Why Blues-Bruins Could Come Down to NHL Playoff Experience in Game 7

Jun 12, 2019 9:55 PM EDT
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Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

  • Does experience really matter in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
  • Using Bet Labs, Evan Abrams looks at how to factor it in when betting the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.

The last time the St. Louis Blues made the Stanley Cup Final was 1970, which is the same year that the NFL and AFL merged.

In their history, the Blues have played in the final three times (1968-70), their first three seasons in the league.

The Blues are the oldest active NHL team to have never won the Stanley Cup. More recently, the Blues made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons between 2012-17, but only made it as far as the Conference Finals in those six trips.

Last season, the Blues missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11 and just the ninth time in the 51 seasons as a franchise.

The Bruins, on the other hand, have made the playoffs in three straight seasons and have now played in the Stanley Cup Final three times in the past nine years.

The NHL playoffs — especially the Stanley Cup — are decided by small margins, so assuming that playoff experience can be the deciding factor doesn’t seem that farfetched.

Since 2005, the Stanley Cup Final has featured a series where one team had this specific playoff edge from the previous season three times prior to this year:

  • 2018 Stanley Cup: Capitals with the playoff experience beat the expansion Golden Knights in five games.
  • 2016 Stanley Cup: Penguins with the playoff experience beat the Sharks in six games to win the Cup. Pittsburgh would go on to win the cup the next season, too.
  • 2012 Stanley Cup: Kings with the playoff experience beat the Devils in six games to win their first cup in franchise history.

According to our data at Bet Labs, teams that made the playoffs the season prior have had a distinct advantage over teams that did not.

Since 2005, playoff teams from the season prior are 262-186 (58.5%) when facing non-playoff team, profiting bettors $2,730 on a $100 wager per game basis.

Where the advantage really comes into play is when the two teams are deep in the playoffs, in the Conference Finals or later.

In the conference finals and Stanley Cup, teams with this playoff edge are 49-31 (61.3%), winning by 0.8 goals per game. When those teams are receiving the majority ticket count on the moneyline (see live betting pct and odds), they move to 36-20 (64.3%), winning by over a full goal per game.

When the team with the playoff advantage is coming off a loss in this spot, it has been very profitable to back them in their next game

Even though the Blues and Bruins have very different histories when it comes to the playoffs, both teams have been through the gambit over the last few years in the postseason, and that experience could be the difference in such a tight Stanley Cup Final.

Upcoming NHL Stanley Cup Finals Schedule

  • Wednesday, June 12 — Game 7: Blues at Bruins (Series tied 3-3)
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