Follow the money.
It’s hard to be un-emotional headed into postseason play. As you watch your team over the final few weeks of the regular season, in whatever sport it is you’re watching, you tend to agonize over every shift, pitch, shot, block, or stumble.
Everything leads to a reaction. To a conclusion.
The Blues had one of the most disastrous finishes to a season that you could have had.
We all know the story by now. Injuries, lack of offense, losses piling up in a fashion that hadn’t been seen all year. Blues fans were sent into a panic. Still are, perhaps. Emotion has taken over objectivity in terms of forecasting the Blues-Blackhawks first round matchup.
And I preface this column by pointing out, that’s how it should be. Fans are emotional. That’s why fans are often wrong about what the true, objective opinion about their team is, almost always overrating what they really are.
I also write this while readily pointing out that I have no idea what is going to happen in the series. And that hearing the narratives surrounding the series probably has me influenced.
You know who isn’t swayed by any of that? Las Vegas.Which is why the NHL postseason odds released yesterday by Bovada stood out to me.
After hearing from Blues fans all week, and doing radio hits in Chicago, as well as talking to friends in Chicago, it seemed the results of any informal poll would yield a Blackhawks sweep as the most likely outcome of the St. Louis-Chicago first round series.
Not so fast.
Vegas opened the Blues and Blackhawks as the only even first round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with both teams -110 to win.
That means, you need to bet $110 to win $100. Theoretically, of course.
Puts things into perspective over the last few crazy weeks. The opinion of the Blues (at least via the fans and media) has plunged, and not unreasonably so.
What has stayed consistent? The opinion of Vegas.
In fact, the Blues are still the team favored to win the Western Conference, and are behind only the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. See for yourself:
Per Bovada (www.Bovada.lv, @BovadaLV) :
Chicago Blackhawks (Series Prices) 10/11 (-110)
St. Louis Blues (Series Prices) 10/11 (-110)
Montreal Canadiens (Series Prices) 20/21 (-105)
Tampa Bay Lightning (Series Prices) 20/23 (-115)
Columbus Blue Jackets (Series Prices) 11/5 (+220)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Series Prices) 5/13 (-260)
Dallas Stars (Series Prices) 33/20 (+165)
Anaheim Ducks (Series Prices) 10/19 (-190)
Philadelphia Flyers (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)
New York Rangers (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)
Minnesota Wild (Series Prices) 23/20 (+115)
Colorado Avalanche (Series Prices) 20/27 (-135)
Los Angeles Kings (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)
San Jose Sharks (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)
Detroit Red Wings (Series Prices) 5/2 (+250)
Boston Bruins (Series Prices) 1/3 (-300)
Odds to Win the 2014 Western Conference
St. Louis Blues 5/2
Chicago Blackhawks 15/4
San Jose Sharks 9/2
Anaheim Ducks 5/1
Los Angeles Kings 6/1
Colorado Avalanche 13/2
Minnesota Wild 18/1
Dallas Stars 22/1
Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup
Boston Bruins 7/2
St. Louis Blues 6/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 7/1
Chicago Blackhawks 8/1
Anaheim Ducks 9/1
San Jose Sharks 9/1
Los Angeles Kings 10/1
Colorado Avalanche 14/1
Detroit Red Wings 20/1
Montreal Canadiens 20/1
New York Rangers 20/1
Philadelphia Flyers 20/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 25/1
Minnesota Wild 40/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 50/1
Dallas Stars 50/1
And what else stands out about what Vegas thinks about the first round of the postseason? They don’t think too highly of the Colorado Avalanche.
I usually choose to trust Vegas when it comes to things like this. As the saying goes, there is a reason that they keep building skyscrapers filled with money. Or something like that.
And I am by no means saying the Blues WILL win the West, or the Stanley Cup, or even beat the Blackhawks.
This column isn’t meant to advocate that the injured players will all return tomorrow, or the scoring drought will end, or Ryan Miller will turn into Ryan Miller.
That’s not the point.
Because I don’t know any of that. Blues fans don’t know any of that.
But what do I know?
I’ll be following the money. And this series, like we would have expected a few weeks ago, looks to be dead even.
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