(77) Vegas vs. San Jose (78)
PICK: bet365 @ SJ (-167)
DATE: March 18, 2019 - 10:30 PM
STAR RATING: 9.0
EXPERT: Experts Consensus
EVALUATION: Loss (-1503)
4 of 5 Experts (80%) with a pick on the moneyline are aligned. 9* play on the San Jose Sharks (Straight-up).
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The Sharks split a pair of earlier meetings, at Vegas. Venue and schedule now in their favor, I expect them to have the advantage here. While the Sharks had yesterday off, the Knights were busy hosting Edmonton. The last time that the Knights played the second of b2b games, they lost by a 6-3 margin. Including that result, they're just 4-7 (-4.5), when playing their second game in two days. The Sharks are off b2b losses for the first time since January. They're going to be highly motivated to stop the bleeding right there and begin a new winning streak. Additional motivation stems from the fact that they haven't forgotten that the Knights knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The Sharks are a lucrative 37-21 (+9.4) the past 2+ seasons, when off a loss by two or more goals. Expect them to improve on those stats here.
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The Golden Knights are coming off a win on Sunday over Edmonton to make it two straight victories and eight wins over their last nine games. Despite the recent hot streak, Vegas still trails second place San Jose by nine points in the standings, so passing the Sharks for home-ice advantage in the playoffs is still a long shot. While they have beaten the teams they should, the Golden Knights have struggled against top quality opponents as they are 3-13 in their last 16 games as underdogs. The Sharks head into Monday just one point behind first place Calgary in the Pacific Division with 10 games remaining so all games are big at this point. San Jose has dropped two straight games and while both of those were at home, it is still a solid 23-7-5 at home including winning 12 of its last 16. The Sharks managed only two goals in each of the last two games but they are third in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.58 gpg, and will be facing backup goalie Malcolm Subban. Here, we play on teams in the second half of the season off a home loss by two goals or more, with a winning record. This situation is 212-131 (61.8 percent) over the last five seasons.
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With a seven point lead over the fourth-place Coyotes, the Golden Knights have a pretty good hold on the last guaranteed playoff spot from the Pacific Division. Still, despite a successful (i.e., winning) season, this year's version of the Knights appears to fall far short of the one which went all the way to the Finals less than 12 months ago. The Sharks, on the other hand, stand an excellent chance of eclipsing their wins and point total from last season and reaching the century mark for the second straight year. San Jose would like to be this year's Vegas, and make it all the way to the Finals for what would be its second time in the last four seasons. Vegas won at home last night, but they are just a .500 team on the road this season (18-18). Even worse for Vegas: this will be the sixth time this season that it had to go on the road as an underdog after playing the previous day. And Vegas has gone 0-5 in the five previous games, while being outscored in those games, 22-8. Finally, the fact that the Sharks have allowed four goals in each of their last two games (vs. the Panthers and Predators) has triggered a team situation which is 75%, as the Sharks are 18-6 (+12 games on the money line) after allowing four or more goals in two straight. Take San Jose.
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Take the Sharks: This is an outstanding situational spot for San Jose. After six consecutive victories, the Sharks have lost two in a row. They will be highly motivated for this home matchup. Las Vegas, on the other hand, enters this matchup fresh off a 6-3 home win against the Oilers on Sunday night. This marks the Golden Knights' third game in four days and second on consecutive nights. The Golden Knights have been terrible in the role of road 'dog losing 13 of the past 16 times.
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Best of luck!