NHL Western Conference Round 1 Series Bets

Adam Boothe

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 10:14 AM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2019 10:14 AM UTC

There is no clear favourite in any of the Western series. Take shots, but proceed with caution!

<p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;GOOSEBUMPS &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#StanleyCup&lt;/a&gt; Playoffs begin Wednesday, April 10th! &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/nPqMtrjUV7\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/nPqMtrjUV7&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NHL (@NHL) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NHL/status/1115332481820045313?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;April 8, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>I am going to preface this article by saying it's not meant to write off the potential of ANY team, nor hurt anyone's feelings. As someone with no stake in the race and handling these markets from a purely investing and betting perspective, I am approaching each series the same way. If sports were entirely predictable, no books would be operational; so, expect the unexpected!</p><p> </p><h2>Nashville Predators v Dallas Stars</h2><p>We are set up for what should be quite the defensive match-up in this one but depends which version of Dallas shows up! The irony is they finished second in goals against this season, after dismissing shutdown coach Ken Hitchcock. However, on the opposite end of things is one of the most deep defensive cores you'll see in the league along with maybe the best goalie tandem in all-star, Pekka Rinne, and backup, Jusi Saros. The Stars are here due to some heroic goaltending from their own Ben Bishop. He posted a career best save percentage of 0.934 and truly remarkable 1.98 GAA. After the all-star break he went 12-3 posting 5 shutouts! These are numbers we haven't seen from Bishop since he was still the number one guy in Tampa Bay. A key to his success this season was the reduced workload and improved defensive play from a club not known for it. Now in the season series the Preds won 3/5, Bishop only played in one game which they lost in overtime. That said he did allow 5 goals. The two lower scoring games were won by the Stars on the back of Anton Khudobin posting 49 and 38 save performances while only allowing one goal. I think Dallas will need more of the same in a best-of-seven. The biggest concern for the Stars is their offensive depth. Outside of the top three, Benn, Seguin and Radulov their biggest offensive contributions were from their defencemen. Don't get me wrong, that is a potent top line and the Avalanche took a few games from the Preds in last years playoffs with minimal offensive depth. The best way to frustrate any NHL team is with minimal risk defensive-minded hockey...ONCE you have the lead. Coming into the post-season previews I thought I would be taking the Stars for how they finished the season versus Nashville's mediocre last 10 games. However, despite Nashville's finish I think it's just a better match-up for them in the opening round. They have solid goaltending, Dallas is equally susceptible at being outscored in the first period, and they have the better offensive and defensive depth at both ends of the ice...it's just a matter of putting it altogether for an entire series.</p><p><a href="http://affiliate.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&amp;a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828" target="_blank" title="NHL Betting Odds"><strong><em>Bet: Nashville Predators (-1.5) @ 2.11 [Pinnacle]</em></strong></a></p><p> </p><h2>Winnipeg Jets v St Louis Blues</h2><p>Blues/Jets is one of the opening round's more anticipated series. If the game is an open, high-scoring affair this match-up will go heavily the Jets way. The Blues are not that team with several all-star snipers; Tarasenko cannot put the team on his back the way other elite guys can. St Louis plays a grinding, defensive style. This season Winnipeg took 3/4 but all the wins came in the wake of the Mike Yeo termination. Berube had only been the Blues coach five days before their 8-4 smacking. They then went into Winnipeg two weeks later and posted a 1-0 shutout. Paul Maurice said it best this weekend, 'We never played that team.' The Jets have a size advantage, so maybe the best way for them to shake the Blues off their game might be physicality. My wager on this one is based upon what we've seen in the latter stages of the season and what I believe to be the more important focus in the playoffs, defence. A lot of noise has been made about the rookie goaltender Binnington and how his inexperience will play a factor. That might be true, but I also believe that, if needed, St Louis are capable of putting up a good enough wall in front of Allen if needed. They are simply playing some of the best hockey in their own zone; and it will be needed against this potent Jets offence. The series will begin in Winnipeg in front of the, now infamous, 'whiteout'!</p><p><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c" target="_blank" title="NHL Betting Odds"><em><strong>Bet: St Louis Blues (ml) @ 1.83 [Betway]</strong></em></a></p><p> </p><h2>San Jose Sharks v Las Vegas Golden Knights</h2><p>As I said in last week's Western Preview, whichever team gets the better goaltending will win this series. This isn't some overused, cliche expression. It is critical to the sport, especially this time of year when goals are at a premium and sudden death overtime can come into play. During the season that advantage went to Vegas, but Fleury also dealt with injuries at several points...which perhaps led to them starting this series on the road! Speaking of the road, one thing I have not heard the analysts talk about in this series preview was the Golden Knights road record. They're the only team in the post-season below .500! Is that enough to justify a play on the Sharks, certainly not. However, a healthy Karlsson might. I like the price for the series to play out differently than last year. Combined with their own equally potent offence, an experience veteran core, and a (hopefully) improved and focused Martin Jones this team has championship potential!</p><p><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18" target="_blank" title="NHL Betting Odds"><strong><em>Bet: San Jose Sharks (ml) @ 1.90 [Bet365]</em></strong></a></p><p> </p><h2>Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche</h2><p>There is only one area of the ice that the Avalanche truly have an advantage. You guessed it, in net! However, there's an asterisk here. Grubauer was the starting goalie for the Capitals last year before being yanked when they went down 0-2 to the Blue Jackets in the opening round. Perhaps it was nerves, perhaps it was through no fault of his own, but at the end of the day Holtby did what he could not. So even though I saw the Av's should have an advantage at this end, it really is not that certain. A Smith/Rittich duo could be more than enough to handle Colorado, as it was during the season. While I think the top line of the Av's is better than the top line of the Flames, playoffs have never really been built around the success or talent of only three players. Additionally, the three defensive pairings of Calgary are relatively healthy and have been consistently solid throughout the season. So even though goaltending may become an issue down the line for the Flames, I don't think Colorado has enough to punish them.</p><p><a href="http://affiliate.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&amp;a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828" target="_blank" title="NHL Betting Odds"><strong><em>Bet: Calgary Flames (-1.5) @ 1.91 [Pinnacle]</em></strong></a></p><p> </p>
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