2017 Stanley Cup Finals Betting Preview

The 2017 Stanley Cup Finals is simply a great story. It's either the blossoming of hockey in the deep south as hockey-crazy Nashville gets the championship the franchise and fans frankly deserve, or it's the establishment of the first back-to-back champions since the league invoked a salary cap. That in itself is something astonishing.

Perhaps the most intriguing part about this matchup is that it could be a tell-all for what you want to build your team around. The mantra "defense wins championships" has long been attached to American football, but now this may be the new calling card of the NHL.

The Nashville Predators boast the best defensive pairing in the entire league with superstar P.K. Subban often sharing ice time with Roman Josi. They will have their hands full with the element that has consistently made Pittsburgh strong - their forwards. The centers for the Penguins include some guys named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who you may have heard of.

So you can have your opinions about who is going to win and why, but those that frequently bet hockey know that this series can easily get turned on its head. More often than not, the team with the hot handed goalie gets the tip of the proverbial cap. In this case, it's hard not to prefer the Predators if that's your line of thinking.

Betting statistics on the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals are also swerving the conversation. Many experts are announcing that the series will go to seven games, but that hasn't been the case historically. The finals has been decided in fewer than seven games in 8 of the last 10 renewals. For me, I like this series to go six games which means you're taking Nashville at +350 or Pittsburgh at +400 to win in 6 games. Check out those odds in our NHL futures market.

I also really love the UNDER in each of the games. The typical TOTAL for a hockey game is 5.5 goals, and the fact that Pittsburgh will attempt to put the clamps on Nashville's limited offensive game plan plays right into that. It's always hard to predict which team will win an NHL playoff game but the UNDER seems like a logical play for almost all the games unless something drastic happens. The Predators losing top center Ryan Johansen already puts a damper on what they can accomplish offensively.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the preference for very good reason at -165. That number was actually bet up from where it opened at -140. The Predators have held fast in the +145 range since busting through to the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals betting round.

And honestly, the best way to bet this is with your heart. That's why the NHL playoffs are so fun. You can have the defending champions fight their way back, or you can have a gritty 16th seed claw their way to within arms reach of the holy grail.

The logical choice is the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have more versatility, more scoring punch and a ton of guys who have been there before. The problem? Nashville just tore apart Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim who are all teams that boast the same qualities that would make Pittsburgh a better option than Nashville.

Some would suggest that Crosby is the tipping point. I'd say the same thing about Subban.

Which is ultimately why I'm going with the Nashville Predators in six games. Game on!