Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals featured one of the most dominant performances you'll see from a team in a championship series or game.
Colorado Avalanche 7, Tampa Bay Lightning 0 was on the same level as the San Francisco 49ers beating the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV, the Boston Celtics' 34-point "Memorial Day Massacre" over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1985 NBA Finals or any other famous blowout. Any hockey team winning 7-0 is impressive, even if it's on a random Tuesday in February. To do that in Game 2, against the great Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, was mindblowing. Those who bet the under of six goals couldn't have imagined the Lightning being shut out and still losing that bet.
Colorado is 14-2 in the playoffs and has a shot at tying the 1988 Edmonton Oilers for best playoff record since the playoff format changed to require 16 wins to hoist the Cup. That Wayne Gretzky-led team went 16-2 in the playoffs and the Avs look like they're chasing that mark. Still, the Lightning won't roll over, no matter what happened in Game 2.
Tampa Bay is -110 odds at BetMGM for Game 3 on Monday. It is surprising to see both teams at -110 after what we saw Saturday night, but there are reasons to like the Lightning.
The Lightning is a proud two-time defending champion and they were just embarrassed. The same can be said for Vasilevskiy. The Lightning is not a bad team, they're back at home with their backs against the wall and they're coming off one of the most embarrassing performances in Stanley Cup Final history. That's a strong combination.
We're going to see the best of the Lightning on Monday night. The fair question is whether that's good enough to keep up with the Avalanche.
Colorado looks like it's playing at a different speed than Tampa Bay, which was a deserving Eastern Conference champion. The Avs look far superior to the Lightning, but it's only two games. That "Memorial Day Massacre" callback before? The Lakers came back after that Game 1 blowout loss to win that series over the Celtics in six games.
It's fair to believe the Avs are the superior team and will take control of the series with a win on Monday. But don't get caught up in recency bias and think that's a lock. Tampa Bay will rebound in Game 3. We just need to see if their best is good enough to slow down Colorado.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
College World Series continues
The College World Series rolls on, with Oklahoma looking early on like the team to beat. Texas, a co-favorite with Stanford when the CWS started, has already been eliminated. Stanford, the other co-favorite, could be done with a loss Monday.
Stanford is a -150 favorite vs. Auburn, and needs a win in the double-elimination format after dropping its first game of the College World Series. In the other CWS game on Monday, Arkansas and Ole Miss are both -110.
MLB plays on
There are nine games in Major League Baseball, with the 44-24 New York Mets playing in the afternoon. They're -160 favorites over the Miami Marlins.
The New York Yankees, even better at 49-17, are at the Tampa Bay Rays. Gerrit Cole is on the mound against Shane McClanahan in a fantastic pitching matchup, and the Yankees are -135 favorites. The over/under is just 6.5 runs.
What's the best bet?
Maybe it's crazy to get in front of the Avalanche bus, but I'll take the Lightning in Game 3. They're a proud team and I'm taking a lesson from my coworker Scott Pianowski, who loves backing good teams right after they've been embarrassed. Recency bias is helping you get a pretty good number on the Lightning in Game 3, too. They're not getting swept ... I don't think, anyway.