REACHING A GOAL

May 14, 2002 11:20 AM
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An intriguing trend continues to develop in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Goals are occurring.

"I think you are finding teams such as Detroit, Colorado, San Jose and Toronto are capable of putting together high scoring contests," said Scott Ramsey, hockey oddsmaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants. "Defense usually dominates in the Stanley Cup, and I expect it will again as the games proceed."

For bettors who like to wager on the combined total instead of sides, the pattern gradually has swayed toward OVERS.

Through the first 22 games of the playoffs, UNDERS were 15-6-1 based upon five goals as a push. The margin narrowed to 11-8-2 for the next 21 games. Through the last 24 games, the OVERS took an 11-7-6 edge through last Sunday’s results. The last three games have seen at least six goals scored.

"I believe if either Montreal or Ottawa reach the Stanley Cup final, you will see the total at 4½ goals," Ramsey said. "However, if Toronto were to represent the East, the number would start at 5 and could reach 5½, especially if Detroit or Colorado win out West."

LATEST ODDS IN STANLEY CUP

Detroit

4-5

Colorado

6-1

Carolina

6-1

Ottawa

7-1

San Jose

7-1

Toronto

15-1

BATTLER - Captain Saku Koivu inspired Montreal after licking cancer.

Ramsey sees Montreal and Ottawa reaching the East final, though both are locked in tough series with Colorado and Toronto respectively.

"I am surprised that Ottawa is having so much trouble with Toronto because the Maple Leafs are so banged up," Ramsey said. "Cujo (goalie Curtis Joseph) has been good and bad and I don’t like the Toronto defensemen. I think Ottawa holds up physically and wins it."

Montreal blew a 3-0 lead in Game 5 against Carolina to come within one game of elimination, but Ramsey still favors the Canadiens to rally back.

"The Canadiens have gotten a huge psychological lift from Saku Koivu and Jose Theodore’s goaltending has been outstanding," he said. "However, many people overlook Doug Gilmour and the role he plays. Gilmour is the leader, as he was when he was with Calgary and Toronto."

Out West, Ramsey likes Colorado to reach the finals and ultimately capture the Stanley Cup for the second straight year.

"I think the return of Peter Forsberg is the big story," he said. "Forsberg missed the whole year and is the leading scorer in the playoffs. I don’t believe many people thought Forsberg would miss the playoffs, but few thought he would play so well."

Ramsey forecasts Colorado to beat Detroit out West and eliminate Montreal in what would be the ultimate redemption for Avs goalie Patrick Roy, who won several Stanley Cups for the Canadiens before being unceremoniously released.

"That would be an electric matchup," Ramsey said.

ALSO: Eldorado sports book director Wayne Braddock said updated ticket writing terminals similar to those at Stardust and Sams Town will be ready in about three weeks. "It’s a pretty big step up for us," Braddock said. "Our terminals have been here eight or nine years."

STILL UP
FOR THE CU
P

TEAM

ODDS

  COMMENT

Detroit

4-5

  Hasek missing piece.

Colorado

 7-2

  Forsberg huge lift.

San Jose

7-1

  Scoring is up.

Ottawa

7-1

  Lalime hot goalie.

Toronto

10-1

  Alive on guts.

Montreal

15-1

  The longshot bet.

Carolina

15-1

  The forgotten team.

 *Courtesy of Las Vegas Sports Consultants

OVER / UNDER
(based on 5 goals)

First 22 games: UNDER 15-6-1
Next 21 games: UNDER 11-8-2
Last 24 games: OVER 11-7-6*