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2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Preview

The 2013-14 NHL playoffs start this Wednesday (April 16th 2014). If you’re Canadian like me you’re most likely disappointed to only see the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs. However, there is no denying that the next couple months will feature great hockey between many quality teams.

Latest Odds to Win the 2013-14 Stanley Cup

Before we get into my predictions and analysis let’s take a look at the latest Stanley Cup odds (Odds as of April 14th). A lot of action has come in on the two Eastern Conference division winners (Bruins & Penguins) and they’re the leaders in the outright market.

Which Team Will Win the Eastern Conference?

The Boston Bruins are the team to beat in the East after leading the NHL with 117 points (54-19-9) this season. In the playoffs I feel that defensive teams rise to the top. In the East we have the Bruins (#2 DEF), Rangers (#4 DEF) and Penguins (#10 DEF).

NYR is a team that could be a surprise in the East. They finished 2nd in the Metropolitan division with 96 points (45-31-6) and ended the regular season on a 6-2-2 run. The biggest concern with the Rangers is that they don’t have enough goal scoring (#18 OFF).

Another reason why I can’t see the Rangers winning the conference is because they have to face a tough Philadelphia Flyers team that will likely wear them down. They’d then likely play the Penguins before having to likely play in the Bruins in the finals.

Pittsburgh has an easier path than NYR, as they play the Blue Jackets in the opening round. This season the Penguins had the #1 PP unit and #5 PK unit in the NHL. If they can keep those numbers up and Sidney Crosby keeps playing great they’ll make a deep run.

At the end of the day though, I have to bet on the Bruins to win the conference. Boston was the only team in the NHL to lose fewer than 20 games. The Bruins have the #2 DEF, #3 OFF, #3 PP unit and #8 PK unit. They also ranked 1st in goal differential (1.06 PG).

Which Team Will Win the Western Conference?

I expect the Western Conference to come down to the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. One of the stats that handicappers have used successfully is shot differential and these three teams led the NHL in shot differential per game.

Colorado and Anaheim finished first in the two Western Conference divisions this season, but I don’t think either team will make it through to the Stanley Cup Finals. I’m eliminating the Kings from my top contenders as well due to their scoring problems (#26 OFF).

Chicago has struggled down the stretch (5-5 in L10 Games) and the problem is their defense (#12 DEF). They also haven’t been able to stop opposing powerplay units (#19 PK). With most games in the playoffs being very close a solid PK unit is important.

That leaves the Sharks who have the #6 OFF, #5 DEF, #20 PP unit and #6 PK unit. San Jose leads the NHL in shot differential and shots per game this season. If Antti Niemi can stand on his head it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Sharks win the Stanley Cup.

One team I should mention is the St. Louis Blues who finished 2nd in the Central division with 111 points (52-23-7). The reason I don’t like them in the West is because they’ve lost six in a row and have to play the Blackhawks in the opening round of the playoffs.

Which Team Will Win the Stanley Cup?

Boston lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Blackhawks last season, but I’m betting on them to win this season. They’ve been focused all season long and haven’t faltered at all. This team plays top tier hockey on both sides of the puck and I doubt they’ll be stopped.

I’ll be betting on the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup at +420 odds, but I’ll also be placing an exacta bet on the Bruins to play the Sharks in the Stanley Cup finals. Both teams are confident, play great two-way hockey and have the size to grind their opponents down.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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