Behind The Counter: Bookmakers Paying Close Attention To Bruins’ Blue Line

13 goals allowed in two games raised eyebrows in Vegas

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A week ago, the Boston Bruins showed up to Edgewood Tahoe Resort in vibrant 1990s outfits and beat the snot out of the Philadelphia Flyers on national television to improve to 11-3-2.

Bookmakers reacted and made the necessary adjustments in their future books. Multiple sportsbooks in Las Vegas shortened the B’s odds to 6-to-1 or lower to win the Stanley Cup and one book actually made them a co-favorite.

“We lowered them to 5-to-1 to win it all,” Rampart Casino race and sports director Duane Colucci told NESN. “Their Stanley Cup ticket write is up there, but it’s nowhere near what we have on the Golden Knights, Avalanche and Lightning as far as liability.”

Boston enjoyed a few days off the ice then took a left hook Thursday (7-2 loss to the New York Islanders) and a right hook Friday (6-2 loss to the New York Rangers). Good thing I produced all that positive Bruins content this past week.

“It’s kind of alarming when you see Boston give up 13 goals in two games,” Colucci admitted. “And the Rangers are pretty horrible. I wouldn’t push the panic button yet, but I would still be concerned with the way the D has looked.”

Granted, the B’s played both games without the services of Jeremy Lauzon, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller on the blue line. Nobody wants to hear excuses, but that’s a ton of minutes to replace in the lineup.

“Naturally, we’re paying attention,” Colucci said. “You’re starting to see Charlie McAvoy play 25 minutes a night, too. Injuries take a toll on the remaining players when you’re down multiple defensemen. And it puts big minutes on guys that maybe aren’t ready. A lot of guys are under the knife.”

The Bruins were a very solid “Under” bet over the first month of the season, but four of their last five games have gone “Over” including the last three. And go figure, Colucci and his bookmaking peers are making it more expensive for you to bet the “Over.”

That’s how it works.

Sunday afternoon’s matinee against the Rangers has a goal total of 5.5 with -120 juice to the over. That’s quite an adjustment from Thursday night’s game against the Islanders when the total opened 5o-120.

“It’s easier to make adjustments on totals,” Colucci explained. “It’s easier than the moneylines, because we can see that the structure isn’t the same. The Bruins’ defense is a work in progress with them being down a few defensemen and they still have that offensive firepower.

“Thirteen goals in two games has us making adjustments on these Boston totals and we’ll monitor the situation closely until those guys get healthy and return to the fold.”

It looks like Grzelyck will give it a go against the Rangers.

Even though some people in Boston believe the sky is falling, Colucci and his crew are holding the B’s steady at 5-to-1 to hoist Lord Stanley. I’m seeing a 9-to-1 and 10-to-1 across the American market, so always be shopping around for the best number.

Colucci’s future odds will likely stay close to +500 in the short term, but a slide in the standings would certainly change that.

“A couple more losses to the Rangers would do it,” Colucci cracked. “When you start to lose to weaker teams, it raises red flags. The Rangers can’t get out of their own way and out of nowhere, they put up a six spot. If the Bruins keep losing to mediocre competition, you’ll start to see those futures odds raise up. We’ve still got them at 5-to-1, but we’ll make the adjustments if we need to.”

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

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