Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
The Anaheim Ducks will try to avoid heading home and facing elimination when they visit the Nashville Predators as road underdogs for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday.
The Ducks trail the Predators 2-1 in this series after falling 2-1 in Game 3 on Tuesday. Nashville has yet to lose a home game in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, going a perfect 6-0 so far.
Betting line: The Predators opened as -155 favorites (wager $155 to win $100); the total is at five goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report)
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.4-2.3, Predators (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Ducks can pay on the NHL lines
Anaheim found a way to win at least two road games in each of its previous two series this postseason, so the team needs to win Game 4 to try to keep that streak alive. In fact, the Ducks are 4-2 away from home in the playoffs, winning Games 3 and 4 against the Calgary Flames in the first round and the Edmonton Oilers in the second.
While they have no chance to do that here, they should be happy with a split, knowing they again have the home-ice advantage here if they can just hold serve and even the series.
Why the Predators can pay on the NHL lines
The main reason the Predators have been so dominant at home is goaltender Pekka Rinne, one of the favorites for the Conn Smythe Trophy right now. Rinne has allowed only one goal in five of the team’s six home games and remains the NHL leader in goals-against average (1.58) and save percentage (.942) this postseason.
Nashville is also a league-best 10-3 in the playoffs overall, giving up three goals or more in two of the three losses, with all of them coming on the road, obviously. As long as Rinne keeps playing this well, the Preds will keep winning and could hoist the Cup in June.
Smart betting pick
This is a virtual must-win situation for Anaheim, as earning a victory in this spot would give the team a load of confidence going back to the Honda Center for Saturday’s Game 5. Nashville would no longer be viewed as invincible at home, and the Ducks would know that firsthand by beating them at Bridgestone Arena.
Even though Anaheim has lost three straight in that building, the Predators lost twice to the Ducks by a combined score of 7-1 in last year’s playoffs before winning that first-round series in seven. Bet Anaheim.
NHL betting trends
Anaheim is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games.
Anaheim is 5-2 SU in its last seven games on the road.
Nashville is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games.
All NHL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.