The NHL playoffs will begin Wednesday, and whether you’re getting action on individual games, series props, or Stanley Cup futures, here are some tips to keep in your back pocket.
Home-ice teams lay slightly more chalk
You’ll notice what appears to be some inflated chalk on the home side for some of the Game 1 matchups. Tampa Bay is a -235 home favorite over Columbus; Nashville is laying -160 to Dallas; Calgary is another pricey favorite at home to Colorado (-205).
Some of these favorites are laying more chalk than they did at home against the same opponent during the regular season. That’s because home-ice advantage does matter in the postseason; according to Rob Pizzola, it’s worth 1 percent more in the playoffs.
It might not seem like a significant difference, but if you’re not already baking that into your numbers, you’re missing a key step.
Lightning, Flames not providing much value
There isn’t much else you can say about Tampa Bay. The Lightning made history with 62 wins during the regular season and they’re -400 and climbing to win their series against Columbus.
Hockey is weird and anything can happen, but this isn’t the time to get cute.
Of the previous 10 teams to lay -200 or more in the first round, not one lost the series or even went to Game 7. Tampa’s about as surefire as it gets.
However, if you want to put some coin down on the Bolts, consider playing them to win in a four- (+400) or five-game (+300) series. There’s a decent chance of that happening, as the average length of a first-round series decreased over the previous couple seasons.
The same goes for Calgary, a -205 favorite in Game 1 over the Avalanche and -225 to take the series. You can get the Flames to win in four games at +700 or in five games at +350.
Carolina’s a realistic sleeper
Carolina? Really? To dethrone the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals?
Really … maybe.
The Hurricanes have already garnered some attention as a live underdog heading into the postseason, and it’s certainly warranted.
They finished the season No. 2 overall in Corsi For percentage, according to Natural Stat Trick, while the Capitals finished with the fourth-worst mark of any postseason team.
Meanwhile, Carolina’s offense was fantastic in a bevy of other statistical categories including Fenwick, high-danger Corsi For percentage, and expected goals.
If you’re in need of a plus-money underdog in a series, Carolina might be the one.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore’s betting writer. He’s a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.
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