Odda and Bets: Panthers near do-or-die territory vs. Golden Knights

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Jun 08, 2023

Thursday's Odds and Bets looks at the Stanley Cup Final as the series shifts to Florida for Game 3, then it's on to some Canadian content in the golf world at the RBC Canadian Open, before moving to the diamond as the Jays and Astros finish a four-game set in Toronto.

Today’s Sports Betting Picks – Thursday, June 8, 2023 

Florida Panthers vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Series Winner
  • Vegas Golden Knights -1250
  • Florida Panthers +883

Golden Knights at Panthers Game 3: Panther pride?

It’s pretty close to do-or-die territory for the Florida Panthers as the Stanley Cup Final moves to Sunrise for Game 3 on Thursday.

The Panthers were manhandled by Vegas in the first two games of the series. The Golden Knights took Game 1 by a 5-2 score, before dominating Game 2 with a 7-2 victory. Adding more doubt to Florida fans’ minds is Vegas’ 6-2 record and plus-16 goal differential on the road this postseason.

The Panthers haven’t hosted a Stanley Cup Final game since 1996 when they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche. Nearly three decades later, Florida is in serious jeopardy of repeating history. Changing that history starts with Game 3. Mentally, there’s a big difference between a 3-0 series and a 2-1 series.

The difficult reality for the Panthers is they will need to rely on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to stand on his head if they want to make this a series. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner stopped 29 of 33 shots faced in Game 1, but he was chased from the net in the second period of Game 2 after allowing four goals on 13 shots.

Entering the Stanley Cup Final, Bobrovsky had been the favourite to win the Conn Smythe. Prior to the series, he had won 11 of his last 12 starts, posting a 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage during that stretch. In 87 minutes of game time against Vegas, Bobrovsky has allowed eight goals, posting a 5.52 GAA and .826 SV.

Chasing goalies is just what the Golden Knights do as Vegas has forced opponents to pull their goalies five times over their last 12 games.

For anyone thinking Florida is bound to earn at least a split at home, you might want to think again. The Panthers are just 4-3 at home in the playoffs and they have been outscored 22-20 during that stretch. The Golden Knights smell blood in the water and will only play harder as they get closer to lifting the Stanley Cup.

Teams that take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final are 31-3 in the expansion era.

NHL best bet: Vegas sweeps series (+315)

Vegas Golden Knights @ Florida Panthers (Thursday, Jun 8 2023 8:20pm)

  • Vegas Golden Knights -240 +1
  • Florida Panthers +199 -1

RBC Canadian Open: Conners’ Canadian content

There’s plenty of Canadian content at this year’s RBC Canadian Open, with the standout player being Listowel, Ontario’s Corey Conners. The 31-year-old is currently ranked No. 29 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He has competed in 16 events this season, making the cut 12 times. He has two top-10 finishes, including his second career victory at the Valero Texas Open in April.

Since Conners’ first career PGA Tour victory at the 2019 Valero Texas Open, the Canadian has established himself as an elite player of the PGA Tour. He has three top-10 finishes at the Masters, with his highest career ranking peaking at No. 25 last year.

Can Conners become the first Canadian since 1954 to win the RBC Canadian Open?

PGA best bet: Toss a toonie on Conners to win, but don’t bet the farm (+6600)

2023 Open Championship

  • Corey Conners +7500

Astros at Blue Jays: Series finale

After opening their four-game home set against the Houston Astros with an 11-4 loss on Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays have bounced back with a 5-1 win on Tuesday and a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. The Jays have won six of their last seven games, with Wednesday marking their 14th comeback victory this season. Houston has dropped eight of their last 27 games.

Bo Bichette hit his team-leading 14th home run of the season on Wednesday, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is still without a homer at Rogers Centre this year.

Second baseman Jose Altuve was back in Houston’s lineup on Wednesday after missing four games with a right oblique injury. Altuve was 0-for-4 batting. Mauricio Dubon has continued to stay hot, hitting 3-for-4 with a double on Wednesday. Dubon has a hit in each of his last five games, batting .409 (9-for-22) with a double, a homer and two RBIs over that stretch.

Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios gets the ball for the series finale on Thursday. He’ll try to follow strong starts from Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassit after Alek Manoah’s meltdown on Monday. Berrios has a 5-4 record this season with a 3.66 ERA. In 71.1 innings pitched, Berrios has 68 strikeouts and 22 walks.

This will be Berrios’ second time facing the Astros this season. He lasted seven innings in an April 19 start, allowing two runs on three hits in an 8-1 loss. In eight careers starts against Houston, Berrios is 4-4 with a 4.43 ERA.

The Astros will send left-hander Framber Valdez to the mound. Valdez is 6-4 with a 2.16 ERA. In 79 innings pitched, Valdez has recorded 84 strikeouts and just 16 walks. He is 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

MLB best bet: Vladdy breaks through with his first home field homer (+500)

MLB 2023 - Series Winner - Toronto Blue Jays vs Houston Astros (4 games 05.06.-08.06.)

  • Toronto +164
  • Draw +149
  • Houston +244