Rangers’ Big Win Sunday Makes Them Live Underdogs Vs. Carolina

Task gets tougher against top-seeded Hurricanes, who could get their starting goaltender back
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The New York Rangers completed the comeback from a 3-1 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a dramatic overtime victory capped by Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal to win Game 7 Sunday night at the Garden.

Now, the Rangers continue their quest to make their first conference finals in seven years with a tough matchup against the top-seeded Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh starting Wednesday night.

New York’s mobile sportsbooks aren’t convinced the Rangers are legit just yet, which seems to make sense at this relatively early stage in their rebuild. The only one of the eight teams still left with higher odds to win the Stanley Cup is St. Louis, which has to tangle with the loaded Colorado Avalanche in the next round.

Odds lower at in-state sportsbooks

It becomes quite apparent which sportsbooks take bets in New York when you peruse the Rangers’ futures odds. The power of Empire State bettors to moves lines is on full display, as the bookmakers who have to contend with them tend to offer lower odds on New York teams.

The best odds on the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup are +1600 from PointsBet, followed by BetMGM and FanDuel, where they are +1400, and then DraftKings, which lists them at +1300. Contrast that with one out-of-state book, the Westgate SuperBook, which currently lists New York at +1800 to win the Cup.

The Rangers are +600 to win the Eastern Conference across the board in New York — and +675 at the SuperBook.

Value lacking in futures odds?

The website Money Puck, which simulates the rest of the NHL season 100,000 times to come up with its projections, gives the Rangers a 4.4% chance to even make the Stanley Cup Finals. It has the Blueshirts’ chances of winning the Cup at 1.1%, which makes +1600 (implying a 5.8% probability) look pretty unappealing.

Even the series prices don’t look great if you believe Money Puck’s projections. The site gives the Rangers a 20.5% chance of getting past Carolina, which makes the +160 series odds on them (implying a 38.5% chance) look a little short.

The Blues, by the way, have a 4.9% chance of winning the Cup, compared to +1700 odds that imply their chances are 5.6%, so they appear to be the better longshot play. Money Puck pegs Colorado with a 22.9% chance to win it all, which makes its +200 Stanley Cup odds (implied probability of 33.3%) look far too stingy.

Moderate series underdogs

The Rangers have shown they can come back to win a postseason series, but that might get more difficult against a far better Carolina team, particularly if the Hurricanes get starting goaltender Frederik Anderson back after he missed the entire Boston series.

In Wednesday’s game, the Rangers are getting moneyline odds ranging from +132 (at FanDuel) to +145 (at DraftKings), and odds as good as -170 if you play the puck line (getting 1.5 goals).

The Rangers were swept by Carolina the last time the teams met in the playoffs, with Carolina winning all three games in the 2020 qualifying round. The Rangers’ young core improved greatly this season, but Carolina is the more established franchise, looking to take the next step and win its first Stanley Cup in 16 years. In four games this season, Carolina won three times and outscored the Rangers by four combined goals.

The Rangers are in deep in this series, but they showed tremendous toughness against the Pens and have at least a fighting chance against Carolina. Given the unappealing futures pospects, you’re probably better off betting this one game by game and sweating it out, just like the last round.

Photo: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY

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