The run to the Cup begins Wednesday with three games to kickoff the first round of NHL Playoff betting. Detroit and Nashville split the season series with three wins apiece and the Predators are home favorites for Game 1 tonight in the Volunteer State
Nashville is making its third consecutive trip to the NHL playoffs but the Predators have advanced past the first round just once, in 2011 vs. Anaheim
With St. Louis charging to the top of the Western Conference in March, Nashville and Detroit spent the final month of the season fighting for home ice advantage in what was pretty much the only first round matchup we could all see coming.
The Blues slipped off the pace and lost the No. 1 seed to Vancouver but still won the Central by five points. Nashville finished with a 4-1 record in its final five games including a 4-1 win over Detroit on March 30 at Joe Louis Arena.
Jimmy Howard (35-17-4, 2.12 GAA, .902 SV) was in net for the Wings and they were on home ice, helping solidify the Predators (-120) as a series favorite for Round 1 betting. Online sportsbooks didn’t veer far from that line for Game 1, making the Preds a -122 money line fave with a total of 5 Over -135.
The Wings averaged 2.92 goals per game (GPG) overall this season but that mark fell to 2.37 GPG on the road. Detroit had 12 overs and 26 unders after playing a home game and during the second-half of the season, posted a 1-11 O/U record vs. teams with a win percentage between .500 and .600.
Nashville had 1 over and 7 unders this season following a game where they scored 5-plus goals but it’s worth pointing out that on three-plus days of rest, Detroit’s scoring average and the Preds’ goals-against spiked to 3.71 and 3.20 respectively.
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Pekka Rinne (43-18-8, 2.39 GAA, .923 SV) played in 73 games this season and could impact his team’s chances of making an extended playoff run but the Preds are squarely focused on this Round 1 rivalry. During the second-half, Rinne was 15-7-4 (2.44 GAA and .919 SV) and during last year’s playoffs he allowed just one goal in the first game of each round (Ducks, Canucks).
The stats on days of rest are somewhat troubling but the Wings but Howard had 2 overs and 12 unders away vs. the division and these teams went 1-4-1 O/U this season in six meetings. We expect that trend to continue.
Pick: Take the Under