Devils Rangers Game 1 Pick


A nice winner on Sunday as the Kings never trailed and went on to win 4-2 including an empty netter that sealed the deal with about 45 seconds left in the game.

Tonight we see Game 1 of the other Conference Finals series between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.  I have no series play going here, but I do have a play for tonight’s game…

New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers – OVER 4.5 GOALS (-130)
(Note: I’m risking 1.30 units to win 1.00 units)

These two teams have met 6 times already this season and they don’t like each other at all – it should be a great series.  The totals of the 6 meetings from most recent to the first were: 6, 5, 2, 1, 7, and 5.  As you can see 4 of the 6 games got over tonight’s posted total of 4.5.  Although the Rangers have been playing the UNDER all playoffs long I think the Devils will set the pace tonight.  New Jersey has scored  3 or more goals in 7 straight games and all but 2 of their 12 postseason games thus far.  Although the Rangers have either “pushed” or went under the total in all but 1 game in these playoffs they have had a number of games with 5 goals. 7 of their 14 games have had 5 or more goals and therefore would have cashed OVER 4.5 wagers.  Tonight I see the Devils setting the pace and I expect it to be more of an offensive game than a defensive game.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game at 2-2 at one point and cashing our OVER wager tonight.


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  1. Duncan MacTavish on

    Hey Kevin. Good luck on tonight’s play but feel your analysis is a little ‘heavy’ on the past to predict the future. The figures of 6, 5, 2, 1, 7, and 5 need to be validated with context – who was in the nets for those games? / Who is playing tonight? (Biron was in nets for one of the over games). The two games that finished UNDER 4.5 both were played in NY (as tonight’s game). The game that had 7 goals actually finished 3-3 at 60 minutes (it was a shoot-out so the 7th goal isn’t factored into the total for the game.

    It goes further than I listed here and the bookies have moved the line to 4.5 rather than 5 so they can set it at -130 rather than -110 throwing temptation.

    Looking at present form, first game of a series and Rangers on home ice and both Lundqvist and Brodeur BOTH with save averages above regular season, I see the value being in the unders tonight.

    Good luck.

  2. Nice post Duncan. This play came more from a feel for the game and two teams rather than stats/numbers – which it has to sometimes.

    Although we have two good goalies in net tonight we saw probably the two best goalies so far in these playoffs (Quick and Smith) last night let in 5 goals and a total of 6 goals scored.

    I feel Game 1s in general this year have been more up-tempo take a few chances early type of games. In the later part of the series’ they usually tighten up, but it hasn’t been the case so far early in the series’.

    Take a look at the total goals scored in Game 1’s this year:

    6, 5, 5, 5, 6, 1, 5, 7 – Round 1
    4, 7, 4, 7 – Round 2
    6 – Round 3

    Game 1s that NYR participated in = 6 and 4 goals
    Game 1s that NJ participated in = 5 and 7 goals

    I’m on the OVER.

  3. Duncan MacTavish on

    Fair enough. But a general rule I follow: Stick with the context of your game and the teams/players:

    – Quick and Smith aren’t playing tonight. Their performances have nothing to do with tonight’s game and shouldn’t be given weight on your decision.

    – Of the 13 games you have used as weight in your decision, only four COULD have bearing (the ones that NYR/NJ participated in). BTW, Jersey’s games were 5 and 6 in RT.

    The nine UNRELATED results will not have weight on tonight’s game.

    The only stats that count are connected to the two teams AND the context of how they were achieved including the teams performances leading up to the games where they met.

    Bookmakers love stats. They work for them to sway punters. That’s why they offer them free on their sites.

    But they never offer up the context of those games.

    Tighten your analysis and you’ll go from betting on over 200 games a year to a third of that.

  4. Even though those two teams didn’t play in a lot of those Game 1’s they still can be analyzed in my opinion.

    The psychology of the players can be looked at, and you can use data from all NHL teams to get a general idea.

    To me from watching games and looking at numbers I feel that most players open up their style of play a little in Game 1 of a seven game series. You get a feeling that you aren’t close to elimination and would love to get up 1-0. Once it starts to get 2-1, 2-2 the players can start to feel the added pressure of elimination and may change their play to a tighter style.

    Again we all can look at betting differently but that is just one of the things I take a look at.

  5. Duncan MacTavish on


    Your quote: “you can use data from all NHL teams to get a general idea”

    You need to get SPECIFIC on the teams at hand and the game. If you use “GENERAL” data, you will get “GENERAL” results.


    You need to note the ‘context’ of the game for your notebook. Don’t rely on web-sites that give you the past. Make your own notes. You watched the game. Put it in perspective.

    Does the power play goal matter? It looks good on paper (1 for 4) but that is only the 2nd PP goal in 22 opportunities NYR have had. What’s the score of the game? 3-0? No, 2-0. Don’t count the empty net (and never count overtime and shoot-out goals – if you’re going to bet on a team, they have to justify it in RT.

    The stats offer no clues but who, in your view, ramped it up from 1st to 2nd period?

    How many players got points? Team effort or solo win (i.e. a team wins 5-2 but one player got a hat-trick (including an empty net and an assist on one other goal. It was “his night” but how did the TEAMS do?

    The game is fresh in your mind. Make the notes. They’ll carry more weight than any ‘general stats’ that are on offer.

    The more specific you get, the less games you will bet on which will hopefully lead to a better strike rate.

  6. Great analysis Duncan as always! Thanks to your points I put a little on the under I’m sure most laid the juice and took the over unlucky.