Home ice advantage should hold for NHL playoff Game 2’s

May 17, 2011 6:05 AM
Tampa Bay scored three times in the first period within a span of 90 seconds and took a 1-0 series lead on the road against the Bruins.

Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, a finalist to win his second Vezina Trophy in the last three seasons after posting a 2.00 goal against average, allowed four on 33 shots. The Bruins power-play unit was a no-show again in the playoffs going 0 for 4.

Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson did a masterful job in Game 1 stopping 31 of 33 shots to post his ninth win in 12 postseason games. The Tampa Bay offense continued to out hustle defenders to the loose pucks and controlled the face-offs by winning 41 of 67.

Oddsmakers first installed the Bruins as favorites to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The adjusted series price now shows the Lightning at -180 to advance.

I believe the value is now on the Bruins at +160. Historically they’re a huge favorite to tie the series up before leaving Boston. Home teams that lost Game 1 went on to win 66% of Game 2‘s in the NHL Conference Finals.

Those same home teams that lost Game 1 also advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals almost 43% of the time. That probability converts to a money-line of +133. With the Bruins now being offered at +160, that’s more than enough value to warrant a wager.

In the West, the Vancouver Canucks were able to do what 65.9% of NHL teams have done in the Conference Finals…win Game 1 at home.

The Sharks were able to score on both of their power-play opportunities and took a 2-1 lead into the third period. But the Canucks didn’t panic and scored twice in 1 minute and 19 seconds for a 3-2 win.

Roberto Luongo’s stopped 27 of 29 shots and the Vancouver offense did what they do best by applying pressure and attempting a ton of shots. They’ve averaged 31.5 shots on goal in the playoffs and they bombarded Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi with 39 in Game 1.

Odds makers installed Vancouver as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup before the postseason got underway and that hasn’t changed. Now with a 1-0 series lead in the Conference Finals the future book odds should pay-out even less for supporters who didn’t get down early.

Historically, home teams in the NHL Conference Finals who go up 1-0 have advanced to the Stanley Cup 71 of 91 times, for 78%.

Looking ahead, I like both home teams to win in Game 2. Laying -160 or less on either is offering bettors a ton of value. My "true line" reflects that we’d be getting the best of it even as high as -170.

(Vegas-Runner is a professional sports bettor & handicapper in Las Vegas whose been featured on CNBC & ESPN. You can follow VR on Twitter (@Vegasrunner) and at Pregame.com.)