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Thread: Ten need-to-know NHL betting notes for the Stanley Cup final

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    Default Ten need-to-know NHL betting notes for the Stanley Cup final

    Ten need-to-know NHL betting notes for the Stanley Cup final

    With the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators set to get the Stanley Cup final underway, here are 10 assorted stats and trends to help you determine which wagers to make:

    * Don't count on your sweep bet paying off. There hasn't been a four-game Stanley Cup final since 1998, when the Detroit Red Wings blitzed the Washington Capitals. Strangely enough, that capped a four-year run of Stanley Cup sweeps. Pittsburgh is listed at +900 to win via sweep according to SportsInteraction, while a Nashville sweep pays at +1,700.

    * Think teams that play more playoff games are at a disadvantage in the final? Think again. Teams that enter the Stanley Cup with more postseason games played than their opponents are 12-7 in the Cup final since 1992, while there have been five instances in which teams have played the same number of games. The Penguins have played 19 postseason games, which is three more than the Predators.

    * Expect the magic betting total number for the series to be 5.5 goals. That's the total for Game 1. Since the 2004-05 lockout, only two Stanley Cup finals have averaged better than 5.5 goals per game: the 2010 title series between Philadelphia and Chicago (7.83 gpg) and the 2012 final between New Jersey and Los Angeles (6.00 gpg).

    * While the Penguins (-152) are considered heavy favorites, they're actually a +143 underdog at a 1.5 series handicap. If you believe in Pittsburgh, you might want to consider those odds. The last five Stanley Cups have been decided in six or fewer games, and eight of the previous 10 finals have gone fewer than seven games.

    * Looking at a total games bet? The magic number here is six. It offers the best odds on SportsInteraction (+189), and with good reason: six of the previous nine Stanley Cup championships have been decided in six games, including four of the past five. Pittsburgh upended San Jose in six games to win the 2016 title.

    * An eighth seed has won the Stanley Cup just once since the league first adopted the current seeding system back in 1994. The Los Angeles Kings accomplished the feat in 2014, knocking off the New York Rangers. The 2006 Oilers also reached the finals as a No. 8 seed, but fell to Carolina in seven games. Nashville is installed at +120 to win it all.

    * If recent history is an indicator, the Penguins might have an easier path to its title defense than experts suggest. Pittsburgh has prevailed in eight of the previous 10 meetings with the Predators dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season. The teams did, however, split a pair of meetings this past season.

    * The Penguins employ two of the top three active postseason scoring leaders. Sidney Crosby ranks second with 157 career playoff points, while Evgeni Malkin is third at 153. Crosby is listed at -286 to outscore Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (+300) in the Stanley Cup final, while Malkin is installed at -154 to score more points than Filip Forsberg (+170).

    * Pittsburgh has been one of the most dominant teams at home during the 2016-17 season, entering the Stanley Cup final with an impressive 38-7-4 mark at PPG Paints Arena, including the postseason. The Penguins opened as -140 home faves for Game 1, but that line has since been bet up to -165 (as of Saturday afternoon).

    * Another reason to like the Penguins in the series opener: they've done well when given the opportunity to get a little extra rest. Pittsburgh is a perfect 5-0 in its previous five games on three day’s rest. Monday's Game 1 will take place four days after the Penguins eliminated the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference final.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 05-28-2017 at 11:50 AM.

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    Should NHL bettors be concerned with these referees in the Stanley Cup final?

    Stanley Cup final referee Kevin Pollock doesn't call many penalties. His 2.8 power plays per game in 2016-17 ranked as the third-lowest total among full-time referees. Could that hurt the Penguins potent power-play attack versus the Predators?

    The NHL has named the four referees that will work the Stanley Cup final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, which gets underway Monday night in Pennsylvania. Veteran Dan O'Halloran, working his 10th final - and eighth in a row - is joined by Wes McCauley (fifth Cup final), Kevin Pollock (second Cup final) and Brad Meier (first Cup final).

    Handicapping the officials is common place in sports like baseball and basketball ball, and NHL bettors may be able to find an edge with these zebras blowing the whistles. The Penguins are -152 favorites to win the Stanley Cup at SportsInteraction.com while the Predators are coming back at +120.

    Here are the specifics of each referee as they pertain to their performance so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs and how bettors should treat them:

    Wes McCauley

    Home team ATS: 4-9
    O/U: 2-8
    Goals per game: 3.84
    Home margin: 1.08

    No referee is involved in more low-scoring games than McCauley, who saw just 26 Overs in the regular season - costing Over bettors a league-high -$1,811 for the campaign (per $100 wager). That trend has continued into the playoffs, with just two of his games going over. Teams combined to average just 5.2 goals per game with McCauley on the ice during the year, while road teams managed just 2.24 goals per contest - the lowest figure for any referee who worked at least 40 games.

