Bettors Edge- Handicapping the NHL Stanley Cup Finals
Starting this Wednesday night at the United Center with Game 1 of a best-of-seven showdown, the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins will battle it out with the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks for the right to be called this season’s Stanley Cup Champion.
Neither team is that far removed from winning a Cup with Boston going all the way in 2011 following Chicago’s run to a title in 2010. The Bruins started this quest in need of a miracle just to advance out of the opening round. Down 4-1 in the third period of a deciding Game 7 against Toronto, they staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Patrice Bergeron tied the game at four with less than a minute left in regulation and then he scored the game winner in overtime.
Boston took full advantage of the momentum that was generated from this win by eliminating New York in five games and sweeping Pittsburgh in four-straight games by a combined score of 12-2. The total has gone 7-7-2 its 14 playoff games but it has stayed UNDER in four of its last five games.
The Blackhawks won the President’s Trophy for the most points in the regular season and parlayed that success into a first-round victory over Minnesota in five games. Against Central Division rival Detroit, they won Game 1 with ease in a 4-1 rout as 191 home favorites, but the wheels came off in the next three games in losses by a combined score of 9-2. Facing elimination, Chicago quickly returned to form with three-straight victories by a combined score of 10-5 to advance to the conference finals. From there, they rolled over the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in five games to set up this clash against the Bruins.
The total has gone 5-7-5 in the Blackhawks 17 postseason games, but it has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in nine of their last 12 games. The total line has been set a five for all 17 games.
Tuukka Rask has gone the distance in goal for Boston and comes in with a goals-against-average of 1.75 and a .943 save percentage. His counterpart with the Blackhawks is Corey Crawford, who has started every postseason game as well. He has a 1.74 GAA and a save percentage of .935.
Looking at the current odds for the series price, BetOnline has opened Boston as a +120 underdog with Chicago listed as a -140 favorite. The Bruins head on the road to start this series as 132 underdogs in Wednesday’s Game 1 with the Blackhawks opened as 145 favorites at home. The total has once again been set at five.
These two teams did not meet this season due to the shortened regular season schedule, but the Bruins have won six of the last eight meetings dating back to the 2006 season. The total has stayed UNDER in four of the previous seven games between the two.