Series belongs to Ducks
After continuing its dominant play at home, Anaheim is now up two games to zero over Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Ducks obviously are in control of the series, since Ottawa would need to win four out of the next five to become the champion. The Senators should put up a good fight, but it is just a matter of time before the Anaheim players are hoisting the sacred Cup.
Still, it is good to see that for the third consecutive season a Canadian team is in the Stanley Cup Finals. After all, unlike the United States, Canada truly loves the great sport of hockey, so it is only right that it has a team to support. Ironically though, Anaheim has more Canadian players than Ottawa, 20 to 14.
It is also ironic that this is the first year Anaheim is under a different ownership, and the team is now enjoying its greatest success. Disney sold the club after last season, and the word “Mighty” was dropped from the nickname, but the Ducks have never been mightier.
Predictions: In Anaheim, with captain Scott Niedermayer, all-world defenseman Chris Pronger and 2003 playoff MVP goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the physical Ducks will remain difficult to score against. But Ottawa should somehow find a way to make the series interesting. The pick is still Anaheim in seven games, and to bet on the home teams and Under. Each game should be like Games 1 and 2, very close and entertaining. Congratulations to those who wagered on these teams to win at all, both at odds as high as 15-to-1 in local sports books.
Note: Game 3 tomorrow is on NBC television instead of Versus.
Last year when Cleveland and Detroit met in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Detroit won the first two games at home, Cleveland won the next three, then Detroit finished off the Cavaliers by winning the final two.
Going into last night’s game 5, the pattern was repeating. Hopefully Cleveland won and kept it going.
Predictions: With a couple of stronger finishes by Cleveland, this series could already be over. In Games 1 and 2 the Cavaliers led 76-75, only to end the games shooting 0 for 5 in both and losing 79-76. Cleveland appears to be the stronger bet, having covered the point spread in each of the first four games.
Only Game 4 had gone Over the point total in this low-scoring series, so the picks are to take Cleveland and Under, with the Cavaliers winning in 7.
Finals – No matter which team San Antonio meets in the Finals, expect the Spurs to win another low-scoring series.
San Antonio led the league in defense, Detroit was second, and Cleveland was fifth. Things could get ugly, and television ratings should be low.
Although odds are impossible to find in local sports books, a very entertaining event to watch is the College World Series in women’s softball.
Last year most everyone raved about the intenseness and competitiveness of the entire tournament.
Check it out and decide for yourself.
• Joe Ellison is the Appeal’s betting columnist. His column appears every Friday.