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MLB Sportsbetting – Division Rivalries Swing Into High Gear This Baseball Weekend

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 4/8/2011 5:26:00 PM
mlb sportsbetting

The sports betting community faces a lot of tricky and multi-layered considerations when dealing with the final week of the NHL regular season. The push for the final playoff spots can create powerful incentives for lower-tier teams to rise up and play spoiler, while the higher seeds coast to the finish line or, perhaps, grow weary of the push to the finish line. The final week of a regular season is normally a very difficult thing to navigate, so imagine how much tougher it must be for NHL betting gurus to size up the final two days of the season, days when the merits of the NHL trade deadline are important only for the teams that sit on the playoff fence.

By the time the last two games of the NHL season arrive, at least six – if not seven – playoff tickets have already been punched in each conference, leaving just two or three teams to wage a spirited contest for the last one or two postseason berths. It’s for these teams that personnel issues are still waiting to be judged; not until a team definitively makes or misses the playoffs can the past winter’s trade moves be judged in a full and honest light.

With March Madness betting now a thing of the past, the focus shifts to the final two days of the NHL season this weekend. Predicting winners in this 48-hour time frame demands an ability to look beyond Xs and Os. One must be able to look at solutions in a holistic manner and observe the total range of challenges teams face.

On Saturday, the New York Rangers host the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have not yet wrapped up an Eastern Conference playoff spot, so there’s a very realistic chance that they might not be securely locked into the postseason when they take the ice against their fierce rival across the Hudson River. The Rangers, along with the Buffalo Sabres, are very likely to need each and every one of their 82 NHL games to earn a place in the tournament for Lord Stanley’s cup. This last-game, end-stage pressure is something that can make athletes shrink, but it’s just as likely to make hockey players dig a little deeper at crunch time. New Jersey will not make the playoffs and has cooled off after a huge push in the months of February and March. The Devils will likely fall flat while the Rangers pick up a huge victory.

Late Saturday night, there’s an even more intriguing game for the betting player. Vancouver, the team with the best record in the entire NHL, will close its regular season at Calgary, a team that currently sits in ninth place in the Western Conference and is probably going to miss the postseason. Vancouver is, on the merits, a much better team than Calgary, but because the Flames will be playing their season finale at home while the Canucks rest people for the playoffs, Calgary should be the choice on this particular night.

A similar scenario should unfold on Sunday in the West, as Detroit goes to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ home finale. Detroit is comfortably in the playoffs, but Chicago – as of the writing of this piece – doesn’t enjoy the same degree of security. The Blackhawks will be far more motivated to play well than the Red Wings. That should carry Chicago to a home triumph and a spot in the playoffs one year after the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship since 1961.

NHL Weekend Betting Picks: New York Rangers over New Jersey (Saturday), Calgary over Vancouver (Saturday), Chicago over Detroit (Sunday).



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