We are in the midst of a very entertaining and competitive second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs right now as the Pittsburgh Penguins (the two-time defending champions), Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets remain in the mix to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.
The second round has seen three of the four series get to 1-1 after the first two games, which speaks volumes about how competitive and evenly matched the remaining teams in the chase for the Stanley Cup are; and that concept should open the door for hockey bettors to step up and take advantage.
So far in this round of the playoffs, teams in games in which they are coming off a loss are a perfect 3-0 as of Monday. I do not think that is a mirage or something that has taken place by accident. The eight teams remaining have all avoided extended losing streaks for much of the season and as a result, they become prime teams to bet on when entering off a subpar performance.
The betting angle of backing a team off a loss is something definitely worth watching and monitoring as the second round unfolds because I expect all four series to be lengthy and close, making that a positive expectation angle to bet on throughout this round and possibly the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well.
The playoffs do not always give you optimal value to bet on teams that are favored, You’ll often see favorites, particularly on home ice, laying at least -150 in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, which means unless you are willing to lay steeper prices, you have to find other ways and methods offered in the betting markets to support teams laying those type of prices. The regulation line is a very popular means of betting on a favorite that I use in the NHL Playoffs.
For example, if you were liking the Tampa Bay Lightning -155 on home ice in Game 2 of their series against the Boston Bruins on Monday night but were not willing to lay a price that steep, you could have instead bet the Tampa Bay side on the regulation line, which would have been in the even money to +105 range for the Lightning to win the game within the 60 minutes of regulation time.
If the game goes to OT, the bet loses regardless of whether or not Tampa Bay loses but the chance to take the price of those big favorites down to a much more manageable price range makes it worth the risk in my opinion. Team Totals are also a way in which you can back a team without having to lay a very large price on a money line. Once again, I’ll use the example of Tampa Bay in their series against Boston in Game 2 at home.
The Lightning were lined at 3.5 goals in terms of their team total in Game 2 and you could have bet the Over 3.5 goals for Tampa Bay at +120. Nashville beat Winnipeg at home in Game 2 in OT by a score of 5-4 but it forced ML bettors to sweat throughout the entire game while Nashville regulation line bettors would have been forced to rip up their tickets after that game.
The team total for Nashville in Game 2 was also 3.5 at +120 and that would have cashed in with room to spare. The point of this discussion is to illustrate there are other ways and methods savvy playoff hockey bettors can use to support a favorite rather than going to the conventional and often times expensive money line route.
It often requires bettors to get more creative when it comes to seeking profit at playoff time but this is an idea I use regularly to cash tickets in the playoffs and a few ways of profiting in the spring months at playoff time that are worth referencing for future use throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.