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Liiga playoffs after three games

Betting thoughts about Liiga playoffs after three games

Tappara 2-1 (Power Rating: 62 from 61, Championship odds: 3x from 4x)

Tappara was my initial favorite before the season. They won the regular season, albeit with "poor play." Grönborg modified Tappara's playing style a lot, and I agree with the "meidän peli" -experts; Tappara is now more prone to mistakes, both offensively and defensively, compared to the traditional Tappara style. This is not good for success in the playoff environment.

That being said, Grönborg is an experienced coach who has won big games. Tappara has strong player material. But for me, they do not look like solid SM favorites anymore.

Tappara was just a mid-pack team in the league's net goal expectation statistics. Was the team lucky, or were their goal attempts of exceptional quality? And is Tappara goaltender Christian Heljanko as good as his figures suggest? He has played well in during the regular season and against TPS, too. But if he hits a bad or unlucky night, Tappara might face a problem, because Tappara lacks a strong backup. This could be a disadvantage in the playoffs.

In the first match-up with TPS, Heljanko saved Tappara from being the trailing team after the weak first period—and even during the second period. In the third, Tappara improved a bit in their play, but the final score of 4-1 flattered them.

I thought Tappara might have been just "sleepy" in the first playoff game after the off-week, but in the second matchup in Turku, TPS continued to be a better team. TPS won deservedly.

I found third tie on Saturday in Tampere is very hard to assess. I expected Tappara to improve, but TPS had shown, that they are stronger, than I thought two weeks ago.

In Tappara clinched the actual game by three first period goals against an unconcentrated TPS, who were the better side after that. TPS had played six games in nine days, so one can only admire how they fought. Tappara has now taken a strong grip of the series with the home game to come next. However, they are hard to bet even with improvement expected, because they have looked so vulnerable - even for statisticians.

TPS 1-1 (Power Rating: 53 from 53, Championship odds: 46x from 26x)

I initially considered TPS a modest, poorly managed organization, but I was wrong. TPS has had good coaching, and their acquisitions during the season have been more successful than expected, especially the two young IFK players, Teissala and Salin. The team has the physicality needed for the playoffs. TPS has excellent puck control and allows very few shots. Therefore, TPS can keep their home games against Tappara surprisingly even and low-scoring, although advancing to the next round seems unlikely.

Already in the first away tie against Tappara, TPS had more of the puck and good scoring opportunities! The scoreline of 4-1 to Tappara with two empty-net goals was misleading. In game two, TPS won deservedly and dominated the statistics.

It is still hard to believe that TPS would be a champion, and there is a risk that their goaltending would collapse later during the series. However, at least the physical and puck-controlling TPS will keep the games tight and low-scoring.

Even the third meeting between the teams was tighter than the final score suggested. According to TPS coach Miettinen, "Tepsi" was mentally tired after having played six games in nine days, and Tappara explored that by scoring three first period goal. Since then the game was tight and TPS slightly better in fact.

The fourth game in Turku will be decisive. TPS got now three much-needed rest days, and they'll keep fighting hard. Tappara need to improve their play. If they would win as a slight favorite, then TPS could collapse facing the need to win three in a row - and twice in Tampere.

Ilves 1-2 (Power Rating: 62 from 62, Championship odds: 7x from 5.15x via 10x

Ilves was very close to Tappara in my power ratings, before the season and still before the play-offs. They played well against Kalpa in the first match but slipped their "safe" 3-1 lead with silly mistakes. Ilves has good coaching and a lot of upcoming young talent. If they survive in the very tight second match-up away at Kuopio, they'll return as at least a joint favorite to the exciting championship race. However, the hard-working and solid KalPa is a team with a big T, and the result of the Saturday thriller is almost a coin flip. Losing that, Ilves will face a real risk of being eliminated, even if they might be the strongest team at the moment! That example underlines the cruelness of playoff hockey.

Even the second and the third tie went to extra time. KalPa was luckier in second, Ilves in third. On both occasions Ilves was slightly better, especially in the third game home.

The Thursday game in Kuopio will be another coin flip. The winner takes a very strong position in the series.

