). He’s only 50% to the over on this total during the playoffs, so buyer beware, but I do think the Panthers having the last change at home to earn his line some more favorable matchups could spark him – as well as the desperation of the moment.
Wyshynski: Jonathan Marchessault any-time goal scorer (+125) Let’s not overthink this: Marchessault has scored eight of his 12 playoff goals, leading the Golden Knights, on the road. That includes a four-game goal streak tracking back to Game 6 against the Edmonton Oilers, in which he tallied a hat trick. Both his shot attempts and shots on goal in all situations increase when he’s away from The Strip. He’s building an MVP case and that argument will continue in Game 3.
Wyshynski: Adin Hill under 30.5 saves (-105) While I’m a little nervous about the potential for a Game 3 overtime that would ruin this wager, note that the Golden Knights are averaging 30.8 shots against on the road in eight games, against a few shot-happy teams in the Western Conference. In the 11 games he’s started, Hill has gone under this number in five of them, including twice on the road.
Sachin Dave Chandan, ESPN betting editor: Anton Lundell anytime goal scorer (+410)
I don’t think this is as big a long shot as the odds make it sound. Lundell is second on the Panthers with seven shots on goal, and cashed in with a goal in Game 2. I like this price compared to some of the more usual suspects in the Panthers offense.
Chandan: Under 6 (-110)
Both games have gone over so far, and the Golden Knights have blitzed the Panthers 12-4 in both games combined. With the series moving to Florida, I expect to see some stronger defensive play from Sergei Bobrovsky and the Panthers, to keep the game close.
Chandan: Time of first goal – After 10 minutes (+125)
I suppose this bet is tied to the one above. If I’m expecting a lower-scoring game, then I’m willing to take this bet, at plus money, that the game will start off a bit slower than the past two. For perspective, the first goal in Games 1 and 2 were within the first 10 minutes, with Game 1’s tally counting just seconds before the threshold.
Stanley Cup Final Game 3 – Betting picks for Golden Knights-Panthers