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Babcock has Red Wings as favorites for finals

Behind the lines

May 24, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

In 2003, Mike Babcock was a young unknown coach who led the Mighty Ducks to an unexpected run to the Stanley Cup finals. Once there, Babcock's underdog Ducks played well but lost to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.

Fast-forward to today and Babcock is back in the Cup finals.

Only this time, Babcock is now a postseason veteran coaching the Detroit Red Wings, an original NHL franchise loved by Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The Red Wings, who have not won a Stanley Cup championship since 2002, have been placed as -165 favorites to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins (+135) in this year's finals, according to sportsbetting.com.

After finishing with the league's best regular-season record, the Red Wings have been favored in every playoff game and are 12-4 in the postseason.

For tonight's Game 1, Detroit is favored at -163 over the Penguins, who are listed at +153, according to Covers.com. That's bad news for Pittsburgh supporters based on Detroit's success at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings are 23-3 in their last 26 homes games when they have been favored between -151 and -200.

Pro basketball

The Detroit Pistons, who won at Boston on Thursday, are five-point home favorites over the Celtics for tonight's Game 3 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Detroit and Boston are tied at 1-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. The money line for tonight's game has the Pistons listed at -210 with the underdog Celtics at +175, according to Sportsbetting.com.

Detroit is 5-1 in six home playoff games this season and 4-2 against the point spread in those games. And, in the Pistons' last 11 games against a team with a record above .600, they are 8-3 against the point spread.

The Celtics are 1-6 against the point spread in their last seven games overall and 1-4 against the point spread in their last five playoff games as an underdog between five and 10 points.

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In updated odds on the first pick of the 2008 NBA draft, point guard Derrick Rose of NCAA runner-up Memphis is listed as a heavy favorite at 13-10, according to Sportsbook.com.

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This story is not intended as a tip sheet but is an account of significant betting taking place in the sports world.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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