NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Trends and Analysis
by Dave Schwab - 5/15/2012
The NHL Conference Finals got underway this past Sunday and Game 1 of both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference series is in the books. The following is a look at a few key facts and figures for each series along with some current betting trends to help with your NHL handicapping for the upcoming games.
The Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes kicked off their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series on Sunday. Los Angeles improved to a perfect 6-0 on the road in the postseason with a 4-2 victory as a -111 road favorite. The total went ‘over’ the five-goal line. The Kings have been opened as -130 road favorites for Tuesday night’s Game 2 with the total set at 4.5.
Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar continue to be unstoppable for Los Angeles as they accounted for two goals and an assist in the win. Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick once again dominated between the pipes with 25 saves on 27 shots. The Coyotes got goals from Derek Morris and Mikkel Boedker and Mike Smith stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced. As a whole, Phoenix was completely outplayed on both ends of the ice all night long.
The New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers squared off on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. For the third-straight playoff series the Rangers grabbed an early lead with a solid victory in the opener. They beat New Jersey, 3-0, as -129 home favorites with the total staying ‘under’ the five-goal line. Game 2 from Madison Square Garden is set for Wednesday. Look for the Rangers to open as -125 to -140 home favorites with the total line set at five.
The Devils dominated the first two periods on Monday night, but Dan Girardi’s goal less than a minute into the third period broke the scoreless tie. Chris Kreider added an insurance goal and Artem Anisimov added an empty-netter to close-out the scoring. Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots he faced and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur stopped 25 of 27 shots.
It is no secret that a hot goalie is the key to winning a Stanley Cup, but all four teams enter the conference finals with a player in net that fits the bill. Of the 23 goalies that saw action in the postseason, the four starters that are left are all ranked near the top of the list in most major categories.
When it comes to save percentage, the Kings’ Quick ranks the highest at .947, with Smith right on his heels at .946. Lundqvist is third at .940 with Brodeur coming in at .921.
Lundqvist gets the nod with a 1.57 goals-against-average. Quick is second at 1.59 and Smith comes in at 1.87. The 40-year-old veteran Brodeur continues to turn back the clock with a GAA of 2.05.
The Top Scorers
There has been so much emphasis on the goaltending in these playoffs, but there are a couple of sharp-shooters that are still playing and having a major impact on the outcome of these games. Of the four team’s left, Los Angeles easily has the most firepower on offense with Brown and Kopitar. This duo has combined for 11 goals and 13 assists in just 10 games.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac have done the most damage for New Jersey with a combined 10 goals and 12 assists in 12 games. The Rangers’ Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik are the third-most deadly combination with 10 goals and 11 assists in 15 games. The Coyotes’ leading scorer has been Antoine Vermette with five goals and four assists in 12 games to go along with Boedker’s four goals and four assists.
Game 2 Betting Trends
Kings vs. Coyotes
The Kings are now 21-8 in their last 29 games and 4-1 in their last five games as road favorites. The total has stayed under in nine of their last 14 games as favorites on the road.
The Coyotes are 13-4 in their last 17 games but just 7-15 in their last 22 games as underdogs at home. The total has stayed under in 11 of their last 18 games overall.
Head-to-head, Los Angeles is now 7-3 in the last 10 meetings but still only 10-24-2 in its last 35 games in Phoenix. The total has gone over in five of the last seven games there.
Devils vs. Rangers
The Devils are 11-5 in their last 16 games in the conference finals and 4-1 in their last five games overall. The total has stayed under in four of their last six road games.
The Rangers are 7-3 in their last 10 games overall but just 3-7 in their last 10 games following a win. The total has stayed under in seven of their last nine games played on a Wednesday.
Head-to-head, the home team is now 4-0 in the last four games and New Jersey is 1-4 in its last five games in New York. The total has stayed under in three of the last five games.
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