While it’s always noted that playoff series’ are a grind, the importance of the first game can not be overstated to both oddsmakers and bettors alike. The opening game this year caused series prices to shift by an average of 135 cents, or $1.35 (i.e. +150 to +285), but not all wins are created equal. Pittsburgh was an overwhelming -280 favorite to win their series against Columbus, and a 1-0 series lead moved those odds to -500. On the other hand, St. Louis secured a massive 3-OT win over Chicago in their opening game to maintain home-ice advantage, but their odds to win the series only moved from -115 to -170.
After 1st game Series Odds
|New York Rangers||-145||-300|
In the opening game of the NHL conference quarterfinals this year, the home team won 6 times and the visitor won 2 times (Red Wings, Canadiens). The two road teams to win the first game put a serious dent into series prices- Boston lost their home-ice advantage to Detroit and moved from -305 to -180 to win the series. Tampa Bay’s loss to Montreal in their first game was even more crucial- they went from -118 favorites in the series to +220 underdogs as the Canadiens took the upper hand.
We’ll continue to examine how series prices are affected, and be sure to check out our NHL Betting Against the Public article that highlights where value may lie throughout the playoffs as well as our updated NHL Stanley Cup Odds.