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Odds and Ends

Know When to Pounce on NHL Playoff Series Bets

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: August 12, 2020, 11:25 am ET

Anybody who has ever watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs knows that postseason hockey is an absolute rollercoaster. That coaster has even more twists and turns if you’re a bookmaker adjusting the lines on series prices.

Take this year’s play-in series between the Blackhawks and Oilers. Edmonton was around -175 at puck drop of game one. They dropped down to -110 after losing the opener, then shot back up to -180 after tying the series in game two. Chicago stole the show in game three to catapult to -250 before closing out the series in four.

“We’ve got a formula,” Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told NBC Sports. “You plug in the game-by-game prices and calculate what the new series price is going to be. Then you shade accordingly.”

Formulas are great and all, but opportunity exists if you pinpoint the right team.

For instance, you could have made series bets on Chicago at +155, -110 and +160 respectively heading into the first three games against The Oil.

“That’s more of a sharp thing to do,” Murray said. “The square guys love to parlay all the favorites together. You’re going to see sharper money on certain underdogs [to win the series] and the bigger individual favorites.”

One local Las Vegas bettor wasn’t fazed by a -355 series price on the Golden Knights leading up to Tuesday night’s battle with the Blackhawks. He laid two massive bets at the SuperBook totaling $71,000 to win $20,000. Drinking all that juice makes some people squeamish, but VGK manhandled the Hawks 4-1 and they’re now as high as -850 to advance.

Talk about pouncing at the right time!

The two other series markets have already shifted drastically after Tuesday’s outcomes. Calgary went from +110 to -200 after beating Dallas and Tampa Bay skyrocketed from -300 to -550 following their five-overtime win over Columbus.

Now could be the perfect time to back Dallas down 1-0 at a price of +175.

Feeling froggy?

Five more series get underway today – so let’s find us a powerful pup that has a chance to make some noise.

Carolina is a club that can certainly steal their opener against Boston. The Hurricanes swept the Rangers 3-0 in the play-in series and their balance of speed, skill, youth and momentum makes them a scary matchup. They’ll also be chomping at the bit to face a Bruins bunch that bounced them from the postseason a year ago.

I like the ‘Canes +140 to win the series and I’ll look long and hard at any plus prices that arise throughout their best-of-seven.

Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot