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Western Conference Finals Betting Tips: Anaheim Ducks Vs. Nashville Predators
Who will advance to the Stanley Cup Final?
By Bob Duff
The surprise team of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators, will prove a formidable foe as they play in the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise history. Can the Anaheim Ducks solve the Preds, or will they become Nashville's latest prey? We break down the series with odds provided by Bovada.lv.
The Predators beat the Ducks a year ago in a wild opening-round series that saw Nashville win the first two games at Anaheim before losing the next three contests. But just when it appeared that the Ducks had control of things, Nashville roared back to win Games 6 and 7 and take the set.
Anaheim holds home-ice advantage again and the Ducks would be wise to hold on to it tightly, because winning at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena could prove a tall order. In fact, it's an order that no team has been able to fill yet in the playoffs.
Both the Chicago Blackhawks (0-2) and St. Louis Blues (0-3) were winless at Nashville through the first two rounds of play and Nashville is the only unbeaten home team left in the postseason.
A lot of that good work has to do with goalie Pekka Rinne, who has been otherworldly through the first two rounds of play. Rinne owns a .951 save percentage, 1.37 goals against average and two shutouts in 10 games. On the other hand, Anaheim's John Gibson shows a .908 save percentage and a 2.80 GAA in 11 games and he's been hooked from a pair of his starts.
Like many NHL teams, the Ducks prefer a style in the defensive zone where they collapse down low and look to block shots from getting though. This type of defensive system has proven ineffective against the Predators. With a deep, mobile puck-moving group of defenders, the Predators play more of a motion game from the back end and are not nearly as static in the attacking zone as most teams. Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban have combined for 24 points in the playoffs and if you don't pressure them, they will destroy you.
The Edmonton Oilers had no answers for Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf in the second round until they moved Leon Draisaitl into that role for the final two games of the series. In Game 7, it wasn't Getzlaf who beat the Oilers. Veteran Predators captain Mike Fisher might not have Draisaitl's offensive touch, but he does have a similar physique and is tenacious and speedy. He'll be able to contain Getzlaf.
Bovada is starting with a total of five for Game 1 of this series. Even though Anaheim and Edmonton went over that total five times in seven games, when it mattered most, Game 7 was a tight 2-1 affair. The Predators always play it close and have gone under that total in each of their last four games. To start off, you'll want to wager on the under.
Bovada has established up to date odds in their Conn Smythe Trophy futures book, and currently, Getzlaf is the co-favorite along with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin at +500. Rinne is next at +550.
If you'd rather more bang for your buck, both Josi and Ellis are at +1800. Gibson is +1200, and Subban and Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg are at +2200. Or maybe you want to go with Anaheim's Corey Perry or Rickard Rakell at +3000, or perhaps Nashville's Ryan Johansen (+2500).
Pick: The Predators (-125) in six games
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