There's a reason the Colorado Avalanche have been Stanley Cup favorites for most of the season.
It's a good, deep team that was great again in the regular season. This time, they've been great in the playoffs too.
The Avalanche got past a second-round sticking point for them, and now it seems to be impossible to stop them. They're up 3-0 on the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals, one win from the first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 2001 when Ray Bourque raised the Cup with the Avs. Bourque is 61 years old now.
The Avalanche are a -130 favorite in Game 4 at BetMGM, and it's an interesting situation for bettors.
The Avalanche are clearly the better team. They have been on a roll in the playoffs, going 11-2 through the first three rounds. They'll be without center Nazem Kadri, who was hurt on a dirty hit from behind by Edmonton's Evander Kane in Game 3. Kane was suspended for Game 4. Kadri has been great in the playoffs and it will be a big loss if he's not back for the Stanley Cup Final (four teams in NHL history have come back from an 0-3 hole to win a series but it's hard to believe the Oilers will be the fifth). Kane is a significant loss for the Oilers for Game 4.
There's also a fallacy that teams will go through the motions down three games in a series. That usually doesn't happen. There can also be complacency from teams up 3-0, which allow teams — usually at home because they're down 3-0 as the lower seed — to steal at least one win. Most teams don't give up in Game 4. Especially when they've reached the Western Conference finals of the NHL playoffs. And the Oilers can score enough to take a game.
It's reasonable to bet on the Avs, but don't do it because you think the Oilers will quit. The Avalanche are simply the better team and (if they get by the Oilers) will be favored to win the Stanley Cup Finals, no matter if Kadri is out or not. They'll get a tough test in Game 4. Bettors have to decide if they're simply too talented to drop a game to Edmonton.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate on Monday:
A light day in sports
Over the weekend there was French Open tennis, NASCAR, golf, the NBA Finals, key international soccer matches and UFC. On Monday there's ... one hockey game and some baseball.
It's summer. The sports betting menu will be a little sparse until football gets going, unless you like betting sports that are off the radar. Monday is a reminder of that.
What is the slate in baseball?
It's a light six-game slate for MLB. It's not a great one either, though the New York Mets at San Diego Padres is a good game. The Padres are a -115 favorite. The Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels is interesting too, mostly because the Angels are coming off a brutal walk-off loss on Sunday at Philadelphia and are on an 11-game losing streak. They're still -125 favorites.
What's the best bet?
I do think the Avalanche close out the series, but I also like betting with a streak, and the Angels are on a really bad one. The Red Sox have been playing better lately and actually had less travel Sunday, having had to head down from Oakland. I'll take Boston as an underdog against a reeling Angels team.