Capitals to Even Series with Jackets in Low-Scoring Tilt Thursday

Dana Lane

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:03 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2018 6:03 PM UTC

The "under" is on a 4-1-1 streak when Washington plays on one day of rest. That trend will continue and the opening-round series against Columbus will be squared.

NHL Thursday: Capitals vs. Blue JacketsFree NHL Pick: 'Under' 5.5Best Line Offered: Betmania

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The Washington Capitals returned the road-win favor with a 3-2, double-overtime victory Tuesday night in Columbus. Lars Eller scored on a defection in the crease from Brett Connolly, allowing the Caps to cut the Blue Jackets' series edge to 2-1. Washington outshot Columbus 45-35 and was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The general public scored big with the Washington win with over 75 percent of the overall ticket count coming in on the Caps. The line bounced around from an opening number of Columbus -143 to the Capitals being a -113 favorite at Bookmaker. Eighty percent of all wagers on the "total" were betting "over," which didn’t cash, so the books ended up squeezing out a small profit on the game.

The Caps will try to even the series in Game 4 on Thursday night (7:30 ET; USA Network).

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Break out the pizza emojis 🍕 #CAPS50

Order 50% off @PapaJohns_DMV: https://t.co/CkygfinVGA pic.twitter.com/FH347eNa3h

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 18, 2018
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The NHL odds board shows that the Capitals' win didn’t do much to sway opinion, as the Blue Jackets opened as small -111 favorites. The thinking here is correct; the Jackets are still the better team and they’re at home against a Capitals team that needed double-overtime just to get a win. We see some early money coming in on Columbus, forcing Skybook to move their number to -116. Some books opened the number at -118, causing “sharp” money to grab the plus price, but almost every location has written the majority of their tickets on Columbus. My guess is about 65 percent of the tickets will be on the Jackets.

We haven’t seen much from a "total" perspective, with the number opening at 5.5. After being in the book for a while my general feeling is that we’ll start to see some "over" money, which will move our bet to at least even money if not a small plus price. SBR has some plus prices available at their approved sportsbooks, but wait until game-time to make this wager because the public generally has in with their flood of "over" money late.

I understand the Capitals are one of the league’s most feared offensive teams, but I also know that these are the playoffs and if a team lacks scoring depth it will not be a secret against the league’s better teams. Washington features three players in their top six that are likely in the top 10 at their position, but there isn’t much else to rely on behind them. I know the third line was the charm in their victory Tuesday but normally Eller, Connolly, and Devante-Smith Pelly struggle to be average offensive threats.

The Jackets, who were 16th in scoring this year, have three lines that are capable of scoring but that’s only because they’re willing to put Josh Anderson with Sonny Milano and Brandon Dubinsky on the third line to give that line a chance to score. Plus, he’s a right winger and the Jackets are loaded at that spot.

With the lack of depth on both sides combined with the youth of the Jackets, I’m curious to see how the teams respond. However, in my NHL picks I’m betting this one stays "under" the total as both teams will have difficulty finding their legs as the game progresses.

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