Indians at Red Sox Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 5/23/2013
The Blackhawks certainly do not head into this game where they thought they would be. They were the best team in the NHL all season and the heavy favorites to win the Western Conference. They are up against a Red Wings team in definite transition — learning to play without Niklas Lidstrom after two decades of stellar leadership and defensive excellence.
It shouldn’t have been a particularly tough situation for Chicago. Yet, somehow, they have lost two in a row and are looking at a very big hole if they don’t win Game 4 here. It’s not like they have lost heartbreakers, either. The Red Wings have been far the better team in the last two on both ends of the ice.
Blackhawks at Red Wings Betting storylines
Two things stand out about the Blackhawks right now — things we aren’t used to associating with them. The first is that they are clearly frustrated. They have played with incredible confidence — the certainty that they were the better team and would win — all year long. Somehow, though, they Red Wings have managed to really get under their skin over the last two games.
Detroit is scoring pretty much at will at times — against the top defensive team in the league. Chicago can’t find a way to score — and they were the best offensive team aside from Pittsburgh. Chicago is more than good enough to beat these Red WIngs, but they won’t do so until they start to play their own game and get the Red Wings out of their heads. On Detroit’s part they just need to keep doing what they are doing. The best chance they had in this series — the only chance, really — was to knock the Blackhawks off of their game and set the tone for the series. They are doing that better than any team has done all year.
The second thing that we haven’t seen with the Blackhawks this year is that they are facing adversity. This team won their first 24 games. They slowed down only slightly before getting red hot again down the stretch.
Their first-round series against Minnesota was as dominant as could be expected — the Wild looked utterly outclassed. The first game of this series went exactly as planned as well. Now nothing has gone right, though, and they are clearly questioning themselves. These players have dealt with adversity in the past — like their early playoff exits in past years — but this current edition really hasn’t. You can never really judge how a team is going to respond to adversity until you have seen them do it, so we are in some uncertain territory here. Their inability to bounce back strong in Game 3 after the flat performance in Game 2 is a reason for concern.
What really stands out in this series is the coaching. The clear MVP for the Red Wings in this series, and in these playoffs, is head coach Mike Babcock. He is a very strong playoff coach, and he is at the top of his game right now after looking far from that the last year or two. His role is more significant than normal because of the change in leadership and his team’s shortcomings, but he knows just what buttons to push, and he is being decisive and bold.
Chicago’s Joel Quenneville is no slouch — in five years with the team he has five trips to the playoffs and a Stanley Cup win. In the playoffs in recent years, though, he has really struggled to get this team back on track once they waver. He needs to step his game up and pull a trick or two out of his bag — starting right here.
Blackhawks at Red Wings NHL Game 4 Odds and Betting Trends
5Dimes has the Blackhawks installed as strong road favorites here at -135. The Red Wings sit at +125, with the total set low at 5 points.
Five of the last six games between these teams in Detroit have gone “under” the total. The Blackhawks are 9-2 in their last 11 games in Detroit and 8-2 in the last 10 meetings overall. The under is 7-0-1 the last eight road games the Blackhawks have played against teams with winning home records.
Blackhawks at Red Wings Picks and Game 4 Betting Predictions
The Blackhawks, on paper, are the better team by far in this Original Six matchup. Home underdogs are always interesting, though, and that is especially true here. Detroit has won two games convincingly, and the mental state of Chicago is uncertain. Chicago’s goaltending has been unstable over those games, while Detroit’s has been excellent. Goaltending is so important in the playoffs. There is real value in the Red Wings at this price.
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