Before the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, the team at Sports Insights examined several profitable betting systems to use during the NHL postseason run in an attempt to give our members an edge over the average, everyday square bettor.
With three rounds of intense, heart-stopping hockey in the books, we will now preview the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
For hockey fans, this matchup is overflowing with juicy storylines: two Original Six teams meeting in the Finals for the first time since 1979, two of the last three Cup champions fighting for another shot at hockey immortality, and two of the biggest sports media markets in America going head-to-head.
Toss in names like Kane, Toews, Sharp, Keith, Hossa, Chara, Krejci, Bergeron, Lucic, Rask and Jagr and we could be looking at a matchup for the ages.
But before breaking down this highly anticipated series, let’s take a look back to see how the most recent Stanley Cup finals have played out, including the opening series prices and end results.
|2012||Kings||Devils||Kings -170||Kings in 6|
|2011||Canucks||Bruins||Canucks -220||Bruins in 7|
|2010||Blackhawks||Flyers||Blackhawks -250||Blackhawks in 6|
|2009||Red Wings||Penguins||Red Wings -155||Penguins in 7|
|2008||Red Wings||Penguins||Red Wings -165||Red Wings in 6|
|2007||Ducks||Senators||Ducks -120||Ducks in 5|
As you’ll notice, there appears to be a bias toward Western Conference teams, with all six previous favorites (including Chicago this season) hailing from the West.
Secondly, of the six previous finals, the favorite has won four times. This speaks to the importance of home ice advantage (the lone underdog victories went to the 2011 Bruins and 2009 Penguins).
With favorites performing at such a high rate during the previous six Stanley Cup finals, we consulted our Bet Labs software to see just how profitable betting on favorites has been.
To filter out the data and only focus on Stanley Cup games, we used the “Postseason” filter and then the “Game Month” filter and set it to “May or June” since that is when Finals games are typically played. In addition, since four of the previous six Cup winners have hailed from the West, we set the “Conference” filter to “Western” and the “Opposing Conference” to “Eastern.” We also set the “Favorite/Dog” filter to “Favorite” and the “Home/Away” filter to “Home.”
Just as we had imagined, this system proves that it is very profitable to bet on Western Conference home favorites during the Stanley Cup Finals. Over the past six Finals, this system has netted an impressive 15-4 overall record with a 27.4% ROI.
This differs from our previous blog post, which found that over the last six postseasons, there was value with visiting underdogs.
It appears the difference here is that road dogs perform very well in the opening rounds of the postseason, but once you get to the Finals that is no longer the case.
Additional Series tidbits to think about:
-The Bruins and Blackhawks have only met in the playoffs six times, the last coming in 1978 when Boston swept Chicago in the Quarterfinals.
-The Blackhawks won the 2013 President’s Trophy after posting a league-high 77 points. Chicago also posted an incredible 21-0-3 record to begin the season.
-The Bruins have 17 players on their current roster that were also on their 2011 Cup winning squad. The Blackhawks feature just 8 players on their current roster that were also on the 2010 Cup winning team.
-Both teams have different goalies from their recent Cup winning teams. Tuukka Rask (12-4, 1.75 GAA, .943 Save % this postseason) has replaced Tim Thomas and Corey Crawford (12-5, 1.74 GAA, .935 Save %) has replaced Antti Niemi.
-The Bruins and Blackhawks have not played each other since October 15, 2011 in Chicago. The Bruins won that game 3-2 in a shootout.
-While the Blackhawks have a plethora of high-powered offensive players, the leading point getter in the playoffs thus far has been the Bruins’ David Krejci (9 goals, 12 assists, 21 points in 16 games).
-Both teams survived epic scares to reach the Finals. The Bruins overcame a 4-1 third period deficit to beat Toronto in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals. The Blackhawks came back from a 3-1 series deficit against Detroit to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
-The Bruins’ Jaromir Jagr, now 41-years old, hasn’t played in the Cup Finals since winning back-to-back titles with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992.
-Conn Smyth Odds (Finals MVP) from Bovada: Corey Crawford (7/4), Tuukka Rask (9/4), David Krejci (5/1), Marian Hossa/Patrick Kane (7/1), Zdeno Chara (12/1), Patrice Bergeron (15/1), Brad Marchand (20/1), Jaromir Jagr/Jonathan Toews (50/1)
What do you think?
Are the Blackhawks poised to become the fifth favorite in the last seven years to hoist the Cup? Or will the underdog Bruins defy the odds just as they did in 2011 when they upended the heavily favored Canucks? Feel free to leave your comments below.
Regardless of which side you may be on, be sure to check in with our NHL Stanley Cup Finals Betting Trends page throughout the Finals to see where the public betting and smart money is falling. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@SportsInsights) for late breaking series updates.