The Playoff Beards have a nice base of stubble and it’s finally time to kick off the journey known as the 2012 NHL Playoffs. Whether you follow hockey all-season or just want an excuse not to shave for two months, nothing matches the excitement of an NHL playoff series. A great way to get fully involved in the 2012 hunt for the Prince of Wales trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Eastern Conference, is to place a bet on the action. Today we’re going to break down some of the series prices for the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa was actually 3-1 vs. The Rangers this year and many of the pundits are predicting a 6 or 7 game series. The fact of the matter is that Vegas doesn’t see it happening as the series price for the Rangers is -240. New York is the top seeded team in the East and 4.5 : 1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. I like the Rangers in 5 here although an Ottawa upset bet does offer good odds at +190 and it’s commonplace for a #7 or #8 seed to make a run in the NHL playoffs.
Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals
The Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup champions but they aren’t getting much love to even get out of the East as their 4:1 odds to win the Wales trophy are 3rd behind Pittsburgh and New York. This could be the second best series in the East thanks to the story lines of the returning champs against one of the game’s biggest stars in Ovechkin. If Washington does push Boston to a 7th game, they’d never be deep enough to get a win at Boston. The Bruins are a -220 bet to win this series whereas Washington is +180. Personally, I think Washington pushes Boston to the brink but does their usual Game 7 no-show.
Florida Panthers vs. New Jersey Devils
Factually and statistically, the Panthers are the higher seed in this matchup but according to Vegas, it’s the Devils’ series to lose. Florida was a robust 38-26-18 during the regular season but since they were a division winner, receive home ice advantage. The Las Vegas oddsmakers aren’t too worried about home ice impeding New Jersey as theyve listed them as -200 to win the series, whereas Florida is tallied at +165. In a side story to this game, the Devils are coached by Pete DeBoer, who was unceremoniously fired by Florida after last season. He’d surely like a little revenge for having to move from Florida to New Jersey and this series could be over in 4 games. The Panthers are 20/1 odds just to win the Wales Trophy and I really don’t see them getting out of the first round.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers
It’s too bad the NHL doesn’t have a crooked commissioner like WWE’s Vince McMahon (…oh wait) in which he could ignore the seeding rules and fix it so these two teams play in the Eastern Conference Finals. This Series has stars galore from Malkin, Crosby, Giroux on down and by the inevitable game 7, it might actually look like a wrestling match broke out on the ice. These two teams hate each other and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Pronger come out of the crowd with a steel chair as the teams make their way through the handshake line at the end of the series. Vegas has the Penguins as the favorite to win this series at -200 and they’re a crazy 1.5 : 1 to win the Wales Trophy. I could see the Flyers developing little brother syndrome here as all the experts are blowing hot air about how Philadelphia is just a speed bump on the Penguins eventual Stanley Cup victory parade. Philadelphia has decent series odds at +165 and were 5-0 in Pittsburgh this year…I for one would love to see the upset happen.
Check back later as we break down the Western Conference playoff series odds.