Dan Favale | Sat 12/05/2018 - 06:28 EDT

Predictions for NHL’s Conference Finals Postseason Series

Predictions for NHL’s Conference Finals Postseason Series
Eighty-two regular-season games and two full best-of-seven rounds later, here are: Four NHL teams are still alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs. One more series win separates each of them from contending for the ultimate honor. Will it be the Winnipeg Jets who win the title? The Vegas Knights? What about the Tampa Bay Lightning? Or the Washington Capitals? We've got your most up to date series odds and picks right here.

NHL Conference Finals series prices come via BetOnline and accurate as of Friday, May 11. Since sportsbooks will moves these lines as each best-of-seven set unfolds, be sure to double-check the odds before placing or deciding on a wager. As another aside, try not to place series-price wagers after the lead-up to Game 3. The returns on investment typically aren’t as worthwhile when three contests are in the books.

Vegas Golden Knights (+122) vs. Winnipeg Jets (-142)


The Winnipeg Jets are scary leading into this best-of-seven set against the Vegas Golden Knights. Not only did they overtake the Nashville Predators in Round 2 during a seven-contest slugfest, but they’ve won with style all through the postseason.

No team in the playoffs has a larger goal differential (plus-15 in total), and they have the field’s top net-nuker in Mark Schiefele, who has dropped in an NHL-best 11 scorers through 12 contests. To be clear, the Jets are not necessarily a high-volume squad. They rank middle of the pack in shots on goal. But they’re smart with their looks. They have one of the top shooting percentages in the league.

Here’s a secret, though: The Knights are just as scary coming in.

Vegas has the second-highest goal differential of these playoffs (plus-12), which makes this matchup almost too perfect. Some will be made uneasy because the Knights don’t have your typical go-to contributor. Contrary to every surviving squad, none of their players rank in the top five of total goals, assists, points or scores created. That’s atypical of a team entering the Conference Finals.

But don’t be worried. They’re a success-by-committee darling. Six of their players have tallied seven or more total points through 10 postseason tilts. Three of those—Jon Marchessault, Reilly Smith, William Karisson—have 10 or more total points. That’s flat-out absurd.

Goalie Marc Andre-Fleury has also been fantastic. He’s allowing, on average, a little over 1.5 goals per night—the best mark of the playoffs. No other stopper between the posts boasts a higher save percentage either. He’s stopping more than 95 percent of everything that comes flying at him. He will help neutralize what’s considered by many to be the most accurate offensive attack in the NHL right now.

Look, there’s risk caked in here. But the Vegas Knights have made it this far by being smart and balanced, both at even strength and when they’re trying to kill penalties. We’ve selected them in every series thus far, and despite them coming into this as underdogs, we’re not about to stop now. And you shouldn’t either.

The Pick: Vegas Golden Knights (+122)

Washington Capitals (+165) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (-190)

tampa bay

Sportsbooks are still tilting toward the Tampa Bay Lightning even after they dropped Game 1 of this series—which, for your reference, unfolded in the television right in front of yours truly as I penned this. That’s not normal for a favorite that falls behind 1-0 in the series, especially in the NHL.

Still, you can see why oddsmakers are hesitant to roll with the Washington Capitals. It doesn’t really have anything to do with them, by the way. It’s more about the Lightning. They’re not about to be held scoreless again.

Indeed, the Lightning have gotten themselves here on the back of their defense. And that was on full display in Game 1. They gave up just one goal, keeping in theme with their top-five postseason stinginess. But the offense was better than this.

Similar to the Knights, they don’t have that blow-you-away scorer or passer. But they are usually good for more than three goals per game. They toe that line between selective and voluminous. The place in the middle of the field in total shot attempts, but they have the NHL’s highest shooting percentage. That’s a dangerous tidbit when you realize they’re also the third-best power play squad in the NHL.

In fact, looking at Hockey-Reference’s PDO, which uses shooting percentage and save percentage to generate a combined score that, above all else, encapsulates a team’s balance, the Lightning are the league’s top two-way unit. They place first in PDO, albeit by a slim margin.

To the Capitals’ credit, they place fourth in this same category. Their offense in particular can be terrifying. Alex Ovechkin is a points-piling machine, and they’re actually tied with the Lightning for that shooting percentage lead we mentioned earlier. Goalie Braden Holtby has also proved a tick more reliable than Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskyiy. That will matter a great deal if this series turns into a low-scoring clash.

And yet, we’re inclined to trust the Lightning anyway. They have fewer games under their skates—which is important in this sport—and the fact that they held the Capitals to a single score in Game 1 feels like a promising harbinger for what’s to come, even though they didn’t emerge with the victory.

The Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (-190)

Category : Sports Betting News

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