Nothing in sports compares to the NHL playoffs. Four rounds of demanding action will take a toll on every player's psyche and body. You don't get to win the Cup without spilling some blood, losing some teeth and suffering numerous contusions and lacerations. But you won't need to suffer any of those maladies to succesfully wager on Lord Stanley's Mug. With so much parity in today's salary cap-based NHL, even an eighth seed is capable of knocking offa top-seeded club.
The Los Angeles Kings showed this could be done when they won the 2011-12 Cup as a No. 8 seed, a team that perilously close to missing the playoffs altogether.
That's good new for bettors because upsets bring more significant paydays and Stanley Cup lore is rich in shocking results that totally went against the form charts.
Best NHL Playoff Betting Lines
There are several ways to find the best NHL playoff betting lines. You can bet during the season on which team you think will win the Cup long before the playoffs get underway.
But if that's your plan, the sooner the better should be your plan of attack. If you see good odds on a team that you think will win the Cup, don't wait to wager, because once that team starts playing like the Cup contender you fancy them to be, those odds will dramatically decrease, so bet while the betting is good.
Don't be afraid to play the upset card. They call the playoffs the second season, and with good reason. Some teams are just more suited to playoff-style hockey than others. The NHL introduced the Presidents' Trophy in 1986, to be awarded annually to the league's top regular-season performer, but just four of the first 15 winners of this award also managed to go on to win the Stanley Cup.
What Are The NHL Playoff Matchups
Knowing the background of the NHL playoff matchups is crucial. Don't take it for granted that a higher ranked team in the regular season will dominate.
There are certain teams that just aren't suited for the tight-checking, physically-pounding style of hockey that permeates the playoffs. For instance, high-scoring, run-and-gun squads generally don't enjoy long-term playoff success.
Look for teams that display a consistent ability to play steady, solid defense. They tend to survive a seven-game series the best. Dig beyond the stats to recognize trends. That team might have qualified as a wildcard, but they may have owned the first-place team they are facing all season long. Big teams generally wear down smaller squads and teams with depth of scoring will usually outlast a squad that relies heavily on one line for its offensive output.
Former NHL GM George McPhee once suggested that they should simply rename the Stanley Cup playoffs "Goalie" because goaltending is such an essential requirement for success, so the smart money bettor is someone who knows goalies. Traditionally, there are some goalies who raise the level of their game in the playoffs - think of Turk Broda, Billy Smith and Patrick Roy from past years and and Jonathan Quick among today's netminders. Trying to beat him four times in a seven-game series is a significant challenge.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Tips
Unlike the NBA, NFL and MLB, the NHL does not create a new trophy for each season. The Stanley Cup resides at the Hockey Hall of Fame and the it's the same trophy that's ever so carefully transported to the site of each spring's Stanley Cup final once one team is in position to win it all.
Every player on the winning team gets his name inscribed on the barrel of the Cup and after the Cup is won, everyone on the winning team takes a turn lifting the mug aloft in triumph. During the summer months each player is granted one day with the Cup to celebrate their accomplishment with loved ones.
Players are very superstitious about this tradition and no one will touch the Stanley Cup until they win it and have earned that right.
And here's how to best bet on the playoffs. You want to first analyze how well each team fares against one another in the regular season.
This will provide the insight needed to evaluate which bets to make. Teams riding a hot streak entering the playoffs often have the best chance to advance into the deeper rounds. Number one seeds are rarely beaten in the first round, but oftentimes are upset in later series.
You might be tempted to take the team that performed best in the regular season but that could be an impetuous mistake. You'll want to look deeper, analyzing the Adjusted Efficiency Margin of each team.
The playoffs offer an incredible opportunity to find an underdog that has what it takes to upset a favorite. They may have entered the playoffs on a role and have a favorable Adjusted Efficiency Margin along with sound Corsi numbers. The Corsi Effect evaluates a team's puck possession and can be a very important stat to take stock of.
The NHL plays at a much higher speed than it use to and perpetually dumping and chasing is no longer a viable tactic for NHL Cup contenders. You need to keep hold of the puck to win and that's exactly what the Corsi Effect determines.
You'll also want to veer away from backing defending Stanley Cup champions. They rarely go back to back. The Detroit Red Wings, in 1997 and 1998, were the last team to win consecutive trophies so keep that in mind.
Finally, ride a hot goaltender until the wheels fall off. Netminders are the most important part of a team's playoff run. Stanley Cup winners often have a man possessed between the pipes. It's the most valuable position to a team in sports.