NHL Picks: Bruins vs. Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals Game 1

PJ Laferla

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:55 AM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013 11:55 AM GMT

The Boston Bruins will begin its Stanley Cup Finals matchup on the highway when they collide with the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center in Game 1 of a best of seven series on Wednesday night.

The two teams are scheduled to face off at 8pm EST and the game can be seen live on television with national broadcast coverage provided by the NBC Sports Network.

Take a look at our Stanley Cup Finals Series Price Picks & Predictions.

Game 1 odds favor the home team, as several sportsbooks have pegged Chicago as -150 on the money line, while offering a return of +130 on the road underdogs.

[gameodds]7/238382/43/us[/gameodds]

Bettors backing the Blackhawks also have the benefit of giving up -1 1/2 goals on the puck line, with a generous return of +205 on the NHL odds. Supporters of the Bruins can take the +1 1/2 goals, but it comes at a premium price of -245 and is not worth the risk.

The total for this Game 1 matchup has been set to 5 goals with a positive return of +130 on the over; while going under the number is costly at -150. Early percentages are favoring the under in this matchup as 59.4% of the money is leaning towards a low scoring contest.

Let's assess both teams and establish if its Boston or Chicago that holds the higher value on the NHL odds boards to win this Game 1 matchup.

Home ice advantage goes to Chicago as they will host Games 1 and 2 for sure and 5 and 7 if necessary; while Games 3 and 4 will be played in Boston as well as Game 6 if needed.

The Blackhawks have been sensational at home, winning 40 of their last 55 played at the United Center, including 18 of 24 this season (18-3-3). On the road they were equally as good, producing a record of 18-4 -2.

The Bruins were a modest road team during the regular season, with a 12-9-3 record, but they have won 5 of their last 7 on the highway in the playoffs. On their home ice they were much better, going 16-5-3 in 24 regular season home games.

The Bruins have also won four of their last five matchups played in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Offensively, Chicago has the edge scoring an average of 3.2 goals per game compared to 2.7 by Boston. However, on defense, the Blackhawks and Bruins are two of the top three teams in the NHL, surrendering 2.1 and 2.3 goals respectively.

The Blackhawks produced better results on the power play throughout the regular season, averaging 16.7% compared to a much lower number of 14.8% by the Bruins.

Penalty kill percentage is evenly matched as the Blackhawks ranked 3rd best in the NHL (87.2%), while the Bruins were just a percentage point behind them at 87.1%.

Prediction

Chicago has been dominant all season and they have the numbers to back it up, but Boston seems more determined; and has less pressure coming into the Stanley Cup Finals then the Blackhawks.

It's tough to go against Chicago at home, but I believe the better value for our NHL picks in this Game 1 matchup is on the Bruins as road underdogs.

NHL Pick: Bruins +130 at William Hill
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