NHL Playoffs Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for the 2023 Conference Finals

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NHL Playoffs Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for the 2023 Conference Finals
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Gambling.com plows ahead into the third round of the NHL Playoffs. The Conference Finals in the East and West have a Sun Belt-type feel. Carolina, Florida, Dallas and Vegas are warm-weather locations, compared to some other teams in the league. The betting action expects to be exciting.   

To assist with your NHL betting, here's a look at what's ahead on Thursday and Friday. 

Schedule Breakdown

Here are the Game 1 breakdowns. 

  • East: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes - 8 p.m. ET, Thursday
  • West: Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights - 8:30 p.m. ET, Friday 

The schedule keeps things easy. Each team plays every other night. The West sees two ABC games and a Sunday afternoon contest. All East games are on TNT, with the West getting carried by ESPN in the U.S.   

Nothing Could Be Finer Than An Old Southeast Division Rumble

The single predictable thing about each conference is that one team made it to this round from the East as expected. Carolina slugged its way past the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. Carolina's team defense and special teams were solid, and Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin is a league-leading +14. Carolina slows teams down just enough to win. 

Florida, in contrast, played more of a speed game against the Boston Bruins as they stunned the B's in seven games. The Panthers allowed three or more goals in every game of that series but still won in seven. If that was not enough, Florida eliminated Toronto in five games as the Panthers took the first three games and never looked back. 

TNT gets the over-the-air for this matchup. Carolina went 2-1 against Florida during the regular season. The Hurricanes expect to get forward Teuvo Teravainen (still no Andrei Svechnikov) back for this series while Florida is about as healthy as expected. If Florida can survive Carolina’s forecheck,  the question then becomes whether Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen can hold up in a seven-game series. That’s the one real wildcard. 

There are many ways to go with this matchup, and thankfully series props came out early for this one. Carolina starts as an early -135 favorite to win the series. Again, series numbers change game-to-game. Expect the two teams to get better reacquainted and have an excellent, long series. 

Dallas And Vegas: The DeBoer Revenge Tour

Peter DeBoer, since his Florida coaching stint, has taken teams to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season twice (New Jersey and San Jose). Add in two more conference final appearances with Vegas to that resume. Vegas booted DeBoer after last season and replaced him with Bruce Cassidy. DeBoer, now coaching the Dallas Stars, will want revenge.

On Friday night, Vegas and Dallas will meet for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. This best-of-seven series expects to be another long one. Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger bounces back from losses, including 24 of his last 25 decisions. Vegas has shown resiliency, as Golden Knights center Jack Eichel had nine points against Edmonton in the previous round. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill carried a .939 save percentage, as well.

ESPN and its family of networks will air the West games with Games 2 and 5 on ABC. Vegas is a -140 favorite to win the series. The Golden Knights eliminated Edmonton, while Dallas sent home a pesky Seattle Kraken squad in seven games. Vegas has the home ice advantage, but home has not always been kind to the Golden Knights in the playoffs.

The key will be goaltending. Can Hill hold up against a Dallas offense that ranks in the top five in scoring? Meanwhile, does Oettinger play more like the Oettinger we saw in the first round against Minnesota? 

Finally, it is time for some picks.

Some Series Wagers To Consider

  • Carolina to win Game 1, and the series is +150
  • Carolina -1.5 games comes in at +155
  • The Eastern Conference Final to go six games at +200
  • Matthew Tkachuk has the most goals in the series at +400
  • Series Hat Trick in the West at +220
  • Dallas in six games at +475 or Dallas in seven games at +550 as a slight upset

Good luck, and once again, thanks for reading! We will carry some more plays on social media as conditions warrant.

All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Chris Wassel

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