Fade the Blackhawks & Pick Ducks to Win Sunday's Series Opener

Nikki Adams

Friday, May 15, 2015 11:37 AM GMT

Friday, May. 15, 2015 11:37 AM GMT

The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have set up a thrilling showdown in the Western Conference finals. Join us as we preview game 1 of this series, with the Stanley Cup finals on the line.

The Conference Finals
The Chicago Blackhawks may have entered the NHL Playoffs as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but they were always amongst the overall top favorites to win the Stanley Cup right from the start.

Trading at +800 NHL odds on the brink of the NHL Playoffs, they were the third overall favorites to win it all, behind only Rangers at +700 and Ducks at +750. Indeed, this triplet was so closely packed on the NHL betting odds board that deciding which one was the better NHL pick was an exercise in futility. Proof-positive: they all proved their worth by reaching the finals of their respective Conferences. The bookies got it right, you could say.

Tampa Bay Lightning round out the last four in the Stanley Cup finals. Matched at +1000 NHL odds ahead of the first round of the NHL Playoffs, they are the odd ones out so to speak, reaching the Eastern Conference finals at the expense of slightly superior favorites in early NHL betting markets: Predators and Blues (both at +900) and the Canadiens (+950).

 

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks Matchup
The Anaheim Ducks underscored their top billing by reaching the Western Conference finals. Following a standout regular season that saw them finish 51-24-7, they elevated their level in the playoffs. Mainly, their offense has been deadly. In the first round they outscored the Jets 16-9 in a series sweep; and, in the second round, they outscored the Flames 19-9 through five games. In total, they've scored 35 goals and conceded just 18 through 9 games for an average of 3.8 goals per game netted. On the other side of the ice, they're averaging 2 goals against per game.

Despite all these positives, it's the Blackhawks that emerge as the slight favorites to win the series at -115 on the NHL futures betting board, nudging ahead of the Ducks at -105 NHL odds ever so slightly. Indeed, this series is so finely poised, it's anybody's guess which side will emerge triumphant.

The Blackhawks finished the regular season behind a 48-28-6 mark. Although they were seeded below the Nashville Predators, they still were the NHL betting favorites in most circles and they underscored that notion by winning the series in game 6 at home. In the following round, the Blackhawks had little trouble dismissing the Wild, sweeping the series behind their best run of form. Overall, the Blackhawks have scored 32 goals through ten games for an average of 3.2 goals per game. They've conceded 28 goals however for an average of 2.8 goals against per game.

 

NHL Betting Verdict
Most NHL betting experts are tipping this series towards the Blackhawks, for good reason. They've been one of the best teams in the NHL with their current crop of players this side of the last decade. And the odds makers agree, favoring the Blackhawks to win the series (if ever so slightly) and pricing them slightly shorter than the Ducks to win the Stanley Cup. Blackhawks are second overall faves at +240 while the Ducks are third overall faves at +250.

That said the Ducks should prove a right challenge for the Blackhawks to overcome. That notion is reflected by the close proximity of their respective NHL odds in each and every NHL betting market. As a result, we're fading the Blackhawks and shading the Ducks on our NHL picks.They've got home advantage for game 1 and home advantage for game 7 if it gets that far.

NHL Picks: Ducks to win Game 1 & clinch the series in Game 7

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