🏒Stanley Cup Conference finals betting: Looking at in-series value after Game 1👀

🏒Stanley Cup Conference finals betting: Looking at in-series value after Game 1👀

TheGx sports betting forum copy and paste machines reporting:

No one would blame you if you dozed in and out of consciousness during the nearly four full periods of overtime in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday night. The fourth-longest game ever televised didn't just provide many of us with a rough wake-up on Friday morning, it also gave us the gift of a larger sample size.

We use this space after each initial game of a Stanley Cup Playoff series to assess where each matchup stands after a first look at the two teams regardless of outcome. Normally that means around 50 minutes of even-strength play, but thanks to the Panthers and Hurricanes' epic, we've got more than 124 minutes of action to work with. All for the price of one game and a couple hours of sleep.

Panthers (-170) vs. Hurricanes (+140)

Game 2: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. EST

Already on record as thinking that we're headed for a long series, potentially concluding with a the seventh game in Raleigh, nothing from Game 1 gave us reason to change that mindset. We saw almost seven periods of dead-even hockey where, as usual, the Hurricanes had the edge in expected goals at even-strength, but the Panthers had more high-danger chances (26-21). The Canes went 0-for-21 on those even-strength chances thanks to an epic performance from Sergei Bobrovsky, so they're theoretically due for some positive regression in that department.

Truthfully, had Carolina got the difference-making goal before Matthew Tkachuk fired one top corner, we probably would be looking at the Panthers at an inflated payout for the rest of the series. Essentially, a series assumed to be even was just that for seven periods, and since it was priced pretty fairly beforehand, taking whatever plus-price we can get on the Hurricanes should yield some value by the time an elimination game is played.

Stars (+190) vs. Golden Knights (-230)

Game 2: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. EST

The Western Conference final opener also went to overtime, but just after you put on a pot of coffee, the Golden Knights scored 95 seconds in. Vegas' four goals featured a semi-intentional back-board pass, a fanned wrist shot, a semi-accidental crease-crash rebound, and the winner from behind the goal line that was pinned under Jake Oettinger's pad as he spun into the net. This all might have been weirder than the totality of four overtimes.

From an even-strength metrics standpoint, the Golden Knights were decidedly better than the Stars. Vegas carried the play to a 2:1 ratio in both expected goals (3.07-1.57) and high-danger chances (11-5). But scoring three times on those HDC continues what we believe to be unsustainable conversion rates.

We liked the Stars in the series at an underdog price of +120 on Tuesday, and from a market-analysis standpoint, that was a good instinct since they closed as low as +105 by puck-drop on Friday. As much as one game gives us a hint about the matchup, if we liked the Stars before, one uneven game in favor of the home team shouldn't dissuade us. We're getting almost 2-to-1 on a series that is still just as likely to come down to a Game 7 - where Dallas has the head coach who's perfect in eight winner-take-all events.

Game 1 winners have gone on to win just five of 12 series this playoffs - something we've taken advantage of. While that stat doesn't predict anything going forward, with a pair of teams at a plus-price, getting at least one of the Hurricanes and Stars to come back and win would earn a profit, and both are certainly live to do it.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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