NHL Playoff Betting Guide April 14th, 2008
By: Our Staff
CappersPicks.com NHL Handicapping Staff
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NHL Betting 2008 – How To Bet On The Playoffs
I can’t see the puck. I don’t know what “offside” is. I can’t pronounce half the players names. Why are they fighting? These are all complaints and questions I get from non-hockey fans as to why they don’t watch hockey. But as far as the betting community is concerned, there’s only one question you should be asking:
Do you like making money?
If the answer is an emphatic “yes”, then welcome aboard to BetUS.com and the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs! Sixteen teams enter, duke it out in a seven game series and the two best teams from their respective conferences meet in the final showdown to hoist the trophy that brandishes Lord Stanley’s name.
The great part about NHL hockey betting is that it’s easy, whether you watch hockey or not. You’ll bet on the puckline, which is when a team has to win by 1.5 goals per game, or the moneyline which is just a SU victory. If you’ve peeked at any of the betting stats, you’ll see that the puckline is a tough bet in most games and that the moneyline will reward your betting faith at a much steadier rate.
So why should you bet on hockey? Basically this comes down to two reasons. The first is that it’s easy. The favorites usually pan out and reward their betting faithful. Secondly, it’s easy to predict. Certain teams don’t matchup well in the playoffs and that speaks volumes in the NHL. Of course you have your underdogs, but the new NHL is all about balance and size.
So who should you bet on? Let’s break it down in to three sections to make this easier. Consider this your 2008 Stanley Cup Betting quick shot lesson. Here’s what you need to know about the teams.
Detroit Red Wings (54-21-7)
They’re consistently the best team in the league during the regular season, and this year is no exception. They went 29-9-3 SU at home and were the third best offense in the league with 3.1 goals for, and only 2.2 goals against. You don’t need to know much, except that they are perhaps the most well balanced team in the entire league.
Montreal Canadiens (47-25-10)
Go Habs Go! Montreal is a great team at home as they proved by going 22-13-6 SU in the hostile Bell Centre. And they legitimately have the best offense in the league with 3.2 goals for per game. And the reason you have to love the Habs is that their depth is brilliant. They have scorers on every line. But the only thing I don’t like is their lack of size. Still, if they show the punch and physicality that they’ve already displayed against Boston, they are a solid bet…especially on their home ice.
San Jose Sharks (49-23-10)
The Sharks are perhaps the deadliest team in the playoffs because of their unbelievable team defense. They allow only 2.4 goals against, but the Sharks are perplexing. They have the offensive firepower to light the lamp – but they don’t use it. They averaged only 2.7 goals per game despite boasting three of the best offensive-defensemen in the league. Their persistence in allowing opponents to stay close, instead of blowing them out with huge leads will haunt them. And, of course, there’s the Joe Thornton curse. He’s like the Chris Webber of basketball. Or the Patrick Ewing. Lots of talent. No professional championships.
Pittsburgh Penguins (47-27-8)
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combined for 178 regular season points, which is absolutely absurd. For those that don’t know, a player gets a “point” for every goal or assist he notches. Their combined, explosive firepower is enough to make any opposing team cringe, and any betting investor smile. Their defense has been knocked all season, but they are faring much better at protecting their goalie. The inexperience they displayed last year in the post season has proven to be a motivating fire starter for the youthful Penguins. And Sidney Crosby will find a way to win. You can bet on it.
THE DEFENDING CHAMPS
Anaheim Ducks (47-27-8)
The defending champion Ducks look insane now that Teemu is back. But there are certain pieces missing. Dustin Penner is in Edmonton and Andy McDonald is in St. Louis, and those two young two-way players were essential cogs to the Ducks run of yester year. Their stats are all misleading because they’re a much different team with Teemu in the lineup. But with the rest of the West looking much stronger, Anaheim is a tough bet, even with the stingiest defense in the league.
THE DARK HORSE
Washington Capitals (43-31-8)
Two fun fact about the Capitals:
1) When you spell Alexander Ovechkin’s name in Russian, it’s spelled “OBE4K?H”. Yep, that’s a backwards “n”. But the number four is also the amount of wins that you need to win a playoff series. Coincidence? Ok, yeah it probably is.
2) Mike Green’s slapshot is so hard that it almost turned Patrick Thoreson in to a woman.
The only other thing you need to know is that Ovechkin is perhaps the scariest goal scorer in the world. As steep underdogs in our futures, the Capitals’ prolific threat in is perhaps the only player who can effectively dominate the ice all by himself. And that, in itself, is worth your betting consideration.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY…
Ottawa Senators – They’ve lost their two best two-way players and their goal tending is atrocious. And their fans are annoying.
Calgary Flames – As physical as they’ve been in the past, Coach Mike Keenan will find a way to lose. There’s a reason he was out of coaching for so long (the reason was not a good one).
Dallas Stars – Lots of scoring, an All-Star goalie and terrific coaching. But I just don’t believe that they have the star power to contend with the big dogs in the West.
So now you know the players, the teams and the coaches you should be steering toward and leaning away from., let’s talk logistics. More importantly, here’s a quick lesson on how to be on hockey.
The puckline is pretty simple, albeit devastating to the betting community. Winning by two goals is a stretch in the defensively minded world of the NHL. The puckline is the same as a spread, and is typically set at 1.5 goals for both teams. The moneyline is the easy bet, and the O/U is typically set at 5.5 goals as the total score.
The truth is that hockey betting is much easier than you think, and it can make a Saturday night interesting and help snowball your bankroll en route to the NBA Playoffs and baseball season. Do you like making money? If you answered “yes” to that question, then you should be betting on hockey.
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