NHL Conference Final Previews: Can 50% really earn 50%?

How would you like to invest in two very, very solid teams and know that even if youre only right with half of the equation youre still going to make a 50% return? This is precisely the opportunity being offered to you with this years Stanley Cup playoffs Conference Finals. Both the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers are nearly 2 to 1 underdogs in their respective series. Using $100 wagers to keep the math simple take a look at what happens if you invest $100 on each dog. Youve layed out $200 and if just one of the dogs wins youre getting back $300 for your investment (a $100 profit on a $200 investment) since each dog pays back at nearly 2 to 1 odds. For the sake of comparison, try doing this in the stock market during the same time the Conference Finals are taking place and then report back with your results. If you can get a 50% return on your money in two weeks on the stock market please do let us know!

The fact is of course that there certainly is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to sports gaming or the stock market but the purpose of this article is to let you know about what we feel is some fantastic line value being offered with the two underdogs in this series. Yes, the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins have the home ice edge in their respective series but, just one road win in the first two games of the series and the home ice edge has suddenly vanished. Well be taking a long look at value throughout this series but in terms of value on the series prices it seems to clearly lie with the underdogs in these series. We feel there is good reason to believe that either one of these dogs could make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. In fact, we would not be shocked at all if they both found their way in! Dallas and Philadelphia have each already disproved the naysayers and yet neither club seems to be getting the respect they deserve.

The big story behind the past playoff failures of Dallas was goalie Marty Turco. Even last season, when the Stars lost to the Canucks, many blamed Turco for not leading Dallas past the first round. However, in truth, how much more could he have done? Turco had a 1.30 GAA and a .952 save percentage and he shut out Vancouver three times in the series! Also, many seem to have forgotten that Turco actually did win his first round series in his first ever playoff appearance back in 2003 when the Stars defeated the Oilers in six games. After what has happened in this postseason, Turco now has the confidence he once lacked and the experience is certainly showing its true value now! The Stars netminder helped lead Dallas past two big obstacles to get to these Western Conference Finals. The Stars beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks and then Dallas proceeded to dispatch of a team many thought had the best shot of any at the cup, the San Jose Sharks. In defeating these two teams Turco matched up with J-S Giguere of the Ducks and Evgeni Nabokov of the Sharkstalk about elite company! Now we know the Red Wings are a very, very strong hockey club as there is simply no doubt about that. However, Dominik Hasek was so inconsistent between the pipes that Chris Osgood took over. The Red Wings managed to get by Nashville and Colorado but neither one of those teams were considered as Cup worthy as Anaheim or San Jose. The point is that the Red Wings could be in for a big shock with these Stars and this gritty Dallas club has all the right ingredients to pull off the upset!

In the Battle of PA the two NHL teams from the Keystone State will be facing off back East. After getting totally dominated by the Penguins in the 2006-07 season (when the Flyers were the doormat of the Atlantic Division), this season Philadelphia has certainly shown what a difference a year can make! The Flyers continue to have their doubters but they have proven time and time again thats what black and white on paper doesnt always make the most sense on the ice! Philadelphia wasnt suppose to make the playoffs. Then the Flyers werent suppose to be able to get past the upstart Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin. Next it was the high powered offense and home ice edge of the Canadiens that was supposed to turn Philly away. Now its Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that are suppose to leave the Flyers without a prayer in this series. Do you really want to bet against Philadelphia again? If you do youre probably in the minority. Its simply hard to bet against this team right now. They continue to find ways to win games and Daniel Briere and RJ Umberger have had big postseasons so far. Also, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter dont get near the hype that Crosby and Malkin get but these two young Flyers are extremely talented and their speed and energy on the ice rubs off on the entire team.

Philadelphia is also underrated because many forget how important depth is in the playoffs. The Flyers are solid in their depth as they have four lines that all have provided their share of success throughout these playoffs. The top three lines have been most notable but all four lines have done a good job of cycling the puck and providing consistent play so far this postseason. Defensively the Flyers are getting good production from a top six group of defenseman and the Flyers have a good handle on being physical with the opposition but yet staying out of the penalty box. This has allowed the Flyers to avoid playing from behind as, more often than not, the Flyers have jumped out to the lead early in their postseason games and there is no doubt that this has helped goalie Martin Biron to get to the fantastic level hes now at! Biron has come a long way in this postseason and beating the Capitals in a Game Seven and then the Quebec natives four straight victories over Montreal have certainly bolstered Birons confidence heading into this series. While we definitely respect the talent level of the Penguins and the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid between the pipes, as we noted previously, do you really want to bet against Philadelphia again? Didnt think so! Big value with the two dogs in these Conference Finals and the 50-50 Theory is indeed in full effect here! Good luck Nick BookieKiller Parsons