NHL Western Conference playoff betting preview – defending the West
NHL Western Conference playoff betting preview
The Western Conference winner has been the winner of the Stanley Cup the last three of four seasons. A lot of NHL teams are concerned about the East’s Boston Bruins, but there are a few teams in the West who can beat Boston. Also, the winner of the Western Conference this year will have an easier road than in years’ pasts. The Red Wings moved from the West to the East and they will be a force to be reckoned with in this years’ post-season.
According to sports betting, the #1 seeded Anaheim Ducks are a (+850) to win the whole thing. However, despite being the #1 seed in the West, they are not the favorites in their own conference. The #1 favorite in the West are the St. Louis Blues (+600). Odds makers don’t seem to be bothered by St. Louis’s recent funk, in which they conceded the Central division to Colorado. Odds makers also don’t seem to be bothered that St. Louis will have to play the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks (+800) in the first round. In last year’s playoff format, these two teams would not have to play each other in this early, but with the new wild card format, these two teams will have to get it on right away. This series is almost like a Western Conference final and will have a major factor on the entire conference. St. Louis barely beat Chicago head to head in the regular season (3-2). The Blackhawks playoff record in the past three seasons has been very good (21-15) compared to the Blues (6-9). Also, no one on the Blues has a Stanley Cup ring, while there are 21 players on Chicago with NHL championships rings. Chicago may be prime for a minor upset in round one.
Another gigantic first round series will pin the San Jose Sharks (+900) to win the whole thing v the Los Angeles Kings, who are (+1200) to win the whole thing. These two teams will play each other for the third time in four years. Last year’s seven game series was brutal. San Jose has had to think about all year how the Kings narrowly beat them. In last year’s seven game series, the home team won every game. The Sharks have the home ice this year and have a lot of depth at the forward position. However the Kings have the NHL’s best goalie in Jonathan Quick. Quick has led the Kings to be rated the #1 defense in the NHL. He has a G.A.A. (Goal against average) of 2.00, the best in the league. Also, Jonathan Quick has the resume. He led the Kings to the Stanley Cup in 2012, when the Kings were an #8 seed. The Kings also have more experience, with 16 plays on the roster with championships rings. The Sharks only have 5 champions on their squad. This could also be another series where there may be a minor upset.
Although the Anaheim Ducks have the third best odds of West teams to win the Stanley Cup (+850) it should be noted they have a major advantage as the #1 seed. Not so much with home ice, but with their first round matchups. The Sharks and Kings will give each other beatings, as well as the Blues and Blackhawks. However, Anaheim gets to play the Dallas Stars in the first round. Dallas has not been to the playoffs in four years and as the 8th seed, they will likely exit the first round early. While the other contenders will be banged up, Anaheim will be able to rest up for the later rounds of the playoffs. If you are looking for a big pay long shot, the Dallas Stars are (+5200) to win the Stanley Cup, while the Minnesota Wild are (+4100). Like the Ducks, the Colorado Avalanche will have an easy first round match up and could be dark horse team to come out of the West. The Avalanche are (+1400) to win the whole thing.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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