Many New Yorkers will be pulling for the New York Rangers in the NHL Eastern Conference finals. As for the sportsbooks? Not so much.
“They’ve been bet during this entire year,” Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings Sportsbook, told PlayNY via email. “They typically draw an abundance of wagers but there was an inclination from Ranger fans that this had successful year written all over it.”
Early Ranger bettors get great value
John Ewing, PR data analyst for BetMGM New York, similarly noted to PlayNY that the Rangers are the sportsbook’s biggest liability in the East. The Rangers opened the season at BetMGM at +2500 to win the Cup.
Line shoppers were able to get the Blueshirts at +950 to win the East and +1700 to win it all on FanDuel Sportsbook NY before the Stanley Cup playoffs began.
Now, FanDuel has the Rangers at +160 to win the East, and bettors can get them at +650 to win the Cup at BetRivers NY.
Tampa will be much tougher test for Rangers
The Rangers deserve full credit for advancing this far.
But they also took advantage of backups and third-string goaltenders for the majority of the first two rounds.
Now, the Blueshirts face the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are looking to go back-to-back-to-back and capture their third straight championship. And, no offense, but Louis Domingue and Antti Raanta are not Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Igor Shesterkin will need to continue to evaluate his game while going against arguably the best goaltender in the NHL.
Tampa is the favorite to win the East after ousting the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3) and Florida Panthers (4-0).
Bettors can get value at FanDuel on the Blueshirts at +160 compared to -190 for the Lightning.
Rangers fared well against Lightning during regular season
New York did go 3-0 versus Tampa in the regular season. Granted, the Lightning have looked like a different team in the postseason.
It could come down to a battle of stars. Nikita Kucherov, Steve Stamkos and Victor Hedman all have multiple rings to their name.
Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox are all seeking their first.
Game 1 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers
NHL Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1
At Madison Square Garden
8 p.m. ET, ESPN