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Behind the lines

Turco could stop Detroit

May 08, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Over the years, the Detroit Red Wings have proved to be one of the NHL's most successful franchises with 10 Stanley Cup championships and 17 consecutive playoff appearances.

But despite being listed as a favorite to win the league title by Las Vegas oddsmakers almost every year, Detroit has not won hockey's championship trophy since the 2001-02 season.

That's one reason to take a second look at the Red Wings, the consensus favorite to win this season's Stanley Cup title.

Although Detroit is listed at +185 to defeat Dallas in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals, the Red Wings could be primed for an upset because of Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

Heading into tonight's Game 1 at Joe Louis Arena, Turco owns a 1.72 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in 12 playoff games. In the Stars' 2-1 four-overtime, series-clinching victory over San Jose in the second round, Turco set a franchise record with 61 saves.

Turco, however, has had problems against Detroit. He has a 2-10-5 all-time record against the Red Wings, including a 0-7-2 mark at Joe Louis Arena.

That helps explain why the early betting numbers have gamblers putting major support behind the Red Wings.

According to theSpread.com's betting chart, Detroit had received 75% of the bets to win Game 1 and at Wagerline.com, the Red Wings had received 71.10% (844-343) of the picks as of Wednesday afternoon.

At Bodoglife.com, Detroit is listed at 6-1 to win the series in four games; at 3-1 to win in five games; at 7-2 to win in six games, and at 7-2 to win in seven games.

The Stars are listed at 30-1 to sweep the series in four games; at 15-1 to win in five games; at 7-1 to win in six games; and at 8-1 to win in seven games.

Tennis

The French Open is still a couple of weeks away, but updated odds have recently been posted with Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin listed as the favorites.

Nadal -- seeking his fourth consecutive men's title -- is listed at 2-5, and Henin -- a four-time French Open champion -- tops the women's chart at 7-5.

Roger Federer, who has not won a clay-court title since 2005, and Novak Djokovic are listed behind Nadal at 9-2. The field (any other player) is listed at 10-1.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova follow Henin at 5-1, with Ana Ivanovic next at 8-1. The field is listed at 10-1.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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