Last night, went heavy on the 4.5u and well, the Canucks won and scored TWO frigg'n empty netters in the final minute and down went my money in the drain. That's ok, because I hit a nice $20 five game parlay (won $400) thanks to a few nice free throw's by Yao Ming to clinch the over. (1xNBA + 4xMLBs).
Looking at Conference Semi-finals now and the match-ups. My initial biases and deemed favourites:
--- Wednesday Action ---
Sabres vs. Rangers -- Sabres in 6.
I think goaltending here is a wash, given how well Lundqvist has been playing thus far. Essentially what should happen is Buffalo's forwards should draw far more penalties on the NYR defense and this will become a special teams game. That will limit the Avery-FX. Avery will do his best to be physical though and that's how you try to rattle the Sabres. Too bad there's only one Avery out there. Should be lots of goal-scoring with all the talent out there. Let's see who's more discipline. Expect Drury/Vanek/Afino to take in big points here. I don't think I'm saying anything new that no one else knows, the Sabres are just that good.
Betting tips. Opening puck total is 5.5 (-120). Although the goalies are hot, I think there will be special teams plays that make the difference. Oddsmakers really aren't giving the Rangers much of a chance to get into the next round. Depending on how the series goes, I think some BUF-1.5 puck line bets could be worth going for.
Odds to win the cup offered by www.intertops.com
Buffalo Sabres +335
Anaheim Ducks +400
Ottawa Senators +500
Detroit Red Wings +550
New Jersey Devils +600
San Jose Sharks +600
Vancouver Canucks +750
New York Rangers +1400
Game 1 Score - Sabres 5, Rangers 2.
Canucks vs. Ducks -- No comment. (Canucks in 6?... I hope... maybe...)
Rest could actually be a bad thing for the Ducks. The Canucks are coming off an emotional game, but should be charged with renewed vigour to be playing in the playoffs. The Sedins vs. superstar defensemen. This will be interesting for sure. For the Ducks to be successful they will have to play disciplined hockey and Beauchemin will have to be strong. For the Canucks, they will need to play smart hockey. That young stars line (I love these guys, Penner, Getzlaf, Perry!) could be lethal and the match-ups will be key. If the Canucks play within themselves and get some scoring, we can scrape through this series. Uphill battle, but that's why we play. Ducks are healthy, canucks have some injuries.
Game 1 Score - Canucks 3, Ducks 2. Only because I really think the Ducks won't be game ready.
Betting tips. By my score prediction, I can't bet the under in game 1. The upset? +180 is attractive. Canucks are a solid road team and coming off this every other day a game routine could be better than the Ducks who are coming off 5 days of non-playoff gaming.
--- Thursday Action ---
Senators vs. Devils -- Senators in 6
The comparison here is simple. If Tampa had what the Senators had they'd be playing the Sabres now. It's that simple. yes, Brodeur rocks, but the Senators can rock too. He is solve-able, the Devils system is solve-able. What the Devils have going for them too, however, also, whatever word you want to insert is the EGGo line and the ZZLang line. Haha, I just came up with the (Z)ach-(Z)ajac-(Lang)enbrunner acro. In any case, first games are all about feeling teams out. Will give offense the advantage here. Ottawa to split the NJ home games, taking the first one 4-2 (3-2+empty netter).
Betting tips. Road games for the Sens tend to lean on the Under, but with the line at 5, I'd like to see if the teams are disciplined or if the special teams action will be significant.
Sharks vs. Red Wings -- Someone in 7.
I think this is a tight series. A little concerned about the sharks powerplay here, but I guess we'll have to see. Hasek will need to play better and not sprawl around on the ice so easily. A good series, not sure what to expect really. I think the under (5u, +110) here may work on the first game as they feel each other out.