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NHL Betting Trends, First Round Odds

Before you go pencilling in the top seeds in the East and West to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, beware a couple of betting trends favoring the No. 8 seeds.

The Boston Bruins are the top seed in the East and favored to win the conference and the Cup, but they have faced the Detroit Red Wings eight times since 2009 and won just once.

With Henrik Zetterburg on the verge of returning to the Detroit lineup, are the Red Wings a tempting underdog pick as NHL playoff betting gets rolling?

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Maybe not, but there is a similar trend in the Western Conference where Anaheim earned the No. 1 seed. They have faced No. 8 Dallas 15 times in recent years and won only five times. The first round playoffs odds do not reflect this track record as the Ducks are heavy chalk.

[ See all NHL playoff series betting odds | Game lines on every matchup ]

Minnesota is another lower seed with some underdog potential against the higher-seeded and favored Colorado Avalanche. The upstart Avs may have their hands full with the veteran Wild and they open their series with the knowledge they have lost seven of the past 10 times Minnesota came to town.

However, Colorado has gotten the job lately as favorites, winning 12 of 15 games in this role.

The Battle of California rages again when the Los Angeles Kings face the San Jose Sharks. If recent history prevails, the Sharks will emerge based on their home-ice domination of LA.

San Jose is 10-1 the past 11 times Los Angeles visited and they get the extra home game as the higher seed here.

Of course, not every dog will have his day in the first round if past trends continue. The New York Rangers face the hated Philadelphia Flyers and they own an eight-game home win streak against Philly.

In fact, the Flyers, who re-signed free agent defenseman Andrew MacDonald on Tuesday, have just three wins in 15 trips to Madison Square Garden.

And if Columbus hopes to advance as the No. 7 seed and win the first playoff series in franchise history, they have to do something once that they have only done one other time since 2002 – that is, win a game in Pittsburgh.

Overall, the No. 2 seeded Penguins have won 10 of 12 games against the Blue Jackets dating back to 2006, according to the NHL database here at OddsShark.com.

Other first round betting trends for the Stanley Cup playoffs

Canadiens have won three of past four visits to Tampa

Blues have lost 6 of 7 games vs division foes (including two to Chicago)

The Kings have played OVER just twice in 18 road games vs division foes