The Montreal Canadiens began their playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets as sizable underdogs.
Now up 2 games to none in the best-of-seven series, the Habs aren't just prohibitive favourites to advance in the series, they're now getting the respect they deserve in each game. Betting markets have adjusted to the new reality.
Recall that Montreal was an underdog in each of the first two games, both played in Winnipeg. Now, oddsmakers and the betting public expect the Habs will advance as Canada's lone representative out of the North Division. The Canadiens are -625 to win the series. Betting the underdog Jets pays +450.
Sunday's Game 3 drops the puck at 6 pm EST.
The Canadiens are -135 on the moneyline. This has been a steady trend lately, reversing the "bias" against Montreal. The Habs were huge underdogs in each of their last three games in the Toronto series (they won all three at prices ranging from +165 to +190). Then, the Habs were +130 in Game 1 and +105 in Game 2 against the Jets. They won both of those games, of course – which puts the Canadiens on a 5-game winning streak as underdogs.
The O/U is 5.5. goals, shaded heavily to the UNDER. Here are the numbers at SPREADS.CA.
Prediction: Montreal still has some value laying only -135 based on how well they've been playing lately on all facets of the ice. That is -- if you believe Montreal is a team of destiny.
Indeed, the Canadiens might end up winning this series and advancing (odds say the Habs will advance 4 games to 2), but tonight is the one pivotal game where the Jets absolutely must show up. It's a do-or-die situation for Winnipeg, which hasn't played well in this series and to have any reasonable chance of making a comeback must win Game 3.
This is a rare situation where we are fading recent form and even some value with the favourite and make a play based purely in emotion and intangibles. Montreal is "due" (famous last words) for a letdown while Winnipeg is certainly capable of much better play than we've seen in the previous two games. This spells a minor upset for the Jets on the road tonight.
Final Score Forecast: Winnipeg 3, Winnipeg 2