NHL Betting: Stanley Cup Odds Influenced by Experience and Home-Ice Advantage
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks both won Game 7’s on the road in the conference finals to survive. Now the two teams will square off for the ultimate prize: a chance to drink out of the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay is the 1.5-point favorite for the first match as we go to press.
By The Numbers
Tampa Bay Lightning: 12-8 ATS (+6.32 units)
Totals (O-U): 8-10
Chicago Blackhawks: 9-8 ATS (-7.9 units)
Totals (O-U): 11-3
The Tampa Bay Lightning will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup final, and on the surface that appears significant because they’ve won more home games in the regular season (31) than any other team in the NHL. However, the playoffs have been a different story. Heading into the Stanley Cup final, the Lightning is only 5-5 at Amalie Arena, and the last time they played there, they were blown out 7-3. The Lightning is giving up 3.30 goals per game at home in the playoffs, and that’s the second-most of the 16 playoff teams. However, they’ve fared better on the road, leading all postseason teams in goals allowed per game at 1.60.
As for the Blackhawks, after winning a Game 7 on the road in Anaheim, they look like they’ll be focused wherever they play, but it’s worth noting their splits as well. They have averaged 3.75 goals per game at home in the playoffs and have allowed just 2.38. However, on the road they have scored just 2.89 while allowing 3.44.
One of the main differences between the two teams is the experience. The Blackhawks will be playing for the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons. And they weren’t far off the years they didn’t make it, such as last season when they lost in Game 7 of the Western Conference final. They’ve made it to the conference finals in five of the last seven seasons.
Chicago’s roster has a core of seven key players who date back to the 2008-2009 season. That includes Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who combined for five points in Game 7 of the Western Conference final. Then there’s Marian Hossa, who will be playing in his fifth Stanley Cup final in the last eight years, as well as Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
With an average age of 25.9, the Lightning is one of the youngest teams in the NHL. With just one playoff appearance in the past three years before this run, they’ll have to find a way to compete with seasoned Blackhawks.
If you’re honing in on Game 1, you’ll want to take into account the amount of rest for both teams.
Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday June 3 at 8:00 PM ET, which means both teams will get plenty of rest. That hasn’t mattered so much for the Blackhawks as they were 7-5 this season when playing with three or more days rest. The Lightning has a 7-3 record in that same scenario.
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