With the start of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals set to get underway in just over 96 hours, hockey bettors everywhere have one big question they need to answer.
Can Pekka Rinne and the upstart Nashville Predators stop Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins from winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles?
If you’re looking to find out what’s going to go down when the Predators and favored Penguins square off in the finals starting on Monday, then consider your ticket punched
Nashville Predators Vs Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Finals Odds & Pick
What: Stanley Cup Finals
Who: Nashville Predators (12-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (12-7)
When: Monday, September 29, 2017
Start Time: 8:00 PM ET
Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: PPG Paints Arena
Stanley Cup Odds: Nashville +125 vs Pittsburgh -152
Game 1 Puck Line: Penguins -1.5
Game 1 Moneyline: Nashville +120 vs Pittsburgh -140
Game 1 Game Total: 5.5
Stream: NBC Sports Live
Listen: Nashville vs Pittsburgh
Why Bet on the Nashville Predators
There are a number of great reasons to bet on the Nashville Predators (53-32-9-4) in the Stanley Cup Finals, starting with the fact that they’ve have by far, the best goalie in the postseason in Pekka Rinne.
The 34-year-old Finland native leads the playoffs in every major goaltending category and has compiled a stupendous 1.70 goals-against-average this postseason while starting every game. Nashville also has plenty of motivation as bating Pittsburgh will give the franchise their first Stanley Cup title while making the Predators the first 16 seed to accomplish the feat.
The Predators also have had the best defensive team in the playoffs and are clearly the better defensive team in the Finals after ranking a modest 15th in goals allowed during the regular season (2.7 gpg). Nashville can also put goals on the board after ranking 11th in scoring during the regular season (2.9 gpg) and sixth in shots per game (31.2 spg).
Why Bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins
Of course, there are also a good number of reasons to back the favored Penguins in the finals, starting with the fact that they have an explosive offense that ranks first in scoring (3.4 gpg) and first in shot attempts (33.5). Not only that, but the Penguins also have two of the best offensive players in the league in Sidney Crosby (89 points) and Evgeni Malkin (72 points) and another talented offensive player in right-winger Phil Kessel (70 points). Pittsburgh also has their own form of motivation as they look to become repeat winners.
"You talk about how difficult it is to get back to the finals two years in a row; when you’re seeing all that, you start to see it first hand," Crosby said. "We just continued to find ways and different guys have stepped up and we trust in that and believed in that whoever has come in the lineup has done a great job. That builds confidence."
Nashville Vs Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Finals Expert Betting Pick
During the year, the Penguins could be had as a +900 pick to win the Stanley Cup Finals while Nashville was a whopping +3000 pick at one point. The Predators and Penguins split their two meetings this season, with the Predators smacking the Penguins around in their 5-1 win on Oct. 22 and the Pittsburgh returning the favor with a 4-2 victory on Jan. 31.
For the Stanley Cup Finals, I’m going to urge you to go back the underdog Nashville Predators to get the series upset after watching them sweep a Chicago Blackhawks team that was favored to win the Western Conference this postseason.
Pittsburgh is missing its best defensive player in Kris Letang and I believe Nashville will be the beneficiaries of more scoring opportunities because of it. The Predators have held the opposition to one goal or less in a whopping 10 of their 16 games this postseason and I expect Pekka Rinne to keep up his goal-defying act until the penguins are vanquished. Nashville may be underdogs in this series, but they are clearly playing their best hockey of the season at just the right time and are the pick to win the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals.