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Coyotes Blackhawks Betting - Coyotes Try To Pull The Upset Despite Being The Higher Seed

Posted by Don Melrose on 6/5/2014 4:24:12 AM

The Phoenix Coyotes have been one of the better and more overachieving teams in the National Hockey League over the past few regular seasons. Now, can they win in the playoffs?

Western Conference Quarterfinals: (6) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (3) Phoenix Coyotes  
Sports betting line: N/A

Why Chicago Will Win

When you place your sports betting pick on an NHL postseason series, it's hard to ignore the long and interesting shadow cast by the recent past. Phoenix has been a very solid regular-season team in recent years, toiling away in obscurity and a tenuous financial situation to cobble together a winning season and, moreover, home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs more often than not. Phoenix didn't earn home ice last year, but it did so in 2010 before losing to Detroit in seven games. The Coyotes once again have home ice this season, and they'll try to make it count for them, but history is cold and cruel in laying out the simple truth: Phoenix doesn't handle the playoff spotlight well. Ever since this franchise relocated from Winnipeg over a decade ago, it has never made the second round of the playoffs, going 0-7 in first-round series. In some years, the pressure of the moment grabs the Coyotes and smothers them. In other seasons, the Coyotes simply don't have as much talent as their opponent does. In this series, there will certainly be some pressure on the No. 3 seed to finally get out of the first round, especially since rumors about this franchise's future (and a possible relocation to another city) are rather constant and unavoidable. However, the issue that will probably decide the matter is talent. Chicago is not as strong as it was in 2010, when it won the Stanley Cup, but this is still a team with more skill at most positions on the ice. It has hardened, battle-tested players who know how to win in the spring, when the NHL spotlight shines brightest. It would be hard to pick Phoenix in this series, even though the Coyotes are the higher seed. Chicago has better players.

Why Phoenix Will Win

The course of this NHL season has enabled Phoenix to attain a higher seed than Chicago, which was toiling near the bottom of the Western Conference's eight-team playoff mix for most of the campaign. There is a reason for this. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford has been very inconsistent between the pipes, a main source of the Blackhawks' inability to get home ice in a first-round series at the very least. The Coyotes, on the other hand, have a strong netminder in Mike Smith, who has stopped 190 of his last 192 shots. Playoff games magnify goaltenders for better or worse, and Phoenix has the better goaltender, which suggests that the Coyotes will also have the better penalty kill unit on the ice. 

Who Will Win?

Phoenix will always put up a good fight… and fall short. Chicago is better, more experienced, and ready to meet the online betting moment. Take the Blackhawks in this series.

NHL Betting Pick: Chicago in six games

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