The long NHL regular season is finally complete, giving way to one of the most exciting postseasons in sports. Will this be a postseason of domination from favorites, like last year, or is it the year of the underdogs?
This playoffs are already off to a great start and there are only more fireworks on the way. Get those series bets in now before the value is gone and enjoy all the first-round action.
Let’s take a look into each first round matchup.
Bruins Should Cruise Against Florida
The Boston Bruins set a record for the most wins (65) and points (135) in a season. If they can complete their dominant run all the way to a Stanley Cup trophy, they may go down as the best team to ever do it. One thing is for sure, and that was put on full display in game 1, the Florida Panthers are not going to be the team to stand in their way. Boston will coast into the second round.
Prediction: Bruins -700 to defeat Panthers
Toronto Upset by Tampa Bay Again
The Toronto Maple Leafs against the Tampa Bay Lightning is an exact rematch of last year’s first round, right down to the seeding. Every year Toronto, behind Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner, seems ready to overtake their division rival. But every year Tampa Bay, behind the vast postseason experience of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy, finds a way to grind out the series win. I expect nothing different this year so take that +148 value while you still can!
Prediction: Lightning +148 over Maple Leafs
NY Islanders Overcome Early Deficit
The Carolina Hurricanes have jumped out to a 1-0 lead and the odds shift reflects that, as they are now -335 to win their series against the New York Islanders. That being said, the game was in Carolina and as the old saying goes, the series doesn’t truly start until someone wins on the road. Even at home the Hurricanes had to really grind out the victory and needed two powerplay goals to do so. I am a little skeptical and think New York can steal one on the road and shift this series their way. I am calling for another upset here so make sure to jump on those +260 odds.
Prediction: Islanders +260 over Hurricanes
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Rangers Experience Triumphs Over Devils
While the Devils have shown a ton of promise this season and are bound to have plenty of postseason success in the years to come, I’m again leaning towards postseason experience getting the job done in this series. The Ranger duo of Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad will be too much for New Jersey to contain. Get ready for an all-New York, all-underdog second round matchup.
Prediction: Rangers -105 over Devils
Avalanche End Kraken Dream Season
Good for Seattle for having such a breakthrough, milestone season but the fun ends here. Colorado is all business this time of year and that’s exactly what Seattle is going to get.
This should be a quick series victory for Colorado.
Prediction: Avalanche -320 over Kraken
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Minnesota Wins Wild Series over Dallas
In what was a tremendously exciting game 1, the Minnesota Wild was able to capture a double-overtime victory over the Dallas Stars and jump out to an unexpected series lead on the road. Minnesota has the ever-slight edge over Dallas in recent playoff experience and is a more well-rounded squad.
If the Wild can keep the Stars offense to a minimum, like they did in Game 1, they will prevail in this series. Stealing the first game on the road gives Minnesota a huge advantage in this series and I expect them to capitalize and move on to the second round.
Prediction: Wild -140 over Stars
Vegas Golden Knights Roll Over Winnipeg
This Vegas Golden Knights team is a well-oiled machine and should defeat the Winnipeg Jets easily. They are arguably the deepest team in the Western Conference and possibly the entire NHL. They’ve got plenty of goal-scoring threats, defensive anchors and tons of playoff experience. These are the ingredients for postseason success and Vegas should have just that, at least in their first round series.
Prediction: Golden Knights -170 over Jets
Edmonton Oilers Bounce Back
The Kings punched the Oilers in the mouth with a big road victory in Game 1 that no one saw coming. Luckily for the Oilers, they have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid and his very able sidekick, Leon Draisaitl, ready to deliver a quick counter-punch. Edmonton might have needed a quick wake-up call, but should be able to right the ship in time to make it out with a first-round series victory.
Prediction: Oilers -150 over Kings
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