The Action Network: Canadiens vs. Lightning, Game 5 odds, analysis

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The Action Network is providing NHL.com readers with odds and analysis for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Today, a look at Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Canadiens at Lightning Stanley Cup Final Game 5 odds

Canadiens odds: +170
Lightning odds: -200
Over/Under: 5
Time: 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Note: If you’re new to betting, the Lightning’s -200 odds mean a $200 bet would profit $100 if they win the game. Conversely, the Canadiens’ +170 odds mean a $100 bet would net $170. Convert odds using The Action Network’s Betting Odds Calculator.

You could make the argument that the Tampa Bay Lightning put on their best performance of this series in Game 4. That may sound backwards since it was the only contest the Lightning lost so far, but the numbers show that Tampa controlled play on Monday night.

The Bolts attempted 28 more shots, created nine more high-danger scoring chances and won the expected goals battle, 4.07 to 1.65, in all situations. At 5-on-5, the Lightning generated 17 more shot attempts, had a 14-4 edge in high-danger scoring chances and won on xG, 2.76 to 1.14. That is the type of game that Tampa Bay, with all of its finishing talent and world-beating goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, wins nine times out of 10.

Is it possible that the Habs could win with another bend-but-don’t-break performance in Game 5? Sure, but I wouldn’t count on it. But I also wouldn’t count on the ice being so tilted towards Montreal’s net. Despite losing the first three games, the Canadiens have put together decent numbers at 5-on-5 against the defending Stanley Cup champions. In fact, Montreal’s two best statistical performances in the Stanley Cup Final have come at Amalie Arena, where they posted a 3.69 to 3.17 advantage at 5-on-5 in the first two games of this series.

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play. xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Those are not dominant numbers by any stretch, and you typically need to get more separation than that to beat the Lightning because of their scoring talent, goaltending and special teams prowess, but when you’re trying to come back from a 3-0 series hole (or looking for a reason to bet on a team to do so), you’ll take whatever silver linings you can find.

If you’re looking at it from the other end of the spectrum, say you’re the one holding a ticket on the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup and you want to know how much you should be sweating, you can sometimes turn to the betting market for some comfort.

Montreal’s win on Monday night does turn up the pressure a little bit on the Bolts, but oddsmakers still have the Lightning as -2500 favorites to win the series. According to implied win probability, those odds translate to a 96.2% chance that Tampa wins this series. The Lightning sat at -5000 and a 98.04% win probability on the series moneyline ahead of Game 4, so while Montreal’s victory on Monday night provided it a lifeline, there’s still a pretty steep mountain to climb for the Habs.

That said, those odds could shift drastically should Montreal pull off the upset in Game 5.

Rolling Parlay vs. Future

Right now the Montreal Canadiens are +1200 to win the Stanley Cup. If you believe that the Habs can pull off the miraculous comeback or just want to have some skin in the game and don’t feel like laying the juice with the Lightning, you should consider a “Rolling Parlay” vs. just betting the 12/1 on Montreal to win the series.

If the Habs were to win this series, they’d need to take every game, so you can basically create your own parlay by backing the Canadiens for Games 5, 6 and 7 and would likely come out with a better payout than what is being offered on the series moneyline.

Here’s how it would work:

If you bet $10 on Montreal to win Game 5 at +170 and they do, you take your original state ($10) and profits ($17) and then re-invest it on Montreal to win Game 6 ($27 total). If they win Game 6, you repeat that same process for Game 7.

The best way to check if your rolling parlay could have better odds than what is being offered on the futures market is to look back at the closing numbers for the prior games in the series to get an idea of where the market should be for Games 5-7.

Game 1: Tampa Bay -200/Montreal +165
Game 2: Tampa Bay -200/Montreal +170
Game 3: Tampa Bay -120/Montreal +100
Game 4: Tampa Bay -160/Montreal +130
Game 5: Tampa Bay -200/Montreal +170*

* – price at the time of writing.

Considering that the prices for Games 1 and 2 closed in the same range, I think we can safely assume that Game 5 will likely be in the +165 to +170 range. Predicting the price for Game 6 is a little more complicated since there was a sizable gap between the closing odds for Games 3 and 4. I’m of the opinion that the price for Game 3 was the outlier, but if the Habs do win Game 5, there could be plenty of betting support for them in a potential Game 6. In that case, let’s just split the difference and say a hypothetical Game 6 could close with the Habs at +115. Likewise, if this series ends up going the distance, I think you’d see Montreal close a little lower than +165, so I’ll say Game 7 could go off with the Habs at +155.

That would mean our rolling parlay would consist of three legs at +170, +115 and +155. If you plug those numbers into The Action Network’s Parlay Calculator, you’ll see that a three-leg bet with those odds should pay out at +1380, which is better than you’re getting on the futures market at the current price (and if you shop around each game, you may be able to find higher numbers than the conservative ones I am projecting).

Here’s how it would work game-by-game:

$10 bet on Montreal at +170, returns $17
$27 bet on Montreal at +115, returns $31.05
$58.05 bet on Montreal at +155, returns $89.98
Total winnings: $138.03

The rolling parlay can be used for gambling across all sports in certain situations and is especially useful during single-elimination tournaments (Wimbledon, March Madness). It also provides the added bonus of being able to cash out at any time if you’d like.

Michael Leboff covers the NHL and more at The Action Network — a sports media company that builds products and creates content to inform and entertain the sports bettor.

Listen: NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast with guests from The Action Network

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