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Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Strategies

Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Strategies

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS BETTING STRATEGIES It’s time for the Stanley Cup playoffs, one of the most exciting events on the sports calendar. If you’ve been paying attention to our radio show or John Fredericks’ quick picks, you know that between us, we’ve provided some pretty savvy hockey betting advice this season. John’s been all-in on the Winnipeg Jets all season long, while I successfully called the New York Rangers blossoming into the best team in the Eastern Conference at midseason.

As we head into the playoffs, now’s the time to go over some Stanley Cup playoffs betting strategies. For these, I’m looking at betting series outcomes over individual games. Any team can win one game, but betting a series involves a seven-game chess match between the two teams and their coaches. Choosing the winner in a seven-game series usually comes with plus odds, especially if you can also call the number of games the series goes.

Here are a few Stanley Cup playoffs betting strategies you should keep in mind.

Analyze the Goaltenders

Never, ever back a team with goaltending questions in the postseason. Playoff games often come down to goaltending, because the teams get to know each other well enough that there are no secrets. When you face a team three times and then another four to seven, every aspect gets magnified. Teams will make adjustments, change up how they play and use the second line change at home to give themselves every little edge.

Related: Islanders vs. Hurricanes Pick and Prediction

Playing in front of an ace goaltender gives teams a huge edge in the postseason. With a hot goaltender behind them, skaters play with much more confidence, knowing that their goalie can usually bail them out if they make a mistake. On the other side of the coin, a struggling goaltender can melt down under playoff pressure. When that happens, it can become a snowball and turn a close series into a sweep.

Look At the Play Styles

The way teams play has decided series for decades. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, the last thing I wanted as an Ottawa Senators fan was to face the Buffalo Sabres. That’s because the Sabres’ style wasn’t a good match for the Senators’ speed-first game. Buffalo was a tough, punishing team, which didn’t work well for a skill-based team like Ottawa.

These days, Edmonton has run into its own issues trying to turn its skill into a championship. The Oilers have spent the past three years trying and failing to compete against the likes of Winnipeg, Colorado and Vegas. All of them played the defense-first game that kept Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl from taking over the series.

It takes the right kind of team to play that way, but if the Oilers run into a defense-heavy opponent, that might be the time to fade Edmonton and back their opponent to move forward.

Experience Matters

Experience was a big factor in the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in 2017. Photo by Chaz Palla/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Young teams that haven’t been there before usually struggle in the playoffs. It takes time to learn how to win at this level, and when a team’s making its first appearance in a while, it usually takes them a couple games or longer to adjust. That’s why one of the most important Stanley Cup playoff betting strategies is to back veteran teams over younger teams.

The 2007 playoffs offered two great examples. The ill-fated Atlanta Thrashers made the playoffs for the first time that season, but they found themselves paired with the veteran New York Rangers in the first round. New York won the first game and the young Thrashers panicked, switching goaltenders in Game 2 and again in Game 3. Atlanta never recovered, and despite being the lower seed, the Rangers swept them out of the playoffs.

Related: Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Pick and Prediction

That same year saw Pittsburgh make its first playoff appearance with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. In round one, the Penguins found themselves paired with Ottawa, which was making its 10th straight playoff appearance. The Penguins’ youth proved no match for the Senators’ experience, and Ottawa easily won the series in five games.

This year, Vancouver could be vulnerable. The Canucks have made the playoffs just once in the past eight seasons, and that was the COVID season. In the second round against Colorado or Winnipeg, they’ll be facing a team that’s been there before and knows how to win.

Check Out Recent History

Knowing how teams play head-to-head matters. The way that teams have played each other in the recent past will likely dictate the way they’ll play in a seven-game series. These days, there are few secrets. Each team has analytics, each team studies film and each team cleans up how it plays in between games.

So the way teams play against each other is likely to remain consistent. If both teams tend to put up a lot of goals against each other, that’s likely to continue in the series. If they play a lot of close games, expect a fairly close series. I used that to my advantage two years ago when Florida met Washington and the teams had played several one-goal games over their past three seasons. The Capitals were able to take two games off the Panthers, but Florida eventually prevailed.

Whether you choose to bet individual games, individual series or back one team the whole way, knowing the right Stanley Cup playoffs betting strategies gives you a big edge toward finding some wins. As with most things, knowing your numbers is the key to winning bets.

Author

  • Dan Angell, Contributor

    Dan is originally from Virginia and has covered basketball games across the country over the past 18 years. He now resides in Indianapolis and loves a good defensive showcase. His Twitter @danangell11.

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