Betting the 2010 Stanley Cup FinalsIt's no surprise to see the Chicago Blackhawks playing for the Stanley Cup. Chicago was one of the top teams in the NHL all season, finishing second in the Western Conference with 112 points, just one back of San Jose.
The Philadelphia Flyers are another story, however, as it took a shootout victory over the New York Rangers on the final day of the season just to reach the playoffs. But once here, the Flyers have done the seemingly impossible, including coming back from a 3-0 deficit against Boston to reach the Finals.
The oddsmakers are obviously more impressed with the Black Hawks than they are with the Flyers and Chicago is a hefty -240 favorite, while the Flyers are +200 to win the series.
Match-UpsThe strength of both teams are its forwards, while each squad also has some big-time defenders, who can log plenty of minutes and get the job done.
Ultimately, the series is going to come down to which goalie rises to the occasion and both netminders are coming into the series in good form.
Philadelphia's Michael Leighton has been nothing short of brilliant since taking over for the injured Brian Boucher and is 6-1 with a 1.45 GAA in the playoffs. Leighton has three shutouts in his last five games and has been solid in all but one start.
Chicago will counter with Antti Niemi, who has allowed just eight goals over his last five outings. Niemi had allowed 23 goals in his previous seven starts, so it's imperative for him to get off to a good start.
Chicago will have home ice advantage and the Black Hawks were a solid 29-8-4 at home during the regular season, but did have some troubles at home during the playoffs dropping two of three to Vancouver and one game to Nashville.
The Black Hawks deserve to be favored, but it's hard to overlook what Philadelphia has done since the Flyers reached the playoffs.
We have had a fair amount of success during the playoffs taking the underdog with the intention of buying back the bet as the series progresses and that may be the best strategy to take once again.
I'll take the Flyers +200 to start the series and if Philadelphia can take one of the first two games, look to buy back some of it if Chicago drops to -170 or less on the series line.