After 2,624 regular season games and three rounds of playoffs the Stanley Cup Final begins Monday night between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the Penguins opening as the odds favorites at the online sportsbooks.
The Penguins have been here before, having appeared in the Stanley Cup final four times previously, winning three. It’s new territory for San Jose, who are appearing in their first Cup final in franchise history.
At online sportsbook Bodog they’re going with experience and have picked Pittsburgh as the favorite at -125. The Sharks are a +105 underdog to bring the Cup back home to California. This is a finals matchup that not many people expected, as the Penguins began the postseason as a +900 underdog to win the Cup, while San Jose started their playoff run at +1600.
The series opens in Pittsburgh, so naturally the Penguins are a -150 favorite in Game 1. San Jose is a +130 underdog and so far in the postseason as the underdog they are 4-2.
The Penguins and Sharks split their regular season series with each side posting a win. In both matchups the visiting side came out on top, both times as the underdog. Matchup history seems to favor San Jose as they have posted a 6-4 record in their last 10 games against Pittsburgh and an 11-4 record in their last 15.
At home the Sharks have owned the Penguins with a 10-1 record in their last 11 games. In the playoffs so far the Sharks are 7-2 at home and 5-4 on the road.
In a strange twist while the Penguins are favored to win the series Joe Pavelski is the current favorite to win the Conn Smythe trophy at Bodog.
Pavelski has been dominant for the Sharks throughout their payoff run with 22 points to put him second in playoff scoring. That also includes 13 goals, which leads all playoff scorers. That may be why he’s the Conn Smythe favorite at Bodog at +400. If Pavelski was to win the Conn Smythe on the losing side he would be the fifth player to do so and first since Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003.
Evgeni Malkin is the only player in the series that has already won the Conn Smythe and he’s a +900 underdog to win it again.