    It's worth considering that McCauley ranked fifth in Over units won among referees who worked more than 30 games in 2015-16 (+$882). And McCauley did finish tied for ninth during the 2016-17 regular season with 3.2 power plays allowed per game. That said, with the Stanley Cup often featuring more tightly-contested defensive battles and fewer man-advantage situations, don't be surprised to see some low goal totals with McCauley on the ice. Home teams also won 66 percent of McCauley's regular-season games.

    Dan O'Hallaran

    Home team ATS: 7-7
    O/U: 6-5
    Goals per game: 5.85
    Home margin: 0.43

    O'Hallaran has been the polar opposite of McCauley in the postseason as the only referee in this Stanley Cup quartet to boast a positive Over record. But that doesn't mean O'Hallaran doesn't have an outlier stat worth tracking. Despite what appears to be a solid home-team track record in the postseason, O'Hallaran was actually the stingiest referee for home teams during the regular season, with the host side going a remarkable 17-58 on the puckline for a units loss of -$4,173 - easily the worst return in the league.

    O'Hallaran's Over/Under record during the regular season was higher than McCauley's (31-34), with teams averaging 5.42 goals with him in action. But he only allowed 3.2 power plays per contest in 2016-17 - slightly higher than McCauley's average, but still below the league mark. The main takeaway here: O'Hallaran has been brutal on home teams so far this season, and while that trend has abated somewhat in the postseason, it's still important to keep in mind moving forward.
    Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Betting Preview: Predators at Penguins
    The puck drops on Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins attempt to win back-to-back titles against the Predators, who are making their first appearance in the Cup final.

    Brad Meier

    Home team ATS: 3-8
    O/U: 3-8
    Goals per game: 3.91
    Home margin: -0.09

    Two things stand out about Meier's regular-season showing: he saw plenty of home victories (65 percent, tied for fifth-highest among full-time referees) and worked a lot of extra time (32 percent of his games went to OT, the second-highest mark in the league). He also saw more Overs (35) than Unders (33) in 2016-17, but that trend has reversed in the postseason. In fact, most of what made Meier stand out to bettors during the regular season has gone the opposite way in the playoffs.

    Home teams averaged better than three goals per game with Meier on the ice during the regular season, but are averaging fewer than two per contest in the postseason. He's one of only five referees to work the Stanley Cup playoffs that has a negative home goals margin. He has also been one of the stingiest referees in the league when it comes to allowing power plays, giving teams an average of just 2.9 man advantages in 2016-17. Suffice to say that Meier brings a mixed bag into the Stanley Cup final.

    Kevin Pollock

    Home team ATS: 6-6
    O/U: 4-7
    Goals per game: 4.92
    Home margin: -0.08

    Pollock made it home on time most nights during the regular season, posting a 15 percent overtime/shootout rate that ranked as the third-lowest percentage in the league. Yet, despite this, he still saw a 5.58 goals-per-game average this past season, ranking sixth in O/U units won ($616 for Overs). He also ranks third in the playoffs in home-team puckline units won at $368 (per $100 bet), behind only O'Hallaran and Chris Lee. He ranked just 28th in the category during the regular season.

    Like Meier, Pollock doesn't call many penalties. His 2.8 power plays per game in 2016-17 ranked as the third-lowest total among full-time referees. If he works with Meier, you might expect both officials to let things go a little more, which will limit power-play chances for both the Penguins and Predators. That will keep scoring down, which is significant given that the Game 1 total of 5.5 is already high considering the usual paucity of offense in the Stanley Cup finals. The Penguins have a power-play success rate of 25 percent in the postseason with 14 power-play goals, while the Preds are scoring on just 15 percent of their man advantages for seven power-play markers.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 05-28-2017 at 11:52 AM.

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    Predators are the latest NHL betting long shot to take a run at the Stanley Cup

    The Nashville Predators are the big Cinderella story in sports after advancing to the Stanley Cup final as a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

    The Predators, who were as big as 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup, upset the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks with a series sweep in the opening round and rode that momentum through St. Louis and Anaheim to win the West.

    Now, Nashville is a +130 underdog to win the Stanley Cup versus the defending champion, Pittsburgh Penguins (-150).

