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Taking a New Route Out West
NHL Wednesday Playoff Betting Tips
By Bob Duff
The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs sees some new blood searching for glory. Not one of the four remaining teams in the hunt has played in a Stanley Cup final since 2007. Who will get the ball rolling toward the conference final with a Game 1 win? We've got the answers for you, based on odds provided by Bovada.lv:
Anaheim's top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell piled up 13 points in the Ducks' sweep of the Calgary Flames. Edmonton will look to match them with its 666 checking unit of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle but neither Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins can match up physically to the imposing Getzlaf. It may fall on Lucic to do most of the heavy lifting.
Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid led the Oilers with four points in Round One but three of those points were garnered on the powerplay. He'll get a steady diet of the annoying Ryan Kesler, so Edmonton will continue to play big Patrick Maroon on McDavid's wing to try to keep the flies off their captain.
Three of Anaheim's four wins over Calgary were one-goal decisions and you'll get odds of +525 on a Ducks one-goal triumph in Game 1. Edmonton were 2-1 in one-goal games in the first round and wagering on the Oilers to triumph by a goal garners odds of +575. But two-goal victories are the real money wins. You'll get +800 on the Oilers by two and +700 on the Ducks by a pair.
Pick: The Ducks (-130) and the under (5).
The Predators just made history by posting the first sweep in franchise history and now Nashville will look to reach the conference final for the first time ever. For the Blues, they reached the conference final last spring for the first time since 2001 but St. Louis hasn't skated in the Stanley Cup final since 1970.
Blues goalie Glenn Hall won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1968 and St. Louis netminder Jake Allen staked a case for early Conn Smythe consideration after posting a 1.47 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in Round One. Just one netminder outdid him and unfortunately for the Blues, it was Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (0.70 GAA, .976 save percentage). Allen's save percentage since Feb. 1 is .942.
Other than for 43:10 of their 2-0 loss in Game 4, the Blues never trailed the Minnesota Wild in the first round. Chicago held the lead over Nashville for only 22:53 of their first-round set. Predators center Ryan Johansen won 60.2 percent of his faceoffs in the first round. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo averaged 29:51 of ice time, second-most of any player in round one.
The Predators posted two shutouts in the first round and the Blues were blanked once, so perhaps you want to play a prop bet on whether both teams will score in the series opener. No on this wager is worth +375, while yes will get you odds of -575.
Bovada believes that it's more likely the Blues or Predators will either win close, or by a wide margin. The Blues posted three one-goal victories in Game 1 and a St. Louis one-goal triumph wager will brings odds of +525. But a three-goal win only gets you +395. Nashville won twice by one goal and twice by three or more goals. Either bet gets you odds of +550.
Pick: The Predators (even) and the under (5)
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