Our resident NHL handicapping professional has gone a terrific 10-2-1 thus far with his 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff selections. Take the time to read his betting preview article on Game 5 between the Islanders and Capitals which will be played on Thursday. He also includes a pick on the total in this contest.
Crucial Game 5 in Islanders and Capitals Series
The Washington Capitals will host the New York Islanders on Thursday at 7:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at Pinnacle, Washington is a -129 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. This will be Game 5 of their Eastern Conference playoff series which is all knotted up at 2-2. The Capitals will be seeking their first lead of the series. The teams have alternated wins in the first four games. Three of the four games in the series have gone under the total.
The New York Islanders have gone under the total in all seven games this season following a one goal loss at the hands of a divisional opponent. Those contests averaged a combined 3.8 goals being scored per game. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, the Islanders will once again turn to Jaroslav Halak for the start in goal. Halak has been solid in the first four games of the series, compiling a stellar .930 save percentage.
Washington goaltender Braden Holtby has also been very good in this series, evidenced by a sparkling .935 save percentage during his four starts. Unfortunately, he hasn’t received a lot of goal scoring support. The Capitals have scored two goals or less in three of the four games, and you can make the case the series is deadlocked right now in large part due to Holtby’s superb play.
The power play units of each team have struggled through the first four games of the series. Washington has gone a dismal 1-for-7 with the man advantage, and the Islanders are a futile 0-for-10. This is somewhat surprising since the Capitals were #1 in that category league wide during regular season play, and the Islanders converted on a very respectable 18.1% of their power play chances.
NHL Totals System
These teams saw each of the previous two games in this series stay under the total with both ending in identical 2-1 scores. The Islanders are currently averaging 3.0 goals per game scored this season, and the Capitals have tallied 2.9 per contest. The combination of this data leads us to a very profitable totals angle, and I’ll be using that valuable handicapping tool when making one of my NHL picks on Thursday.
Any home team (Capitals) with a total of 5.0 or less, coming off two or more games in a row that went under the total, and both teams in the contest are averaging 2.9 or more goals scored per game, resulted in that home team staying under the number in 52 of those 74-games (70.3%) since the start of the 1996-1997 NHL campaign.
NHL Pick: Islanders and Capitals to go under the total of 5.0 at Pinnacle