Yesterday I happened to be watching some old NHL highlights, focused on one of the great all-time players, Bobby Orr.
Orr helped make the Boston Bruins a Stanley Cup champion after years of ineptitude, but as BetOnline customers may be well aware, his lasting contribution to the game was in the way he transformed it.
Before he came along, defensemen didn't really feel they had "permission" to be forceful on the offensive end. But Orr changed all that, in the biggest way possible. He was a scoring champion, something that was unheard of for a backliner. And he ushered in a new era, where a slew of D-men followed him into the offensive end - people like Brad Park, Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque, just to name a few.
In this year's Stanley Cup Finals, we have two defensemen who are in that tradition. Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are absolute mainstays for their teams, and in the one or two games remaining they are likely to play a major role.
It is natural, then, that they are going to be the subject of some props, especially when you have an apparatus as expansive as that of Prop Builder, available at BetOnline. So let's explore this.
First of all, both of these guys are relative longshots to score the first goal of Game 6 (8:15 PM ET, ABC). Makar is priced at +1600, while Hedman is +1800. We did hit nicely with an "anytime" goal prop with Makar in Game 5.
And they have a better chance to score if they can generate more shots on goal. Let's first take the case of Makar. Here are his over-under numbers for that stat:
Over 3.5 Shots -150
Under 3.5 Shots +114
Makar is a force of nature. As a rookie, he won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) and was part of the first NHL All-Star team last season. This year he added to his resume by taking home the Norris Trophy, awarded to the best defenseman. He is the anchor of this Colorado attack, and has registered far more ice time than anyone else on the roster, averaging almost 26 minutes per game. And so far, he has led everyone in the series in playing time.
He came alive as an offensive force this season, with 240 shots and 28 goals in 77 games. if you like analytics, you'll enjoy the fact that he is calculated to be worth 5.4 wins for his team this season, which is astronomical. And in his playoff acareer, his team has had a Corsi figure of 61% (excellent) with him on the ice.
In the Finals, he has three goals (one of those short-handed) and four assists with 19 shots on goal, averaging 27:35 of ice time. So there is little question that he is one of the genuine workhorses in this league.
Here is the over-under for Hedman's shots:
Over 2.5 Shots -197
Under 2.5 Shots +150
Hedman has been in the NHL for 13 seasons. He has won the Norris Trophy and in 2020 captured Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP). And he has been on either the first or second NHL All-Star team for the last six years. He finished third in this year's Norris balloting, behind Makar and Roman Josi of Nashville. This was the seventh straight season in which he was a Norris finalist.
The Lightning have not generated as much offense as the Avs in this postseason. But he still has 20 shots on goal to lead his team. And that's more than Makar.
He's had a lot of shot attempts in this postseason - 137 in 22 games - as compared to 96 in 23 games last year. Makar has been able to get off more shots on average - 156 in 19 games. His team plays a more attacking style, and the Avalanche has been able to really put the pressure on Andrei Vasilevskiy, averaging 36 shots per contest through Game 5.
I don't think I would lay almost 2-1 on Hedman, although he's a good possibility to reach that threshold. You're probably better off aiming high here, with a small play on him reaching five shots at +231.
But the -150 price may work with Makar. We knwo he's not going to get cheated on his time, his team has a better power play, and they are much more likely to have more shot attempts and shost on goal.
Plus, the guy is a certified beast. Even Bobby Orr would probably tell you.
Wayne Gretzky is sure of it. He says of Makar, “I would say probably, the closest player we’ve ever seen that offensively and defensively can make an impact on the game that much, probably Bobby Orr.”
Good luck tonight.
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