There have been some upsets along the way and that has made for a lot of parity.
Online gambling handicappers face one of the ultimate challenges that can be offered by Internet gambling companies in trying to beat the board with the NHL Playoffs. More than in any other sport in pro or college post season, the NHL Playoffs continually feature what would be considered major upsets in those other games. In the NHL Playoffs, however, there are no real upsets as the top seeds being upended by the bottom seeds is a routine way of life. From a gambling perspective, this means that handicappers have to strive for value and avoid the temptation of making huge overlays on big money chalks.
Last year, for example, the top seed of the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks, were upset by the bottom seeded Anaheim Ducks, who went on to take the eventual Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings to the max in a breathtaking seven game series. In the Eastern Conference last year, the fifth seed Carolina Hurricanes took out the top seeded Boston Bruins and went on to the Conference Finals against the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
On opening night of this year’s playoffs online gambling handicappers were given a stark reminder about the perils of the NHL Playoffs and why it is a good idea to look first at the underdog. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Ottawa Senators as $214 home favorites in game one of their Eastern Conference series while in the Western Conference on that same night the San Jose Sharks lost to the Colorado Avalanche as $223 home favorites.
The following night, an even greater example of a huge overlay going bust in online gambling took place as the Washington Capitals lost to the Montreal Canadiens as $278 favorites in their Eastern Conference opener.
In hockey there are so many variables that can change the outcome of a game starting with goaltenders. In no other sport can a single player at a single position be so valuable as a handicapping commodity that a goaltender with the hot hand in the NHL Playoffs. Last year a low scoring Carolina team was literally carried by Cam Ward almost all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. NHL Playoff gambling is the ultimate test of value and shrewd judgment.