The Boston Bruins begin their 2020-21 campaign against the New Jersey Devils Thursday night and the betting markets have swung drastically to Boston. The B’s opened as a -150 favorite on the moneyline ($150 to win $100) and they’ve already been bet up to -180 at multiple places.
That’s pretty expensive juice to drink in a season opener.
I’m much more interested in the total. Every game has a line for the expected number of combined goals. Bookmakers have it set at 5.5 for the tilt at Prudential Center. Conventional wisdom says the Bruins will struggle on the blue line this season without Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, but I’m more concerned about point production.
David Pastrnak is making very positive progress from offseason hip surgery, but his absence on the top line and the power play is going to hinder Boston’s ability to light the lamp in the early going. It’s also no easy task to replace Krug’s wizardry at conducting the man-advantage from the point. He was second in the league last season in power-play time-on-ice.
New Jersey is still a very below-average hockey team and it will be without the services of its top centerman, Nico Hischier, for a while. He suffered a leg injury training in Switzerland last month and there is still no concrete timetable for his return. The Devils have high hopes for 19-year-old phenom Jack Hughes, but let’s pump the brakes on him being an impact player this soon.
The B’s should be able to grind one out against New Jersey, but don’t expect a shootout. I have more faith than most in Jeremy Lauzon’s ability to hold his own on the top defensive pairing with Charlie McAvoy and I believe in the organization’s ability to develop younger defensemen across the board. Rask is a surefire candidate for the Vezina Trophy and that campaign starts Thursday. He’ll need to carry the mail quite a bit this season.
Bruins 3, Devils 1.
Under 5.5 goals +100
Tuukka Rask to win Vezina Trophy +1200
RECORD: (11-4-1, +6.7)