Oddsmakers post rare 7-goal total for Penguins-Flyers Game 5
To steal a line from classic hockey trash talk, the red light’s been on so much the goalie’s got a sunburn on the back of his neck.
For the sake of Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov, we hope they’ve lathered on the SPF 50 heading into Game 5 of this Eastern Conference opening-round series. If the massive 7-goal total for Friday’s contest is any indication, both netminders are going to need all the protection they can get.
“I don’t remember seeing a total that high in I can’t remember how long,” says Jeff Sherman, an oddsmaker at the LVH in Las Vegas. “But I haven’t seen a playoff series like this in I can’t remember how long.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers have combined for 45 goals in the first four games – an NHL playoff record – and the Penguins picked up their first win of the series by a 10-3 score Wednesday night, becoming the first team to net 10 or more in a postseason game since the Los Angeles Kings in 1990. The combined goalie save percentage in this series is .765. That means almost 2.5 goals are scored every 10 shots.
Hockey bettors expected a high-scoring series between these state rivals. Pittsburgh boasts perhaps the deepest scoring attack in the NHL and the Flyers, who finished third in scoring this season, have four 20-goal scorers on the roster along with two others with 19.
After watching the teams light the lamp with ease through the first four games, sportsbooks dished out a 6.5-goal total for Game 4 (the LVH was the only book to post a 7), with the Penguins’ playoff lives on the line. Now, oddsmakers are venturing into unknown territory with the 7-goal number and getting mixed results according to the early action.
There hasn't been a 7-goal total posted in an NHL game since April 3, 2007, when the Penguins lost 4-1 to the Buffalo Sabres at home, and this is only the second time since the lockout we've seen a 7-goal total in a playoff game, according to the Covers.com database.
Mike Colbert, race and sportsbook director for Cantor Gaming in Nevada, says there has been some money on the under but that, throughout the series, the action on the over is eclipsing the under at a 75-25 percent rate.
Sherman also reported early bets on the under for Game 5, but he doesn’t expect that to slow down the flood of over money.
“In my mind, I thought we should shade the under a bit,” says Colbert. “I can’t recall a series like this off the top of my head. If there are any sharp hockey guys out there, maybe a few come out of the woodwork to bet the under.”
Books set Pittsburgh as a -180 home favorite for Game 5. Philadelphia is priced at +165.