The two combatants are set for who will play for the Stanley Cup. As per usual, the NHL playoffs are a superior product to watch compared to the NBA Playoffs.
That is because there is not the disparity you see in the NBA, where any given year, only four to six teams have a legitimate shot to win the trophy.
NBA Players’ Dynamic
The NBA uses five main players and usually up to four bench players. The best players will be on the floor for close to or exceeding 40 minutes.
NHL Players’ Dynamic
In the NHL, 18 players plus 2 goaltenders are on each club and will see regular ice time along with the starting goalie. The top offensive forwards top out at about 25 minutes a contest and the defensive players at about 30 minutes of ice time. This and the two sports’ different scoring methods create a wide variable for closer games in the NHL.
With this, the difference between the NHL Playoffs in the first two rounds leads to more upsets or series going seven games when most hockey bettors were thinking maybe five games at most for certain series.
However, everything starts to change once we reach the Conference Finals and even more so when you reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Let’s discuss what to look for when making moneyline, puck line, or totals bets.
Understanding of the NHL Teams
Whether you research the teams by the numbers or as an astute viewer of the game of hockey, the Finals are about matchups. Here are elements you have to know.
- Who is the faster and better skating team?
- What club has more scoring depth and a stronger group of defensemen?
- What line or lines are clicking and what individual players are hot or cold?
- Who has the edge on power plays and penalty killing? (Who has better form at the moment?)
- What coach seems to be in the zone on matchups and making adjustments?
- What squad has the stronger home-ice edge?
- Which team has the better goaltender and which one is playing better coming in?
Understanding the Game
Though hockey remains a very physical game, the number of hits compared to even 10 years ago is lower.
The sport itself is more fun to watch when players are skating and we don’t have clutching and grabbing.
Being able to roll out scoring punch from multiple lines, places any defense on edge and a concentration drop-off could result in goals.
Having three good pairing of defensemen that can work in harmony helps a goalie immensely.
Special teams play can steal a game or two, especially if two squads are virtually even 5-on-5. Don’t think for a moment coaching doesn’t matter in hockey.
Though owners consider them very replaceable, those that can win matchups in the postseason are invaluable.
Though home teams seldom have a tremendous record in the postseason, those that win the most important games in a series are what counts.
Not many things better than a hot goalie that can win you games.
What to Bet on in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Moneylines are the pick of choice against NHL odds for most hockey bettors.
Whatever side you choose, the favorite or the underdog, make certain you have completed research into the two clubs so that you know the difference.
The standard puck line of plus/minus 1.5 can be challenging in the Cup Finals. Grabbing the +1.5 can seem like a good bet, yet, they come with big odds.
This can hurt even more in today’s modern games where the team trailing by a goal pulls their goalie with three to four minutes, which can set up empty scores for you to lose on.
Betting the total is completely dependent on how teams play and the scores of prior head-to-head matchups and current form. With injuries, that can affect a total as well as the moneyline.