Expect Ducks & Predators to Keep Playing Close, Low-Scoring Games

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 17, 2017 6:37 PM UTC

Here is a piece of advice for the NHL's Western Conference Finals between Anaheim & Nashville: Do not play the favorite on the puck line (-1.5). The reason is that the difference in this series is almost indiscernible if you are watching.

Anaheim and Nashville are evenly matched and the outcomes thus far and likely the rest of series will be based on power plays (like Game 3), hot or cold goaltending (the whole series) and a lucky bounce or two. The Predators lead the Western Conference Finals 2-1. 

Also, if you are in forums don't listen to those talking about "making a ton of money" betting reverse puck lines for NHL picks, where you take the underdog and make them a -1.5 favorite; the only way you win that bet in this series is a last minute lucky empty-net goal. If you want to make that bet, take the money and put it aside for your kids' college fund as it will be better used.

What makes this series so tight? It starts with the goalies, Pekka Rinne for Nashville and John Gibson for Anaheim. Rinne had one poor outing in Game 2 in this series, where the Ducks went high to Rinne's blocker side and found a weakness, which is not unusual for tall goaltenders as Rinne is 6-foot-5. Otherwise, he's been nearly spotless. Anaheim tried to keep the pressure on in similar fashion in Game 3, and the Predators netminder was back in form in a 2-1 victory and the series lead. 

Gibson has not been as good but had stopped almost 50 consecutive shots over two games before Nashville finally broke through. With both puck-stoppers on top of their games, betting the 'under' against the NHL odds makes sense.

The final point for a close series is that Nashville depends on speed to beat opposing teams, while Anaheim likes to take the body. With each equally skilled at what they do, this leads to ebbs and flows in each contest where someone controls the action. I choose the Preds to win the series and hope they come through and can see more 'unders' on the way.

Free NHL Game 4 Pick: 'Under' 5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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