Boston is the underdog in the Stanley Cup Final, but there is danger for the many Blackhawk bettors who are flocking to sportsbook windows this week.
The danger is that the Bruins are playing perfect playoff hockey. Not beautiful, artful playoff hockey, but defense-first, lockdown-mentality, frustrate-your-opponent-to-death playoff hockey.
The betting consensus data at OddsShark.com showed roughly 65 percent of the early action on host Chicago. But at one book, the betting public was backing the road team.
“You can’t understate what Boston just did to Pittsburgh, shutting them down with two goals in a four-game sweep, and it seems our bettors are siding with the Bruins,” said Adam Burns, sportsbook manager at Bodog.eu, who had nearly 60 percent of bets on Boston.
“They have won nine of 10 overall, their goaltending has been stellar but I won’t be surprised to see some sharp money swing Chicago’s way before puck drop.”
In early Game 1 wagering, Bodog was offering Boston as a +130 underdog, with Chicago chalked at -150, according to Stanley Cup odds. The Bruins were also getting +120 to win this Stanley Cup championship series, with the 'Hawks favored by -140.
Burns said nearly three of every four series bettors were picking the Bruins, but he expected more Chicago bettors to jump in Wednesday before Game 1.
For over-confident bettors who believe Boston can duplicate its sweep of the Penguins, the payout was priced Tuesday at +1400.
Because of the abbreviated 48-game regular season, the most recent meeting between these teams occurred back in October of 2011. Overall, the teams have met just eight times since 2004, with the Bruins holding a 6-2 advantage.
Can Boston, after a nearly 40-year Stanley Cup drought, win its second league title in the last three seasons? Here's a few reasons why that's a definite possibility.
The Bruins barge into this series in the wake of their four-game whitewash of the vaunted Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals. Pittsburgh had averaged a league-high 3.4 goals per game during the regular season; Boston's defense held the Pens to two goals total in the four-game sweep.
The Bruins also proved they can do the never-say-die thing, when back in the first round against Toronto, down 4-1 with less than 11 minutes to go in Game 7, they rallied to force overtime, then won 5-4.
Overall, Boston has won nine of its last 10 games.
While Chicago was the top playoff seed in the West, and Boston was the four seed in the East, the lower-seeded teams have won six of the 14 series in this Spring's playoffs. For the math-challenged, that is one series victory shy of 50-50.
Finally, while the Blackhawks own home-ice advantage for this series, the Bruins are 5-2 on the road in these playoffs.
Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Final will be played Saturday in Chicago (8 pm ET, NBCS), before the teams move to Boston for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday. Current NHL Stanley Cup odds for Game 1 as of Tuesday, per Bodog:
Total: 5 ov +130, un -150
Stats, lines, trends and standings courtesy of OddsShark.com.