Gary | Wed 12/04/2017 - 20:29 EDT

NHL Game 1 Betting Tips On Thursday

NHL Game 1 Betting Tips On Thursday
Toronto's Auston Matthews will join Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (2013-14) as just the second first overall NHL draft pick to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs as a rookie since 1999, as the young Leafs face the imposing Washington Capitals.

By Bob Duff

The phenom has arrived ahead of schedule. Scoring a rookie-leading 40 goals and 69 points, 2016 NHL first overall draft pick Auston Matthews led the Toronto Maple Leafs into the playoffs and a showdown with the heavily-favored Washington Capitals.

Can he take Toronto any further? Those and other answers are below, with odds provided courtesy of

Toronto Maple Leafs (+195) at Washington Capitals (-255)


If Auston Matthews wants to know how tough it’s going to be for him in the playoffs, he need only reach across the ice and talk to Washington captain Alex Ovechkin.

The top player chosen in the 2004 NHL entry draft, Ovechkin’s Capitals lost in his first playoff series. Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins won one game on his first playoff foray and Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers were swept.

Toronto requires two things to have any hope in this set – goalie Frederik Andersen must be a brick wall between the pipes and the Leafs’ kids must perform like wise veterans.

Rookies Matthews, William Nylander (16 points) and Mitchell Marner (61) have carried the team all season long. Fellow rookie Zach Hyman led all NHL first-year players with four shorthanded goals.

The Caps are a formidable foe. They won the Jennings Trophy, allowing just 177 goals and their possession rate of 51.68 is fourth best in the NHL. Washington’s power play was third in the NHL and in Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals suit up the league leader in power play points with 35.

Pick: The Capitals (-225) and the under (5.5)

Calgary Flames (+138) at Anaheim Ducks (-153)


The Ducks charged into the playoffs on an 11-0-3 roll, while the Flames stumbled to the regular-season finish line with a 5-8 slate.

Then there’s that whole Calgary can’t win in Anaheim factor. The Flames – who will be required to win at least once there to take the series – haven’t earned a victory at the Honda Center since the 2006 playoffs, a 27-game losing streak.

Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Ryan Kesler all reached the 50-point plateau. Rakell led the NHL with 10 game-winning goals and Getzlaf was third in the league with 58 assists.

The Ducks were the NHL’s fourth-best penalty killers. The Flames were 15th among the 16 playoffs teams in shots on goal with 2,389. That’s of concern because the Ducks are tight defensively, allowing 197 goals, third fewest in the league.


The Flames will need to get ahead to get ahead in this series. Calgary was 23-4-1 when leading after one period this season, third best in the NHL. But getting the puck might be a problem for the Flames. Anaheim won an NHL high 54.7 per cent of faceoffs, while the Flames were 19th in the NHL at the dot (48.9 per cent). 

Pick: The Ducks (-153) and the under (5)

Nashville Predators (+150) at Chicago Blackhawks (-166)


Charging to the top of the Western Conference, the Blackhawks are 27-12-4 since Jan. 1, third best in the NHL over than span behind Washington (71 points) and Anaheim (61).

The Blackhawks will welcome back Artem Anisimov (leg injury) to join their top line of Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin, both of whom have averaged a point per game since the NHL all-star break. 

Scoring is an issue for the Predators, who scored two or fewer goals in eight of their 14 playoff games last spring. Nashville averaged 2.9 goals per game this season, up from 2.73 a year ago. Victor Arvidsson jumped from eight goals as a rookie to 31 this season. 

Pick: The Blackhawks (-166) and the under (5.5) 

Results / FixturesNHL

Leave a comment
More articles...
Sports - 16/09/19
2019-20 NHL Betting Preview: Best Teams, Odds, Stanley Cup Predictions 
Last year the St. Louis Blues stole the NHL's show, winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Though they certainly factor into the title race this season, other contenders loom, most notably the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins. Which team is your smartest bet? Let's figure that out.
Read this article 
Sports - 09/09/19
2019-20 Champions League Preview: Betting Odds, Best Sportsbook Values, Predictions 
Welcome back, Champions League! The 2019-20 season is finally here, and everyone who's anyone is asking the same question: Which team will be crowned above all at year's end? Many believe that Liverpool is primed to repeat as the ultimate champion, but other powerhouses like Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid loom. Let's find the clubs laying the best betting value, shall we?
Read this article 
Sports - 06/09/19
UFC 242 Betting Odds: Khabib vs. Poirier Headlines a Stacked Fight Card 
The lightweight title will be on the line at UFC 242 when Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov and Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier take to the Octagon. They're not the only big names squaring off, though. UFC 242 has mission-critical fights galore. Let's parse them all for the best possible bets.
Read this article 
Sports Betting News - 22/08/19
US Open 2019 Betting Odds: Can Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic Defend Their Crowns? 
The world's best tennis players are once again headed to New York! That's right: The 2019 US Open is upon us, and it remains littered with rock-solid betting opportunities. Last year's champions, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, enter as No. 1 seeds in their field. Will they repeat as champs? Let's parse the betting field!
Read this article