It’s been a good run of handicapping so far for me here at Odds Shark.
In just a couple of short, fun months I took Denver to win the Super Bowl straight up, Von Miller to win the Super Bowl MVP (18-1 odds) and Angelique Kerber to win the Australian Open – all at very nice underdog odds.
I also told you to take Villanova to win the NCAA championship at 14-1 before the NCAA tournament began and then predicted they would upset UNC before the Final Four began. I also picked three of the four Final Four teams in my bracket. And on the Dean Blundell & Co. Show on the FAN 590 in February, I correctly predicted Spotlight would overtake the favorite The Revenant to win best picture at the Oscars.
So I hope you’re following me on Twitter (@JonnyOddsShark) and reading me here and have been able to enjoy the profitable times along with me.
But enough about me. It’s time to move on to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Below is a look at who I’m taking heading into this year’s NHL postseason and the reasons why I’m avoiding other teams.
Action begins on Wednesday night. Good luck.
Who I took to win the Stanley Cup:
Anaheim Ducks (10-1) – The Ducks became the first team since the 1984-85 season to lead the league on the power play (23.1%) and penalty killing (87.2). That’s enough justification on its own for a wager but this team also happened to lead the league in goals against this season and I love taking teams that can play great team defense. They have the depth, experience and goaltending and they are the hottest team in the NHL since Christmas at 34-10-5.
Los Angeles Kings (7-1) – The Kings and Blackhawks have alternated winning the Stanley Cup over the past four seasons so basically it’s L.A.’s turn. (I kid). But this team has experience and the added benefit of health and grit that comes from missing the playoffs last year. Jonathan Quick is the best goalie in the playoffs when you combine championship rings and skill and the Kings finished third in goals against this season. They also have maybe the best depth at center in the league with three 24-plus goal scorers and they rank No. 1 in just about every shot-attempts stats category.
Florida Panthers (18-1) – I’m a little shocked at the Panthers’ odds here. The South Paws won the Atlantic Division this season and ranked first in goals per 60 mins and third in goals against per 60 minutes. I also love that the Panthers appear to have the easiest road to the Eastern Conference finals with a first-round series against the Islanders followed by a second round matchup against either Tampa Bay or Detroit. They are great between the pipes too and at 18-1, this team is worth taking.
Why I’m not taking these teams:
Chicago Blackhawks (7-1): Chicago is probably the best team in the NHL but I just couldn’t bet them this year. I believe they have to run out of gas at some point after three Stanley Cup runs over the past five years and a grueling season that saw them carted out as the NHL’s showpiece for a ton of national TV games this season. I won’t be shocked if they win the Cup, but you really have to hand it to this team if they can win yet another title in this league of parity.
Washington Capitals (3-1): In short, these odds suck. The Caps are obviously a great team as the President’s Trophy Sportsbook but they are way overpriced here. This is a league where the 8 seeds can win the Stanley Cup (2012 L.A. Kings) and where parity rules. The Capitals also opened at 16-1 to start the season so your opportunity here is long gone.
Dallas Stars (8-1): The Central Division Sportsbooks with great special teams. But this team can’t play defense. The Stars rank the worst of all 16 playoff teams in goals against at 2.78 per game. That’s not how you win Cups.