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On May 22, the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The odds have been against them in every game since.
The Islanders are two wins from playing in the Stanley Cup Final, and they've gotten this far despite rarely being expected to win. The Islanders have played 16 playoff games and have been underdogs 14 times and a pick'em once, on May 20 against the Penguins. The only time the Islanders were favorites this postseason was that May 22 win over the Penguins, and they were a slight -115 favorite. The Islanders have won 10 playoff games, often as significant underdogs.
It's no surprise the Islanders are underdogs again on Monday night, with +155 odds at BetMGM against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders are +170 to win the series, which is tied 2-2.
The Islanders' playoff run has been remarkable, and many games feel the same. The Islanders get out-shot or seemingly out-played, and in the end they've won the game. Here's a list of the Islanders' odds for their 10 playoff wins:
+120, May 16 vs. Pittsburgh
-115, May 22 vs. Pittsburgh
+115, May 24 vs. Pittsburgh
-105, May 26 vs. Pittsburgh
+165, May 31 vs. Boston
+120, June 5 vs. Boston
+155, June 7 vs. Boston
+120, June 9 vs. Boston
+165, June 13 vs. Tampa Bay
+105, June 19 vs. Tampa Bay
Those are a lot of nice paydays, especially on a team that is 10-6 in the playoffs. A bettor playing $100 on the Islanders in every game would be up $647 in these playoffs.
The Islanders won't score a lot, but they're good at preventing goals through good defense and goaltending. They keep games close. Of the Islanders' 16 playoff games, 10 have been decided by one goal and New York has won six of them. The Lightning look like the better team, but it seems likely the game will be tied at some point in the third period and then the Isles will be looking for the one late or overtime goal to win it. Bettors seem to be catching on; 68 percent of the money placed on the moneyline at BetMGM for Game 6 has been on the Islanders.
The Isles haven't received much respect when it comes to betting lines, but they keep cashing tickets. They seem like a worthwhile underdog play again for Game 5 against Tampa Bay. They should keep it close, then you just need that deciding goal they usually seem to find.
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