2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs - First Round Betting News and Update
by Dave Schwab - 4/24/2012
The first round of this season’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs wraps up this week and there have already been a few shocking upsets as the Las Vegas oddsmakers are going to have to reshuffle the deck when determining the new odds to win this season’s Stanley Cup among the eight remaining teams.
The following is a re-cap of a few things we have learned along the way as well a look ahead to which series have yet to be decided.
The Top Two Favorites Go Down
Both the Philadelphia Flyers in the East and the Los Angeles Kings in the West have advanced to the conference semifinals by taking-out the odds-on-favorite in each conference.
The Flyers ousted the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins in six games after building a 3-0 series lead. Pittsburgh bounced-back with two wins to make things interesting; including a 10-3 romp in Game 4 as a 107 road underdog, but in the end could not dig itself out of an insurmountable hole.
The Kings made short work of the NHL’s best team in total points by sending the Vancouver Canucks packing in five games. LA won three games as an underdog and was only favored once at home.
The NHL remains the type of professional sport where a team can peak at the right time and win a series it had no business winning if you analyzed the matchup on paper. This just goes to prove that just because the NHL odds make a team a heavy favorite and the betting public buys into the notion by driving up the odds, it will always be the right play.
How The Rest Of The West Was Won
With the Phoenix Coyotes’ 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, all four first-round series in the Western Conference have been closed out. The Coyotes won this series 4-2 after each team notched a victory in the first two games. Antoine Vermette led the way for Phoenix with four goals and one assist while goalie Mike Smith was spectacular with a .950 save percentage.
After losing Game 1, St. Louis closed-out its series with San Jose in five games with four-straight victories. The heroes for the Blues in that series were Andy McDonald and Brian Elliott. McDonald led the team in scoring with eight points and Elliott posted a goals-against-average of 1.37.
The Nashville Predators are moving on to the conference semifinals after ousting the Detroit Red Wings in five games. The only blemish was a 3-2 loss in Game 2 as -109 home favorites. They won both games in Detroit as heavy road underdogs. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was sensational with a .944 save percentage.
First Round Statistics
Philadelphia leads the playoffs in scoring with an average of five goals a game and a scoring percentage of 18.18. The Flyers were also the most dominant team on the power play, converting on an amazing 52.2 percent of their opportunities.
The top team defensively has been Los Angeles. It gave-up an average of just 1.6 goals while holding Vancouver to an average of 34.3 shots-per-game. Phoenix was the top team against the power play with a kill rate of 94.7 percent.
The top scorer in the playoffs so far has been Philadelphia forward Claude Giroux, who tallied six goals and eight assists in the six games in that series. The top goalie in terms of GAA and Save Percentage was actually the Canucks’ Cory Schneider. He finished with a 1.31 GAA and a save percentage of .960 in three games, but it was still not enough to save his team from an early exit.
Betting Trends For Remaining Games
Three of the four series in the East are headed for a Game 6 or Game 7 so here are a few betting trends for each:
Ottawa vs. New York – Game 7
Ottawa is 22-7 in its last 29 games in New York and the road team is 19-7 in the last 26 meetings. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 20 of the last 29 meetings at Madison Square Garden.
Florida vs. New Jersey – Game 6
The underdog in this series is 5-1 in the last six meetings and the total has been evenly split at 4-4-2 in the last 10. Florida is just 8-21-1 in its last 30 games on the road against New Jersey and 18-42-3 in the last 63 meetings overall. The total in this series is an even 2-2-1 through the first five games.
Washington vs. Boston – Game 7
The road team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings and the total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of the last nine games in Boston and in 23 of the last 33 meetings overall. The Capitals are 4-1 in their last five trips to the TD Garden.
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