Game 2 Focus on the Total
The Kings will host the Rangers on Saturday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with the opening face-off scheduled for 7:05 PM ET. According to NHL betting odds the total in this game is 5.0. At the time of this writing the early general public money has shown that over 90% wagered in regards to the total has gone the way of the over. It wouldn’t have been difficult to project that betting pattern based on the fact the Kings haven’t gone under the total in their last 7-games, in addition to the wide open style, and exciting brand of hockey that was witnessed in the opening game of the series.
Think Deception and not Perception
I have on numerous occasions implored my clients, aspiring young handicappers, or anyone with a serious interest level, to begin your handicapping day with one basic fundamental thought process. “Think like an odds-maker”. It may seem like a very simple phrase to initially comprehend, but yet is a very difficult concept for the majority of individuals to fully grasp onto. When accomplished, this particular mindset will help in eliminating much of the human element called emotion from entering the process. I’m of the opinion that emotion of any kind when entering into the mental equation deters our ability to make the most rational, and objective decisions when it applies to sports handicapping. Professional odds-makers are the best at what they do, and that must be accordingly respected in that regards, or else you’re destined for failure. Their calculations when setting a line or total are impeccable, it’s the intangible adjustments, or lack there of is where the underlying smallest of daily edges can be attained.
Applying that Thinking to Game 2
An exact case in point to the above mentioned thought process is the total of 5.0 in Game 2 of this series. The books have refused to budge off this total despite the plethora of recent high scoring games the Kings have been involved in. Don’t be naïve to the fact they fully expect that public perception will prompt a high number of NHL picks on the 'over' in this contest. The old adage in sports handicapping of “if it looks too good to be true then most times it is” can ultimately be a profound statement when applied in this specific instance.
Lundquist Remains Spectacular
Despite the Game 1 loss by the Rangers you certainly couldn’t cast much blame the way of Henrik Lundquist. The Rangers star goaltender was magnificent in stopping 40 of 43 shots on goal by the Kings. He was especially dominant in the 3rd period which began tied 2-2, and remained that way at the conclusion of the stanza, in spite of the Rangers holding a mammoth 20-3 shots on goal advantage. Lundquist has posted an excellent 2.07 GAA and .928 save percentage in 21 starts during the 2014 postseason.
Sports Bettors Memories Good but Short
The above title describes exactly the point I’ve attempted to get across in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of this article. The novice, inexperienced, or unsuccessful bettors all have one common downfall. They rely on too much of what they’ve recently just seen, and fail to account for the entire big picture. It would be easy to lose site of the fact that this same Los Angeles Kings team finished the regular season by allowing the fewest goals in the NHL, and were just 26th offensively averaging a paltry 2.4 goals per game. After all, they’re currently averaging a robust 3.4 goals per game in the playoffs, which is the best of all the 16 teams that qualified. You can also make the case that of their first 4 opponents, the Rangers are a tad above the rest defensively, and don’t come close to the previous 3 Kings opponents offensively. Jonathan Quick has been the brunt of criticism during these playoffs for not playing up to his standards. However, consider the fact that Quick had faced the #1, #2, and #6 scoring teams in the NHL during the first 3 rounds. This is also a goaltender who posted a 1.41 GAA in 20-games during the 2011 playoffs, and a 1.86 GAA in the 2012 postseason. His skills have hardly diminished in this short of a time span, when all is considered.
Free Pick: Rangers/Kings to go under the total of 5.0