NHL Hockey Betting:  San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals takes place Monday night in Pittsburgh as the Penguins take on the Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks at the Consol Energy Center. The Sharks are something of a surprise. They had one of the best teams in hockey for over a decade and never made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Now they have something of an underrated team that is supposedly in a ‘rebuilding process’ and here they are. The Sharks have gone through the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, needed seven games to beat the feisty Nashville Predators in the second round and eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games in the Western Conference Finals.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are definitely the ‘public’s’ choice to win this series just as they were to win the series against Tampa Bay. That led to the Penguins being an overwhelmingly high priced favorite against Tampa Bay–too high priced as a matter of fact. They were a -200 choice to win that series, -200 or higher in every home game they played and even a -150 favorite or thereabouts in all of their road games against the Lightning.

They’re not quite as overvalued here but as was the case in the previous series this is a dead even ‘coin flip’ type matchup. A pretty compelling case can be made that the Sharks are the better team. One of the most profitable concepts over the past decade has been taking the Western Conference team in otherwise even matchups against their Eastern Conference rivals. That puts us on San Jose due to the price alone. We might not be getting the payback that we did in the Tampa Bay series but the underlying premise is still the same. There’s no reason to lay a price with anyone in a dead even series.

San Jose’s Martin Jones might not get the media love that Pittsburgh’s 22 year old rookie phenom Matt Murray does but in my view he’s a better goaltender. The Penguins will also have trouble with the Sharks’ physicality. We like San Jose to win this series and we also like them to get things started off right with a Game One victory.