Thursday, April 30, 2015

NHL Playoffs 2015: Capitals Vs. Rangers Prediction

Washington Capitals Vs. New York Rangers

Market Watch

Many picked the Rangers to either make the finals or win the cup this year. That's fine. They are a good team. But they are also severely overvalued. This round they are priced at -179, which is a 64% win probability.  I don't get that at all. If I was pricing this matchup, I'd maybe make New York -110 favorites because they hold home ice advantage.

Bottom Line

The Capitals were only one of two teams I picked right in the first round, but it took game 7 heroics from Kuznetsov to clinch the series. On the flip side, I thought the Penguins could win at least 3 games versus the Rangers. That didn't happen, but the series was a whole lot closer on the scoreboard than the pundits expected it to be.

So who has the edge between Washington and New York? In my rankings, this is essentially a coin flip. Washington were not only the better possession team in the regular season, but they maintained that in the final 25 games too. There isn't much difference with their home-road splits, and they matchup pretty evenly on special teams, too.

The Rangers have three advantages in this series. One is the playoff mojo of Lundqvist. Holtby has proven himself at this level too, but he's not on Lundqvist's level yet. Holtby also showed severe nerves last round as he let in a super softy in game 7.  Hopefully he can regain his excellent regular season form now that the first round jitters are behind him.

Another edge for NY comes from the fact that Washington needed 7 games to beat the Islanders. That could take a lot out of a team, so the Caps need to prove they are in this for the long haul, and not content to win a single round.

The final hurdle for the Caps is the lack of home ice advantage. If this goes the distance, it won't be easy winning a game 7 in Madison Square Garden. Their best chance would be to wrap this up in 6.

Yet, when it comes to betting on this matchup, the only option is Washington. They offer great value in what should be a really tight series.

Pick: Capitals (+158) (2u)