This year’s Stanley cup playoffs offer an interesting plot twist from a sports betting perspective. The first 2 rounds take place within the divisions before reseeding the top 4 division winners based on regular season record. Betsafe has five teams with odds lower than +1000 to win the Stanley Cup listed on their site: Colorado Avalanches, Las Vegas Knights, Tampa bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Carolina Hurricanes. This means we’ll likely see some heavy hitters eliminated in the competition’s early stages. Colorado vs Las Vegas and Tampa Bay vs Carolina look set to meet in the second round, which promises to be a mouth-watering fixture. This presents some great value and opportunity for players to bet on teams like Florida, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, and New York.
1st Round NHL Playoff Predictions
Pittsburgh vs Islanders
The Penguins are looking to avenge a 4-game sweep at the hands of the Islanders in 2019. The Islanders have a stout defensive structure, but the Penguins speed will create problems for the Islanders who sometimes struggle to keep up offensively. Coveted deadline acquisition Kyle Palmieri has been a bust for New York, who ended the regular season 2-6 vs Pittsburgh. The Islanders are still without their captain and motivational leader Anders Lee, whilst Crosby is aging like a fine wine. There will be no upset here. Pittsburgh Penguins in 7, place your bets here.
Washington vs Boson
These teams are very evenly matched. Both rosters are blessed with incredible top 6 forward talents as well as a sturdy defence, so this one promises to be a nail-biter which could go all the way. Playoff veteran Tuukka Rask who has 93 playoff games under his belt, is well rested, whilst the Caps will have to select between two of their inexperienced goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, who have never played a playoff game before. The Bruins will need to find a way to keep Ovechkin quiet in order to advance. Boston Bruins in 7, place your bets here.
Carolina vs Nashville
This one could be over quick. Nashville squeaked into the playoffs and now face one of the Stanley Cup favorites in Carolina. All four lines can score for Carolina, & their overall forward depth is one of the best in the NHL. Meanwhile the Predators have struggled to score if it does not come from their first line. The Hurricanes have the second best power play percentage in the league, led by the sensational Sebastian Aho. Bring the brooms out. Carolina Hurricanes to sweep in 4, place your bets here.
Florida vs Tampa
The defending champs have lost some depth in their squad as well as having a few injury concerns. Victor Hedman is struggling & has not looked like himself in months. Stamkos, McDonagh and Polat are also nursing injuries. Kucherov is back but he has not played a game since last summer. Florida have been knocking on the door for years and perhaps it’s finally time for Barkov and Huberdeau to shine on the biggest stage. Florida also went 6-2 vs Tampa this year. Florida Panthers in 6, pace your bets here.
Toronto vs Montreal
The NHL’s two most storied franchises meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years but the Canadiens probably wish it were under different circumstances. Montreal has struggled to score this season and will be placing their trust in a lot of inexperienced young players. Carey Price is still a major doubt for this series also. Meanwhile, Toronto will unleash a lethal top 6 forward group led by Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. They have veteran depth and an underrated D core. Montreal will play physical and push Toronto around but we don’t believe this will matter. This Leafs team is different from the laughable losers of years past. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5, place your bets here.
Edmonton vs Winnipeg
Both the Jets and the Oilers have stumbled into the Playoffs this season. Connor McDavid is playing at a level that suggests he could win this series on his own. McDavid torched the Jets for 14 points in 9 games this year making life miserable for the Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Winnipeg’s forward depth will keep the games close, but their defense has too many weaknesses to keep McDavid and Draisaitl in check. McDavid to get his first playoff series win since 2017. Edmonton Oilers in 6, place your bets here.
Vegas vs Minnesota
The Stanley Cup favorites, the Golden Knights get a tough round 1 matchup in the aggressive Minnesota Wild led by rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov. Minnesota outplayed Las Vegas in the regular season going 5-1-2 but the playoffs offer a different dynamic & brand of Ice Hockey. Las Vegas have conceded the fewest amount of goals this season thanks to the unparalleled goaltending duo of Fleury and Lehner, as well as the workhorse defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. The Knights are battle tested in the playoffs whereas the Wild have not won a round since 2015. This one will be close but ultimately, Vegas comes away with it. Las Vegas Knights in 7, place your bets here.
Colorado vs St. Louis
Colorado rolls into the playoffs having won 8/9 but the Blues are just as hot, having picked up 19 of a possible 24 points towards the back end of the season. The Blues physical style may cause headaches for the Avalanches but ultimately Colorado offers way too much star power in MacKinnon, Rantanen and Makar. Philipp Grubauer was one of the league’s most dominant goalies this year while Blues goalie Jordan Binnington struggled with consistency. The Avalanches are a team on a mission this year and will not be going home early. Colorado Avalanche in 6, place your bets here.