The Vegas Golden Knights will return home as solid favorites at the sportsbooks for Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference final on Wednesday after splitting the first two games with the Winnipeg Jets on the road.
The Golden Knights rebounded from a 4-2 setback in Game 1 with a 3-1 victory in Game 2, as they successfully avoided suffering consecutive losses for the first time this postseason.
NHL betting line: The Golden Knights opened as minus-145 favorites (wager $145 to win $100); the total is at 5.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.2-2.4, Golden Knights (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Jets can pay on the NHL lines
Winnipeg won three of four games on the road in the second round versus the Nashville Predators, including Game 7 to advance to the Western Conference final.
That alone shows that the Jets are fully capable of winning at least one of the next two games in Vegas, where the Golden Knights lost Game 4 of the previous round to the San Jose Sharks in overtime.
While Vegas has been good at T-Mobile Arena, Winnipeg is 7-2 in its last nine away from home dating back to the regular season, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, averaging more than four goals in those games.
Why the Golden Knights can pay on the NHL lines
The Golden Knights have won their opening home game in each of the past two playoff series, and they are 9-2 in their last 11 at T-Mobile Arena, including the regular season.
Five of those wins were decided by two goals or more, with the final margin of victory in the other four sitting at exactly one goal. In fact, the opposition has not scored a goal in its first game in Vegas the previous two rounds, getting blanked 8-0.
The reason for that obviously has been outstanding defense and superb play from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has continued to shine in net as one of the favorites to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Fleury’s numbers (1.68 goals-against average and .945 save percentage) are still the best among the four goalies remaining in the playoffs.
Smart betting pick
The adjustments made by the Golden Knights in Game 2 were nearly perfect, with head coach Gerard Gallant again proving why he will likely win the Jack Adams trophy next month.
The Jets will try to counter in Game 3, although they will face the same kind of raucous atmosphere they did in Nashville. While they enjoyed a lot of success at Bridgestone Arena, Fleury has played much better at home than Pekka Rinne did for the Predators. Look for Vegas to win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.
NHL betting trends
Winnipeg is 19-6 in its last 25 games.
Winnipeg is 4-1 in its last five games on the road.
Vegas is 6-1 in its last seven games at home.
All NHL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.