If you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know today to make informed betting choices, you’ve come to the right place!
1. NHL playoff matchups set
It won’t feature the traditional rivalries hockey fans were hoping to see, but the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs should be interesting nonetheless when action gets underway Wednesday (April 12). The lines for each series have yet to be released, but in the Eastern Conference, expect Washington to be enormous favorites over Toronto; Pittsburgh and Montreal to be slight favorites over Columbus and New York, respectively; while the Ottawa and Boston series is a toss up.
In the West, the Blackhawks and Ducks will offer little value to win over the Predators and Ducks, while the other two series — Edmonton vs San Jose and Minnesota vs St Louis — should be tighter, with the potential to go seven games. Expect a more in depth preview to come once the lines are released.
2. Bears part ways with Tracy Porter
Looking at Chicago’s roster, it would seem like the one area they can’t afford to give up experience is in the secondary. But after signing a flurry of defensive backs this offseason, the Bears released their lone corner who has started more than ten games in each of the previous two years.
Without Porter, the Bears now enter camp with a cast of question marks at cornerback. Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and BW Webb were second or third on the depth chart for their respective teams last year, while Chicago still doesn’t know what they have in Kyle Fuller or Deiondre Hall, who were injured last season. The Bears front seven is excellent, and could get more help in the draft, but if they can’t find a mix that works in the secondary, their defense will never be great. And if the defense isn’t great, they won’t be winning a lot of games … because they have Mike Glennon at QB.
For now, Chicago is only worth a bet to finish last. But keep them in mind when win totals come out. They should be low on the list and, over the course of the offseason, if it looks like they’ve found a combination at corner that isn’t completely inept, this team could well surpass its total.
Photo Credit: Andy from Pittsburgh, United States (hoisting the cup) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons