Wednesday NHL Playoffs Betting Preview
Best Value Game 1 Bets
By Bob Duff
The way to go with your wagers as the NHL playoffs get underway, with odds provided courtesy of Bovada.lv:
In the playoffs for the first time since they went to the Stanley Cup final in 2006, you get a sense that these Oilers aren’t just happy to be there. Oilers captain and NHL scoring champ Connor McDavid is the type of player who will want to dominate on hockey’s biggest stage.
McDavid became the second Oilers player to capture the Art Ross Trophy and first since Wayne Gretzky won seven straight from 1980-81 through 1986-87. He also became the first Oilers player to reach the 100-point milestone since Doug Weight in 1995-96. McDavid finished the season on a 14-game point streak (7-18-25), the longest by any NHL player in 2016-17 and longest by any Oilers player since 1987-88.
There’s plenty to worry about where the defending Conference champion Sharks are concerned, starting with their 4-9 finish to the season. San Jose’s top two centers, Joe Thornton (knee) and Logan Couture (face) are both uncertain starters for Game 1.
Pick: The Oilers (-140) and the over (5)
Two of the top five teams in NHL all season long, the Penguins and Blue Jackets split their regular-season series 1-1-2, with Columbus holding a 13-10 edge in goals.
Injuries could significantly impact this series. The Penguins are without two key players in defenseman Kris Letang (back) and forward Carl Hagelin (foot). Pittsbugh called up goalie Tristan Jarry, fueling further speculation about Matt Murray’s status. Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski (shoulder), is also an uncertain starter.
Pick: The Penguins (-160) and the under (5.5)
The Canadiens went 16-6-1 under new coach Claude Julien. A significant sub-plot will be the battle between the two goalies who played in the last Olympic gold medal game, Montreal’s Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers but Lundqvist has won just six of 18 career games at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
The Rangers, who have an overall edge in skill, need to make this a five-on-five series. They can’t be taking a lot of penalties and giving Montreal chances on the power play.
Pick: The Canadiens (-145) and the under (5)
Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored 38 goals and thrived after new coach Mike Yeo gave him added responsbility on the ice. The Wild rely on scoring depth, with five 20-goal scorers led by Eric Staal (28) but don’t have a game breaker like Tarasenko.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has made it past the first round just once in his NHL career. Wild center Martin Hazal put up 13 points in 20 games after he was acquired from Arizona.
Pick: The Blues (+120) and the under (5)
The Senators dominated the Bruins, winning all four regular-season meetings. In Hart and Norris Trophy contender Erik Karlsson, they have a defenseman capable of dominating the game at both ends of the rink. He led the team with 71 points and also blocked 201 shots.
Boston is led by forward Brad Marchand, who posted career-best 39-46-85 totals but too often crosses the line into selfish, undisciplined play? Both teams are hurting on defense – Marc Methot (finger) and Cody Ceci (leg) for the Senators and Torey Krug (lower body) for the Bruins.
Pick: The Senators (even) and the under (5)