The NHL Playoffs are considered by many ice hockey betting fans to be the most exciting spectacle in all of sports. This season’s offering will be no different as the storylines abound from the top seeds down to the teams that were able to secure berths in the final week of the regular season.
One of the 16 teams in this year’s stacked field will be taking home the Stanley Cup, one of the most prestigious honors awarded each year in North American athletics. This extensive odds preview will give betters the best tips and picks when trying to join in on the wagering action schedule for the first round of the playoffs.
The Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the favourites to bring home Stanley after a stellar regular season, courting odds of 5/1 according to Redbet. The health of team captain Steven Stamkos will be a question mark as has been the trend, but many contend the Bolts are pound-for-pound the deepest and most overall talented team in the playoffs.
They will take on the second wild card team, the New Jersey Devils, whose year has been nothing to be unimpressed by. Take the Lightning as the favourites to move on with 888sport, and despite a season-ending slump take Nikita Kucherov, who routinely catches fire in the postseason, to score the most goals in the series. The popular bet for the series outcome is Tampa Bay in five games.
The other series in the region should be more hotly contested as the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs share a deep-seated dislike for one another and have two very talented rosters. The Bruins came on strong in the second half of the season to seriously challenge the Lightning for the top seed, but floundered late.
While injury speculations continue to plague the Bruins, the Maple Leafs feature a young, incredibly talented team with serious star power led by Auston Matthews. Redbet has the Bruins as favorites to advance in seven games but if you want to take a risk, take the Leafs in six offered over at 888sport with 5/1 odds.
The Penguins and Flyers face off in a heated interstate series with serious bragging rights on the line. The Flyers are looking to end the Pens’ hopes of a three-peat after a late surge got Philly into the playoffs. While two games went to overtime, Pittsburgh won all five matchups between the teams this season.
Overall expect a tight, physical series with Pittsburgh’s offense giving it the edge. Sidney Crosby is money at this time of year, so take him at 11/20 odds via 888sport of scoring the most points in the series. The favourite pick is Pittsburgh in 5 games, but the Flyers should be able to put up a better fight so take the Pens in 7.
The Washington Capitals have had a horrendous time throughout their history in the postseason despite a wealth of talent and consistent presence in the playoffs. This season is a desperate one as they’ve consistently gotten worse and worse. While the Cup is always the goal for any team, anything less than a trip to the Conference Finals would be simply sticking to the status quo for the Capitals.
Washington will not only hope to win, but make a statement and that statement could come in the form of a surprising four-game sweep, which is offered at 9/1 with leading bookies. While it’s no guarantee this is the season Washington gets over the hump, there’s plenty of reason to think they can at least move on.
The Nashville Predators are the overall favourites, at 4/1 odds according to SportNation.bet, to win it all this season and rightly so thanks to a fast-paced, bruising style of hockey. They play playoff-style hockey all year round and it’s been incredibly difficult for their opponents to match their intensity that’s supported by a loaded blueline and dependable goalie in Pekka Rinne.
The Colorado Avalanche is a very talented team and should give the Predators a good opening battle. The Avs are more than capable of stealing at least one game, and being a better special teams squad than Nashville can take advantage of chances they get. But take the Preds in five and expect them to take the first game in Nashville, multiple new bookmakers have great odds on this double bet.
Winnipeg is considered by some Canadians to be the best hope for their country to finally win a Stanley Cup for the first time since 1993. The Wild are a team that many tend to sleep on come playoff time as their perennial success in the regular season hasn’t resulted in deep postseason runs.
Expect the statistically superior Jets to fly on to the next round in five games offered at odds of 5/1 via 888sport and if you’re picking an overall points leader for the series, which we suggest, look no further than Blake Wheeler whose been a glue guy for Winnipeg for as long as they’ve been recently relevant, which actually isn't all that long.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights have shocked the hockey world in their first season of existence by staying near the top of the league rankings for the entire season. The happy-go-lucky style of the Knights has made them a joy to watch, but stands in stark contrast to the LA Kings that are still laden with Stanley Cup pedigree.
The Kings are just the team that could end Vegas’s feel-good story but Vegas should ride a lot of momentum into the first ever playoff game. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect a Vegas win. They’re 8/11 favorites to win Game 1, but expect the Kings to win four of the next five, taking the series in six, all of which is offered at Sportnation.bet.
Finally, another instate showdown between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks pits two California powerhouses against one another. The Sharks have most recently been the Cup Finals where they were no match for the Penguins in 2016, but have struggled to regain that form since.
This is possibly the most evenly matched series in terms of everything from experience to statistics to overall talent, so picking a winner will be incredibly difficult. Take any advice with a grain of salt, but with the sole advantage of Game 7 taking place in Anaheim, take the Ducks to win in that many games offered at 4/1 via 888sport.