WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: Sergei Kostitsyn #74 of the Nashville Predators celebrates with teammates Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators, Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators, and David Legwand #11 of the Nashville Predators after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center on December 20, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Detroit stumbled down the stretch and was downright bad on the road, losing seven of eight.
Yet their NHL playoff pedigree has many bettors terrified to bet against them, especially against the Stanley Cup neophytes from Nashville.
But a word to the wise (and from the wise at sportsbooks around the world): the Predators will make quick work of the Red Wings.
"You might not buy into pro hockey in Tennessee and you might hate those disgusting uniforms but the Predators are a real threat to win the Western Conference," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com. [ SBNation NHL Playoff odds ]
"The public continues to bet on Detroit but the smart money is on Nashville."
Indeed the Predators boast one of the league's best goalies in Pekka Rinne and arguably the best blueline pairing in Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. They added Russian sniper Alexander Radulov in the past few weeks and have enough offense to take out the Red Wings.
But with a single playoff series win on their resume (last year against Anaheim), can the Preds beat the odds against a Detroit team that has never missed the playoffs in Nicklas Lidstrom's 21 seasons?
Nashville is a slight -115 moneyline favorite to win the series but are bigger chalk (-130 at some shops) to win Game 1 Wednesday.
Part of that stems from Detroit`s recent road woes. Part of it is Nashville's NHL-best home power play unit.
Detroit only won six times in 19 games this season when they were an underdog.
Both teams are mainly healthy, but Detroit misses speedy center Darren Helm more than most will admit.