KalPa 2-1 (Power Rating: 54 from 53, Championship odds: 9x from 13x via 8x)

KalPa appears to be a stylistically consistent and disciplined playoff team. Before the playoffs, I rated them quite far behind the top four, but I might have been wrong. An alternative view is that Ilves made mistakes and was unlucky to lose the first two games. On the third, Ilves was the better side. However, hard-working and fighting KalPa is with their strong home support as probable winner as Ilves on Thursday

Pelicans 3-0 (Power Rating: 59 from 58, Championship odds: 5x from 6.50x)

Pelicans exceeded expectations last year and have exceeded expectations again this year by finishing third in the regular season.

When the playoffs started, I still considered the Pelicans inferior to IFK. Now after seeing three solid performances from them, i rate them as good as HIFK and not that much weaker than the Tampere teams or Kärpät. However, I find their current championship price 4.15 very skinny.

I am not second-guessing my opinion, even if Pelicans was the luckier team in the first two "anybody's games".

Pelicans is a hardworking team and is now a big favorite to progress to the semifinals. There, they would be underdogs against Ilves or Kärpät but slight favorites against KalPa or TPS.

Pelicans' goaltender, Kokko, has played very well, even in the play-offs. He gives an impression of a laid-back, relaxed lad, so the play-offs-pressures hardly hurt him. I wasn't sure about that before the series started. That is very important for Pelicans, because they cannot expect help from their backup goaltenders.

HIFK 0-3 (Power Rating: 58 from 58, Championship odds: 61x from 16x)

IFK were beaten in the first match-up vs. Pelicans in a strange anybody game. The significant home advantage with the crowd and the advantage of matching Tyrväinen-line vs. Lehterä-line affected the outcome. On the second tie on Friday, that was not a factor. HIFK played well and energetically, and my favorite player, Jonas Rask, showed his fighting spirit with the HIFK goal. Unfortunately, the better scoring chances did not go in, and two bad mistakes by goaltender Taponen cost HIFK the game.

On Saturday, HIFK lost again because of terrible mistakes.

HIFK is not worse than Pelicans, and in their home do-or-die game on Tuesday, they are a bet at 1.8x to survive.

HIFK was a bit unlucky in their finishing, and ordinarily reliable goalie Roope Taponen gave away two goals in the second leg. As you can see, even with that situation, the individual match markets, the championship market, and "to progress next round are entirely different worlds.

Kärpät 3-0 (Power Rating: 60 from 60, Championship odds: 4.3x from 5x)

Something probably improved psychologically inside the Karpät dressing room, when a good and experienced coach Lauri Marjamäki was sacked after a bad period mid-season. Kärpät's new coach, Ville Mäntymaa, was a question mark, but when he got the "genius" championship coach Mikko Mantere by his side, Kärpät returned to the championship race as a strong contender. Although the team's lineup has changed during the season, the player material is still high quality. Kärpät has two good goaltenders. Westerlund is excellent, and Karhunen is decent.

Karhunen started against Jukurit and played well as the skaters, too. Karpät actually scored all five goals in the match—the only Jukurit goal was an own goal from a "too well won" face-off! Kärpät (and their home support) might be returning to a level the classy team deserves.

The second tie was very tight, and Jukurit could have scored the opening goal. Then, everything would have been different. Even in a 1-1 situation, Jukurit had more Xg.

On the third meeting, Kärpät was slightly better, with the support from their fans, finally getting back behind their team.

Jukurit 0-3 (Power Rating: 56 from 56, Championship odds: 91x from 18x)

According to our Xg-calculations, Jukurit played well during the regular season. Unlucky enough, they faced slightly better and luckier Kärpät in the first play-offs round. Jukurit might be worth a bet at 1.8x or more (ML OT inc.) on their do-or-die game on Tuesday in Mikkeli, even if their situation looks desperate to go through to semifinals.

ESBC:n kanssa enemmän iloa vedonlyönnistä

ESBC:n voittamisen resepti perustuu Suomen tunnetuimman vedonlyöntisijoittajan Jorma Vuoksenmaan tutkimustuloksiin ja yli 30 voitollisen vuoden kokemukseen vedonlyönnistä. Jorma Vuoksenmaa ja ESBC:n työntekijät pelaavat samaan analyysiin perustuen samoja kohteita kuin asiakkaamme.

ESBC:n sivustolta peliharrastajat ja -sijoittajat saavat ajankohtaiset sijoitusneuvot vedonlyöntiin. ESBC ylläpitää kykyään parantaa asiakkaittensa menestystä yliopistotasoisella tutkimuksella pelisijoittamisesta ja urheilusta.


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