For sports bettors and hockey fans, the Stanley Cup Finals are incredibly exciting. The final round of the playoffs features the two best teams from each conference in a seven-game series. Excellent coaching, amazing goals, and exceptional goaltending define these games. Often a game comes down to one play and one goal. With so much energy devoted to a single series, bettors must remember that each game needs to be viewed individually, with the hype put at a distance.
To bet and win on the series, sports bettors need to be clearheaded, skilled, and savvy. Finding the inside edge on each game is important to any sports bettor, as this will allow them to make the best choice possible when putting cash on a game. Here are some aspects of the game to consider when handicapping the final game of the postseason.
There’s no two ways about it: An unbeatable goalie can be the key to a Stanley Cup championship. If a goaltender is coming off a few strong series, then chances are good that he will continue to play well. In games that often hinge on a single goal, a goalie on a hot streak can change the entire series.
Depth and Rested Legs
A team that has great depth with four strong lines can dominate a series. Plus, if one team is coming in with rested legs, perhaps playing a five-game series while their opponents skated for seven (including some overtime contests), they may simply be fresher and quicker.
In considering depth, you’ll need to analyze lines and individual players. Also look for players that offer a club an extra edge, such as speed or shooting prowess. Overall though, strength and stamina are important in this series.
Will one team control the puck more than the other? If they are to do so, it will often come down to face offs. A club that can consistently win face-offs will accomplish two things: When they are on the attack, they will get more chances to score, and when they are in their defensive zone, they will negate chances by the opponent’s offense.
Experience and Drive
Which guys on each team have been to the Stanley Cup Finals before? Have they already won a Cup? Experience counts in big games. Another important asset for a team is drive. Is a team really hungry or are they complacent? How much do individuals want the Cup? Are there players in the series who have been tantalizingly close to hoisting the Cup before, only to miss out by a game or goal?
Sports bettors know that a team does not get to the Stanley Cup Finals on their own. They need a coach who knows how to energize and focus the team. That coach has to be able to communicate effectively with the team, make line adjustments, and utilize every player in an effective manner.
Consider these strategic elements when analyzing each team’s management: When does a coach send in enforcers? How does he set up a play, and what types of adjustments does he make to fill defensive gaps? What about pulling the goalie – does he usually know when to do so? During intermission, what does he do to reinvigorate, refocus, and inspire his team if they are down, and how does he make sure the club doesn’t get sloppy if they are ahead?
Coaches that have good track records in the playoffs are often good bets, as are those who manage to bring teams back from deficits in the third period. If a coach has a strong rapport with his team, take some time to understand how this can translate to victories. If there has been dissent on the team, determine if it is related to the coach. Find out if the team distanced itself from him. That can spell disaster.
Home ice can have a significant impact on the finals. The question is how much of an advantage does that home team really have? If they have supportive fans and are evenly matched with their opponents, the home team could definitely have a better chance of winning.
If the team that has home ice loses the first game, they have, in essence, lost their advantage. If they win the next home game, they’ve won a portion of the home team benefit back. If the home club loses two straight, they are in dire trouble as far as home ice is concerned.
Home ice advantage is real, but remember that it varies depending on numerous factors. A team’s success at home, how supportive their fans are, and how much better they are than their opponents all play important roles. Once play begins, it will all depend on whether or not they win and keep the benefit of their home ice.
What that benefit may translate into could be a two-game lead when the team finally travels to their opponent’s ice. If the home team wins every game, then the club with the original advantage wins the Stanley Cup Finals.
Taking and Keeping Control
Sports bettors need to take and keep control of their betting during any series, but especially when wagering on the Stanley Cup Finals. When bettors near the end of a season they are often motivated to make a big killing on the last few games. This may be an attempt to make up for recent or ongoing loses or to make as much cash as they can before the NHL season is over.
By taking control of their wagering, sports bettors can help ensure that they lose a minimum amount of cash on the final series. They won’t engage in panic betting, won’t focus on props, and will use units in a responsible way. It’s up to the sports bettor to keep control of wagering throughout the entire series.
Game by Game
Wagering on the Stanley Cup Finals needs to be a game-by-game effort. Don’t try to anticipate wins or losses. As a sports bettor, you want to stay in the moment. Before making your next bets, analyze the outcome of each game as well as your effectiveness as a sports handicapper. Taking it one game at a time will allow you to stay in control of your wagering and keep you focused on making cash on the Stanley Cup Finals.