Western Conference Round Two Series Bets: NHL Predictions

Adam Boothe

Thursday, April 25, 2019 1:19 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 1:19 PM UTC

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

<p>The caption of round one's article was 'there is no clear favourites in the Western series', and boy did that ring true. Based on the pre-series odds, only the St Louis Blues emerged victorious on the 'chalky' side. As a general disclaimer, what you're about to read is my take on the round two match-ups, but I never discount the likelihood for surprises along the way.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The 2019 Second Round opens with a doubleheader Thursday, in Boston and St. Louis.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Full schedule : &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/4KXeTPdFPw\"&gt;https://t.co/4KXeTPdFPw&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#StanleyCup&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/bZFf8PTVf8\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/bZFf8PTVf8&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/1121259814062100482?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;April 25, 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> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2><strong>Dallas Stars v St Louis Blues</strong></h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>These teams are here on the backs of arguably the two most stellar netminders through the second half of the season and into round one. Of goalies who played at least six games in round one, Ben Bishop posted the highest save percentage while allowing a 1.9 goals against average. Jordan Binnington was no slouch either, he did face an arguably more potent offence in the Winnipeg Jets but, of the goalies from winning teams, had the second worst numbers. However, it is certainly not just about the statistics. If you watched that series, Binnington saved the Blues in just about every game...multiple times. We aren't talking about him being solid, I mean highlight reel saves half a dozen moments in a game....well maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. I think what is most remarkable about the Stars team is the defensive numbers from their top line. Radulov and Seguin were both in the top five among playoff forwards in +/-. Additionally, Radulov led the way among all skaters in the opening round with a +7 rating. Looking over the projections, every single outcome has it going seven games and always with the Blues on top. My personal take is that these two can both play the same no room to breathe style of hockey and either team (I really believe this) could win this in four or five games. The value is entirely on the Stars here and I was certainly surprised by the current line. My one issue with what they're doing at the moment is with their defensive depth. Their big three of Heiskanen, Lindell, and Klingberg are playing the lions share of minutes. Contrast this with a Blues defensive core that did not have one defenceman averaging over 23 minutes a night. You would have to go back to the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks to find a team that lifted the cup while playing essentially only 3-4 defencemen. While it may not be a problem for the Stars in only round two, it is something to keep in mind going forward.</p><p> </p><p>In my outrights article I posted both Sharks and Blues to win the West and as they're both through to the second round, don't need to continually throw money at the same outcomes. So I won't get involved with St Louis at this price, my recommendation is to do one of the following:</p><p>-take Stars +1.5 @ 1.63 [<a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&amp;a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&amp;f=1" target="_blank">Pinnacle</a>]</p><p>-wait to see if Blues fall behind by a game and then get involved</p><p> </p><p><strong>To Score Most Points in Series</strong></p><p>Radulov (ml) v Perron @ 1.72 [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&amp;f=1" target="_blank">Unibet</a>]</p><p>Not sure why Unibet is even offering this head to head. Perhaps Perron is expected to be given the task of sticking to Radulov when he's on the ice, but there is immense value to take the Star here.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>What contrasting series these two teams just completed. After dropping their opening game on the road to Western leaders, Calgary, the Avs swept the remaining four. They did so in impressive fashion too completing third-period comebacks and winning in overtime while also just simply rolling over the Flames. Similarly to the Jackets/Lightning series, this one never really felt as though Calgary put up much of a fight. Some of the games were close for a time, but the 'dog' here was the much better team through and through. Additionally, Grubauer had some stellar numbers posting a 1.9 GAA and 0.939 save percentage. On the offensive side of things, Colorado continued to get big contributions from stars Rantanen and MacKinnon. Their defensive core rotated regularly, with only Barrie getting slightly more minutes due to his powerplay skills, contributing four points.</p><p>On the flip side of things, the Sharks completed a seven-game war with Vegas; full of comebacks, injuries, controversy and ...victory! I know the easy thing to do here would be to discount the San Jose win due to the circumstances in the third period. However, we are here to bet on sports not talk about the state of NHL officiating. The Sharks completed a 3-1 comeback against a very talented Golden Knights team that outplayed them for large portions of that series. They did what all former champions have done; found a way to win (hold your referee jokes until the end). Martin Jones performed stellar in a couple of games, game six in particular, but was average through most of the series...maintaining the season status quo. The duo of Burns and Karlsson were instrumental in the series, but both posted a negative plus/minus. Overall the ice-time was mostly split between the top-two pairings for the Sharks, with the Norris trophy winners and Vlasic taking the bulk of it. The Sharks victory in round one was sloppy, to say the least, and far from convincing but there is some true determination and, more importantly, depth from this group (at least on the front end). Even though they're favoured, I found the Sharks to be undervalued heading into Round Two. It would not surprise me to see them drop an early game to the Avalanche given the likelihood they might still be caught up on their opening round victory. However, I do not expect them to lay down against Colorado as the Flames did. I'm not certain on the status of captain Joe Pavelski right now, but you can be sure if he is out this team will have them in their minds.</p><p>San Jose (ml) @ 1.74 [<a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&amp;a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&amp;f=1" target="_blank">Pinnacle</a>]</p>
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