The Wells Fargo Center was supposed to host the biggest Flyers game of the season on Sunday. Pittsburgh was scheduled to be in town.
Carter Hart would have been in net, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would have been booed every time they touched the puck, and Travis Konecny would have scored the game-winning goal as the Flyers, Penguins and Capitals continued their gripping chase for the Metropolitan Division title.
But the arenas are all dark these days and we know why. So we are left to manufacture our joy, such as watching the replay of Villanova’s win over Georgetown 35 years ago.
Jeff Sherman is the vice president of risk management for the Westgate SuperBook, and one of the leading oddsmakers in Nevada.
To stir some conversation, Sherman tweeted out first-round odds based on the standings when the coronavirus threat halted play. The Flyers had 13 games left; the Sixers, 17.
The Flyers would draw the Penguins in the first round; the Sixers would get the Celtics. April would have been terrific. Though each series would have been a pick-'em, the Flyers would have been favored if their opponent were different.
“If you looked at before the stoppage, the Flyers had a ton of momentum,” Sherman said. “But the one thing we have to consider when putting lines like these up are how popular the Penguins are in postseason, how much betting support they would get. We almost have to put a lineup leaning somewhat to them rather than what’s indicative of what we’ve seen recently.”
In other words, Crosby & Malkin bring the money.
Sherman’s lines assume that injured players at the time of the stoppage, such as Ben Simmons (stiff back), would have healed for the postseason. The Sixers announced on March 11 that their All-Star point guard would have been evaluated this week. Sherman liked the Sixers’ chances, even as the No. 6 seed in the East, against No. 3 Boston.
“We thought a healthy Sixers team would be a pick-‘em against a healthy Celtics team,” he said, noting that the Celtics would be a 2.5-point favorite for the games in Boston and the Sixers would be 4-point favorites for games here.
Milwaukee is such an astronomical favorite over Orlando that a $20 bet on the Bucks would bring back a penny.
Here are Westgate’s projected first-round series prices. Teams that would have home-court or home-ice advantage are listed first.
Flyers -110 vs. Pittsburgh -110
Washington -190 vs. Carolina +160
Boston -400 vs. Columbus +300
Tampa Bay -250 vs. Toronto +200
Colorado -155 vs. Dallas +135
St. Louis -180 vs. Nashville +150
Edmonton -120 vs. Calgary +100
Vegas -220 vs. Winnipeg +180
Sixers -110 vs. Boston -110
Toronto -700 vs. Brooklyn +500
Milwaukee -20,000 vs. Orlando +4,000
Miami -220 vs. Indiana +180
L.A. Lakers -15,000 vs. Memphis +2,500
L.A. Clippers -800 vs. Dallas +550
Denver -125 vs. Houston +105
Utah -160 vs. Oklahoma City +140
The number with the favored team (i.e. Utah -160) indicates the amount needed to wager to win $100. The number with the underdog (i.e. Oklahoma City +140) indicates the amount won if $100 is wagered.