NHL Pick: Defense Rules Stanley

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pittsburgh penguins


By Greg Dempson

Pinnacle – Pittsburgh Penguins +116 v San Jose Sharks -128 Total 5.0 O-130 U+111

The late Bob Martin, (the highest regarded bookmaker of all time, was quoted as saying, “What you want is a point spread that will make people on either side say,” “That’s a steal.” “When you get that, you know you’ve put up a good line.”

The vast majority of novice gamblers love to bet on the favorite and the over, I’m sure those of you who are reading this would agree with my statement.

I remember when Bill Walsh coached the San Francisco 49ers in the hierarchy of the 1980’s. Their offense was prolific and they could score at will with their West Coast offense. What was lost to many a gambler was how solid their defense was.

For an entire season, the over/under never dropped below 41 points even though their season began on a strong under streak. At the end of the regular season, (16 games,) the 49ers played 14 unders vs. only two overs. Moving a total in a football or basketball game up or down ½ point is easier than moving off a key hockey total of 5.5 up to 6 or down to 5, the empty net goal being one reason. Also, if the score is 2 – 2 and you have locked in the over, your worst case scenario would be a push and maybe a win with an empty net score.

The game one total in the Penguins/Sharks series was 5.5 under at –130 before closing at under 5.5 –147. Books have not moved off the number of 5.5 in games two or three, simply adjusting the juice higher if you wish to buy the under. I see under 5.5 at –162 for tonight’s game.

Over or Under?

· The Sharks don’t want to get into a shoot out with the Penguins. If you have watched the first two games you know who the faster skating team is.

· Pittsburgh has been great at blocking shots in this series, in game three the Penguins blocked 38 shots, (12 from Brent Burns.)

· San Jose has been solid in killing off the power play, (seven straight short-handed opportunities.)

· Pittsburgh and San Jose are 0–5 to the under in their last five games when the O/U is exactly 5.5.

· Sharks goaltender Martin Jones has a GAA of 1.74 with a save percentage of 93.8% in 10 home playoff games allowing only 17 goals.

· In Matt Murray’s 18 playoff games his GAA is 2.17 with a save percentage of 92.4%.

· There is a tremendous playoff system that has seen 36 overs vs. 63 unders for a success rate of 64% when wagering on the under since 1996. It has fared much better of late with 5 overs vs. 18 unders = 78% the past five seasons as well as 2 overs vs. 10 unders = 83% in the previous three seasons.

NHL Pick 

There is no way I could justify laying –152 and betting on the under at 5.5 goals so I’ve opted to wager on the under at 5 goals at +111 as my Every Edge selection for this evening.

For additional winning systems and selections visit www.gregdempson.com.