May 8, 2012

Kings and Coyotes prepare to square-off in NHL Western Conference Finals

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs- Western Conference Finals Betting Preview

No.8 Los Angeles Kings vs. No.3 Phoenix Coyotes

It has been 19 years since the Kings have advanced this far and it will be the first time in the 33-year history of the Coyotes’ franchise that the team will be playing for a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The following is a closer look at this most unlikely best-of-seven series along with a few betting trends to help handicap both the series and the individual games.

Team Profile- Los Angeles Kings

The Kings needed a few crucial victories down the stretch to even make it into the postseason as the eighth seed, but they have certainly made the most of the opportunity. They closed-out the regular season with three wins and three overtime losses to finish with 95 points and an overall record of 40-27-15. Los Angeles went 22-14-5 at home and 18-13-10 on the road.

Opening-up against the top seeded Vancouver Canucks, who led the NHL with 111 points, the Kings were prohibitive underdogs in the Oddsmakers’ series price at +175 and had the longest odds to win the Western Conference of the eight teams at 12/1. They quickly added value to both these odds by opening-up a 3-0 lead on the Canucks before finally eliminating them in a 2-1 overtime victory as 146 road underdogs in Game 5.

LA was just getting warmed-up with the No.2-seed St. Louis Blues on the slate in the conference semifinals. It opened this series as a +140 underdog, but left little doubt that this team is on a mission with a four-game sweep of St. Louis in which it outscored the Blues 15-5.

The big three on offense for the Kings in the playoffs have been Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Mike Richards. They have combined for 12 goals and 17 assists in nine postseason games with Brown leading the way with six goals of his own. The primary reason that Los Angeles has been able to make such short work of the top two teams in the West is having Jonathan Quick in goal. He has been nothing short of spectacular with a goals-against-average of 1.55 and a .949 save percentage in the nine games.

Team Profile- Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes won the Pacific Division title and the No.3 seed by finishing one point higher than San Jose and two points higher than the Kings by virtue of a five-game winning streak to close-out the season. Phoenix ended with an overall record of 42-27-13 while going 22-13-6 at home and 20-14-7 on the road.

It drew the sixth-seed Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and after opening this series with a 3-2 overtime victory as a 115 home favorite, Phoenix went onto play four more overtime games against the Blackhawks before ending the series in six games with a 4-0 shutout as a 125-road underdog.

Next up for the Coyotes were the No.4-seed Nashville Predators. Phoenix came into this matchup as a +135 series underdog but quickly established itself as the favorite with two victories at home. After losing Game 3, the Coyotes took control with a 1-0 shutout as 143 road underdogs in Game 4 before closing this series out in five games with a 2-1 win as slight 110 favorites at home.

Phoenix has eight different players with at least five points in the postseason, but Antoine Vermette has led the way with five goals and four assists. The team only managed to score a combined three goals in the final three games of the Nashville series after posting nine goals in the first two games. Fortunately the Coyotes also have a hot goalie in Mike Smith. Through 11 playoff games, he boasts a 1.77 GAA and a save percentage of .948.

Series Betting Trends

The Kings are now 10-2 in their last 12 games as favorites at home and 10-3 in their last 13 home games overall. They are a perfect 5-0 on the road in the postseason and the total has stayed ‘under’ in five their nine playoff games overall.

The Coyotes are 13-3 in their last 16 games overall and 7-2 in their last nine games at home. The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of their last nine playoffs games overall but has gone ‘over’ in three of their last five playoff games at home.

These two split their six-game regular season series this year 3-3 with each winning twice at home and once on the road. All but one of the six games were decided by one goal with three of the contests ending in overtime. The total went 2-3-1 in the six games.

 

 

 

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Dave Schwab

DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.

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