Four teams remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, and no one stands out as an overwhelming favorite. Both conference finals series are knotted at one game apiece, and every team has better than 5/1 odds of winning the championship.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have the slight edge over the rest of the pack. They’ve got +175 betting odds to win the Stanley Cup, via Bovada.lv. Having totaled the most regular-season points of any team still in the playoffs, the St. Louis Blues are the second favorites with +225 odds.
The underdogs in both the Eastern and Western Conference finals, however, have stolen home-ice advantage in their respective series. Tampa Bay is the biggest long shot to win it all (+425), but they took Game 1 in Pittsburgh, and fell just short with an overtime loss in Game 2. The San Jose Sharks (+325) upset St. Louis in Game 1 before being shut out in Game 2.
Taking hold of home-ice advantage might not matter much for the Sharks, who have missed the playoffs just once since 2004 but never reached the Stanley Cup finals. They went unbeaten in San Jose as they won their second-round series in seven games, but they were actually much better on the road in the regular season. San Jose won 10 fewer games at home than they did on the road.
Tampa Bay is 5-1 at home this postseason, and they’re looking to make it back to the Stanley Cup a year after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals. But even after stealing a game on the road, the Lightning believe they can play even better for the rest of the series.
''I think now that we've played them two times, we know a little bit more what to expect,'' Lightning coach John Cooper said. ''But I know we've got more in the tank than what we've showed.''
Tampa Bay Lighting (+160) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (-180)
Game 3: at Tampa Bay, Wednesday, May 18, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Game 4: at Tampa Bay, Friday, May 20, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Game 5: at Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 22, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Game 6: at Tampa Bay, Tuesday, May 24, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)*
Game 7: at Pittsburgh, Thursday, May 26, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)*
St. Louis Blues (EVEN) vs. San Jose Sharks (-120)
Game 3: at San Jose, Thursday, May 19, 9 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Game 4: at San Jose, Saturday, May 21, 7:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 5: at St. Louis, Monday, May 23, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Game 6: at San Jose, Wednesday, May 25, 9 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)*
Game 7: at St. Louis, Friday, May 27, 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)*