Bruins Odds: B’s Freight Train Has Vegas Bookmakers Impressed

Boston is 6-1 to win it all at the Rampart

by

December 7, 2022

I finally felt the excessive betting respect for the Boston Bruins last week.

Eight days after flying down to Florida and potting five goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston was set to host the rematch at TD Garden. Las Vegas bookmakers lined the first meeting at a pick ’em but opened the B’s at -170 ($170 wins $100) on home ice. It was a rather eye-opening price shift from -110 to -170, especially against a team with three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances.

Taylor Hall scored twice and Jeremy Swayman stopped 27 of 28 shots en route to a 3-1 win for the Black and Gold. Sportsbooks all over America cleaned up, too, because most bettors saw a big underdog price on the Lightning and couldn’t help themselves.

The Bruins delivered, proving they belong in the conversation with the league’s elite.

“You have to make the necessary adjustments behind the counter,” Rampart Casino sportsbook director Duane Colucci told NESN. “The Bruins are dominating teams and their overall consistency is impossible to ignore. (David) Pastrnak has been off the charts and he’s a threat to make a play every time he’s on the ice. The goaltending has been really special, too. It’s definitely a team that’s built to make noise in the Eastern Conference.

“I’ve got ’em down to 6-1 to win the Stanley Cup.”

Bookmakers tend not to overreact to hot starts, but Boston’s scorching stretch out of the gate had the books scrambling to shorten their odds to win the division, conference and Stanley Cup. Remember, Circa Sports opened the Bruins at 30-1 to win the Stanley Cup, so a $100 bet made you $3,000.

The best price you can find today is +705 (Circa). That’s a precipitous drop in the market and a successful leapfrog over teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

Moreover, the Bruins are now a top-two team in terms of power rating at almost every sportsbook.

“They’re right at the top of the list,” Colucci said. “There are very few teams that match what they’re doing. The Golden Knights are up there, too, but I watch them all the time and they’ve been lucky in quite a few games. They get outplayed for 30 or 40 minutes and flip the switch. Boston doesn’t do that. And while the (New Jersey) Devils have the best record in the league, they’ll come back to earth a bit because of the youth and inexperience.”

Goaltending ultimately dictates how far most hockey teams advance in the postseason and there aren’t many combos better than Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. Both players have “No. 1 potential,” but their mutual respect and admiration for each other has cultivated quite a competition between the two.

“Ullmark (14-1-0, 1.93 GAA) is a monster right now,” Colucci assessed. “Him and Swayman are both really playing well. And of course, the Bruins’ tight defense helps out the net. You can’t ask either guy to win nine out of 10 games consistently because it’s unreasonable, but the tandem has been rock solid against very good teams. They’ve beaten a ton of competitive teams over the last month.”

The best part about this B’s bunch is the return on investment from the top two centermen.

You’ll likely never see a team’s first and second-line centers with a combined cap hit of $3.5 million again. That’s unheard of in this day and age. The last-place Chicago Blackhawks, for example, are paying $13.5 million cap hits to Jonathan Toews and Andreas Athanasiou. Yet Patrice Bergeron ($2.5 million) and David Krejci ($1 million) sacrificed their salaries for an opportunity to get the band back together and push for another championship.

And you love to see it.

“Give credit to the front office for pulling it off,” Colucci admitted. “It also tells you that those guys want to win. Having those cap hits so low allows the team to afford guys like Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm. And if a big name becomes available heading into the playoff drive, there’s space to make a move.

“It’s scary to think this team could get even better down the stretch.”

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Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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