The Detroit Red Wings are the perceived Goliath in this series and are going up against the underdog Phoenix Coyotes, who will play the role of David in this matchup.

Truth be told, these teams are far more even than one might think.

Both squads slumped down the stretch of the season so anything is possible. With an edge in net for the Coyotes and a lack of home-ice advantage for the Red Wings, take a shot with Phoenix as an underdog at the NHL betting window in Game 1.

The Phoenix Coyotes Can Win Because…:

The Detroit Red Wings were a mess down the stretch of the regular season.

At one point, Detroit seemed to be a sure-shot to finish second in the Western Conference but they only had eight wins (and 10 losses) since the start of March and dropped down to third. Entering the playoffs, the Red Wings have just four wins in their last 11 games and they will be without leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg for at least the first game of this series.

Each teams earned two wins during the season series with both of Detroit’s wins coming in overtime, so it’s not exactly like they have rag-dolled the Coyotes. This has been very even.

The Red Wings don’t really have home-ice advantage anymore as they have been sub-.500 at home since December. They have just 11 home wins in their last 28 home contests and combined with the fact that the Phoenix Coyotes were 22-13-6 on the road this year, the playing field at Joe Louis Arena is pretty even.

The Detroit Red Wings Can Win Because…:

They have the stars and the firepower.

The Red Wings lineup is more talented, deeper and has far more playoff experience. They also topped the Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs last year.

A year ago, the Red Wings were weak and feeble as they entered the playoffs and they were ripe for the picking. The Coyotes even had home-ice advantage. If the Coyotes couldn’t get the job done then, they aren’t likely to do it now.

This series will be won by the Red Wings offense, which will prove its point in Game 1. They are the second-most potent offense in the NHL and they will have a big advantage with the man-advantage. One of the Coyotes biggest weaknesses is the penalty kill, they rank 26th in the NHL. Detroit’s fifth-ranked power play should be a factor on Wednesday and throughout the series.

Everyone knows that as goaltenders go, Ilya Bryzgalov really doesn’t, and so do the Coyotes. Against Detroit, he has just eight wins in 23 starts while posting a GAA of 2.81, which is his third-worst GAA against any team in the Western Conference.

Unless he plays out of his mind, the Red Wings should be just fine in this spot.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Coyotes gave the Red Wings all they could handle last season, winning twice at Joe Louis Arena in the first round and pushing the series to a full seven games. They definitely won’t be intimidated.

There are a few chinks in the Red Wings armor these days and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Coyotes pull the upset in Game 1 of their series in the 2011 NHL playoffs.

This is a betting line that displays public perception more than it describes where these teams currently are at. Take the value and bet the Coyotes.

NHL Free Pick: Coyotes