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NHL Betting Free Picks For Sunday: Blackhawks vs. Sharks – SportsUntapped.com
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Added May 16th, 2010 by David Glisan

NHL Betting Free Picks For Sunday:  Blackhawks vs. Sharks
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NHL betting on tap for Sunday as the Chicago Blackhawks head to San Jose to face the Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  At least *this* side of the bracket makes sense, with the #1 and #2 teams facing each other as opposed to the bizarre #7 vs. #8 matchup back East.  Both teams had a relatively easy time in the previous round–again, unlike the Eastern Conference Final where Montreal and Philadelphia both come in off of 7 game series.  This game goes at 12:05 PM Pacific and will air on NBC in the US.


These teams are very evenly matched, and this series will likely go 6 or 7 games.  Having said that, we’re going to look for the Blackhawks to take Game 1.  To some extent, this is a value play–we’ll always take the plus money in an even matchup.  Based on the numbers, these teams are a perfect matchup.  The Blackhawks had the #3 scoring offense during the regular season, the Sharks #4.  Slight edge to the Hawks defensively, as they were the #5 scoring defense to San Jose’s #7.  Goaltending is pretty much a wash as well–Evgeni Nabokov has a 2.43 postseason goals against average between the pipes for the Sharks, while Antti Neimi checks in at 2.57 for Chicago. One thing that impressed us about Chicago during the regular season was their ability to limit opposing shots on goal.  The Blackhawks were #1 in the NHL in this catagory while San Jose was 19th.  In the playoffs, however, both are averaging 28.1 shots per game against.  San Jose is averaging 5 more shots on opposing netminders per game in the postseason, but they’ll have trouble maintaining that margin against the Blackhawks’ defenders.

The Blackhawks took 3 of 4 meetings during the regular season, including both games on the Sharks’ home ice.  With the exception of the Hawks’ 7-2 rout in late November at San Jose, all three of the other games were decided by a single goal.  Chicago has split the last six games in San Jose, while the Sharks hold a narrow 7-5 edge overall during the last few years.  As we noted above, this series will take 6 or 7 games to decide with plenty of close games along the way but we’ll take the value price and look for Chicago to strike first.


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