We’re moving on with the 2014 NHL betting season as the playoffs begin, and we’re going to take this time to analyze what we are seeing and make our Stanley Cup picks for the road ahead.
1: Chicago Blackhawks (+400) – The Blackhawks strictly took care of business in their opening round series with the St. Louis Blues impressively defeating them in just six games. All along we have told you that we love Chicago’s chances to repeat because of its powerful offensive attack. Chances of this team winning the cup have gone sky high now that it knocked St. Louis out and the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Minnesota Wild in seven games. The Blackhawks will see that Wild team in the second round and figure to match-up well with a team that could be playing a back-up goalie after the starter was injured on Wednesday. They got a great offensive performance from Patrick Kane in the opening round as he netted the winning goal in Game 5 and he will continue to lead the attack. There are plenty of great teams left on the board, but this is a good time to scoop up Chicago before it becomes an odds on ‘favorite’.
2: Pittsburgh Penguins (+500) – The Penguins got all the challenge they wanted from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round. They played a series where five of the six games ended with final scores of 4-3 in either direction. The final game was a 4-3 win that sent them into a second round match-up with the New York Rangers as the tests just keep on coming. Pittsburgh struggled defensively against Columbus, but scored just enough goals to get the job done. Evgeni Malkin had the biggest output scoring three goals and dishing out four assists to help his team survive the opening round. Pens G Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t have his best series, but he has been granted a mulligan and will need to play well against a tough Rangers team. If Fleury can step up his play this group from the Steel City could possibly win it all with a potent offensive attack.
3: Anaheim Ducks (+650) – The Ducks took out the Dallas Stars in six games in the opening round of the playoffs behind a solid all-around effort. A 5-4 overtime win on Sunday propelled Anaheim into the second round where it will match-up with the Los Angeles Kings. The offense provided 3.3 goals of support per game as the Stars failed to stop it with any consistency. That is something that could change quickly as the Kings have the No. 1 defense in the entire league. If the Ducks can settle things in goal between Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen they will play much better on the defensive side against the Kings. Anaheim will have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs if it can stay alive and that is huge as its 32-8-4 SU record on home ice is the best in the league. On Saturday the Ducks will put their 3-0 SU record at home in the playoffs on the line and try to stay undefeated in the pond.
4: Los Angeles Kings (+1200) – It was one of the most impressive things we’ve seen in a long time as the Kings came back from an 0-3 deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks in seven games as they became just the fourth team in league history to accomplish that feat. The comeback was led by G Jonathan Quick who turned around a forgettable first three games into a memorable L/4 that propelled his team into the second round. Quick had a 5.66 GAA in the first three games before putting up a 1.25 GAA in all four wins. Los Angeles was impressive outscoring the Sharks 5-1 in Game 7 and 18-5 during the four game win streak. The Kings chances at winning the Stanley Cup will rest on their ability to win games on the road. So far they are 2-2 SU on the road in the playoffs with two do-or-die wins over the Sharks.
5: Minnesota Wild (+2000) – The Wild pulled one of the biggest upsets of the first round as they beat the Colorado Avalanche with a stunning overtime goal from Nino Niederreiter in overtime of Game 7 on Wednesday night. They trailed late in the game when Jared Sparenger scored to send the game into overtime tied at four. Minnesota may be in big trouble as it matches up with the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round without starting G Darcy Keumper who was outstanding in the opening round. He left late in Wednesday’s game with an apparent lower body injury and will be questionable to return for Game 1 in Chicago. Ilya Bryzgalov will be forced to start if Kuemper can’t go and he was solid against the Avalanche. The Wild’s only chance is to score a lot of goals when they face the Blackhawks and hope to get enough defense to pull out victories.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.