    How does the Preds’ improbable run to the Cup final measure up against other Cinderellas on ice? Here's a look at all teams seeded sixth or lower in their respective conferences that reached the final, and how those teams fared once they got there:

    2002-03: Anaheim Mighty Ducks, seventh in West

    The 2002-03 Mighty Ducks kicked off an improbable streak of three consecutive low-seeded teams representing the Western Conference in the NHL championship round. Despite finishing 16 points behind the conference-leading Dallas Stars, the Paul Kariya-led Ducks laid waste to their postseason opponents, rolling past the Detroit Red Wings, Stars and Minnesota Wild while losing just twice on the way to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance.

    Anaheim quickly lost all of its momentum once the final started, dropping each of its first two games in New Jersey while failing to score in either of them. Anaheim responded with a pair of overtime victories at home, and the teams traded three-goal routs in the next two games to send the series to a Game 7. The Devils prevailed 3-0 to win the championship, but it was Mighty Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner after posting a 1.62 GAA in 21 playoff games.

    2003-04: Calgary Flames, sixth in West

    No team more perfectly summarized the slogging, defense-first style of the early-2000s NHL than the Flames, who advanced to the Stanley Cup final despite having just one player record more than 50 points in the regular season (Jarome Iginla, 73). Miikka Kiprusoff was sensational that year, posting a 1.69 GAA while recording four of Calgary's 11 shutouts during the year. Still, Calgary finished just five points ahead of ninth-place Edmonton to sneak into the postseason.

    The path to the final wasn't an easy one. Calgary needed seven games to knock off the Vancouver Canucks, then went six games apiece with the top-seeded Red Wings and second-ranked San Jose Sharks. But the Flames proved they belonged in the final with a convincing 4-1 win over Tampa Bay in Game 1. The teams alternated wins over the next five games, setting up a deciding Game 7 in St. Petersburg. The Lightning won that one 2-1 for their first Stanley Cup crown.

    2005-06: Edmonton Oilers, eighth in West
    Series price: Edmonton +120/Carolina -140

    The first season after the year-long lockout featured plenty of surprises, most notably the Oilers coming out of nowhere to emerge as the Stanley Cup representatives out of the Western Conference. Edmonton reached the postseason by the slimmest of margins, finishing just three points ahead of the division-rival Canucks. In fact, Vancouver actually finished with more victories. The Oilers needed back-to-back wins at season's end to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

    But none of that mattered once the second season started. The Oilers stunned top-seeded Detroit (which has shown up on this list a lot) in six games - the biggest upset in a Western Conference opening round that saw the top four teams go home early. A six-game triumph over San Jose and a five-game drubbing of Anaheim sent Edmonton to the final, where it rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to force Game 7 but ultimately fell short 3-1 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the deciding contest.

    2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers, seventh in East
    Series price: Philadelphia +200/Chicago -250

    There was nothing spectacular about the Flyers' regular season performance. They finished a distant third in the Atlantic Division race - 15 points behind division-leading New Jersey and 13 points back of runner-up Pittsburgh. They didn't have a single player among the Top 48 leading scorers, with Mike Richards leading the way with a modest 62 points. But like the other teams on this list, Philadelphia caught fire at the right time.

    The Flyers stunned second-seeded New Jersey in five games in the opening round, then caught a break when No. 6 Boston upended No. 3 Buffalo. Philadelphia needed seven games to dispatch the pesky Bruins, but rolled past the No. 7 Montreal Canadiens in five games to reach the final. Unfortunately, that's where the good times ended for the Flyers, who ran into a buzzsaw from Chicago and ultimately fell to the Blackhawks in six games.

    2011-12 New Jersey Devils, sixth in East/Los Angeles Kings, eighth in West
    Series price: New Jersey +110/Los Angeles -130

    As co-headliners of one of the unlikeliest Stanley Cup matchups in history, both the Devils and Kings reached the final despite being at the back end of their respective conference seeding. New Jersey needed seven games to defeat Florida before upending the Flyers in five games and the New York Rangers in six. The Kings had a much easier time of things despite being eighth in the West, cruising past Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix while losing just twice along the way.

    The Kings wasted no time gaining the upper hand, stunning Devils fans with overtime wins in each of the first two games in New Jersey. Los Angeles took a stranglehold on the series with a 4-0 victory in Game 4 before New Jersey made it interesting, prevailing in Games 4 and 5. But Los Angeles was not to be denied, rolling to a 6-1 rout at home in Game 6 to become the first No. 8 seed to capture the Stanley Cup championship.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 05-28-2017 at 11:53 AM.

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    Since the 2004-05 lockout, only two Stanley Cup finals have averaged more than 5.5 goals per game: 2010 (7.83 gpg) and 2012 (6.00 gpg).
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 05-28-2017 at 11:54 AM.

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