Playoff Series Prop Bets
April 10, 2018
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NHL playoffs are upon us, and it’s time to get properly excited about what’s about to go down. The oddsmakers have done a solid job of getting up the series prices for each matchup and you can bet on an assortment of fun outcomes.
Let’s break this down as best as we can to clear some headway on what’s going to be a blitzkrieg of an opening round.
BetOnline.ag has some awesome NHL playoff series props up for you to invest in. These can help anchor how you bet the regular season lines, whether you double down or hedge. Let’s get you up and running…er…skating.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Las Vegas Knights
Best Bet: Las Vegas in 5 +600
There has been no better story in the NHL than the Las Vegas Knights throttling the league and ascending to a 109-point season in their inaugural year. It’s a special team that has been fluidly consistent for the entire stretch. They don’t have any real health concerns. The lazy bettor might convince themselves that the Kings are a worthy underdog play because of their recent history, but their more recent history suggests that they remain in transition: two playoff misses and a first round exit.
This isn’t the Kings dynasty you might remember in the back of your mind. Coach John Stevens has done a great job steering the ship in succession of the heavy handed Darryl Sutter, but he’s unproven in the playoffs. Meanwhile, his counterpart behind the Knights’ bench has at least one solid playoff run with the Florida Panthers from three seasons ago.
Gerard Gallant and the Knights are an easy first round bet, but the Kings remain good enough to steal at least one game. A series upset requires Jonathan Quick returning to a form that he hasn’t reached in the last five seasons.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Best Bet: Pittsburgh in 6 +450
The Battle for Pennsylvania is and always will be an absolute treat in the playoffs. Philadelphia brings its flavorful, physical style as its trademark while the Pittsburgh Penguins look to become the first team to three-peat in a generation. By every stretch, the Penguins are a lock in this series, but they’ve shown some inconsistencies. I suspect that they will groom themselves in this series, but the “nothing to lose” Flyers will play with a blindingly good mindset. Claude Giroux has been the best player in the league and is going to help the Flyers stay in this series. It’s not going to be easy for Pittsburgh, and the Flyers will absolutely make them earn a series victory. This is going to be so very ugly and so very pretty at the same time. Can’t wait.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
Best Bet: Winnipeg in 4 +800
The only sweep I’m betting in is Winnipeg, a city that has been crying for a true playoff run. With Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa all on the golf course already, the Jets will have the entire country rooting for them (as a tradition, Canadians as a whole detest the Toronto Maple Leafs for their Yankee-like status in the media).
With a raucous stadium of bloodthirsty fans, the elite goal tending of Connor Hellebuyck, Patrick Laine on the freaking second line and a limp Minnesota team ripe for the picking, Winnipeg is going to barnstorm the first round. This is my favorite emotional pick. Go big or go home? Nah – I’m just amped for Winnipeg to get what it deserves finally.
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Best Bet: San Jose in 7 +600
From the easiest series to call to the hardest. San Jose and Anaheim is truly a coin flip. Even the coaching staff features Peter DeBoer and Randy Carlyle, who are both proven menaces behind the bench in the post season. Both rosters are aging in dog years, but San Jose has a touch more depth and home ice advantage. You could sincerely talk me in to both sides. Losing Fowler to injury is a critical disadvantage for Anaheim, but Joe Thornton isn’t healthy either. I prefer San Jose simply on the merit that Thornton will return to turn the tide, and I will never tire of seeing him and Getzlaf grind each other’s gears in the crease.
Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Best Bet: Columbus in 6 +450
There’s a slight edge here to Washington because they have something called “Ovechkin” who scores goals like a maniac. But Washington possesses a very Nationals-like ability to flame out in dull fashion during the playoffs, and the Blue Jackets are a sneaky good team. Ovechkin is an eater of worlds in the regular season, but Pierre-Luc Dubois has emerged as an elite player in his own right. It’s hard to call experience an advantage for Washington considering the sordid, lackluster history of results. I also don’t love the options in net for Washington, and much prefer Bobrovsky on Columbus’s side. If you check out the series prices on this matchup, it’s a lot closer than it should be considering Washington’s overall reputation and regular season output. There’s a reason.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
Best Bet: New Jersey in 6 +700
Oh how the mighty have fallen! Now let’s just be clear here before you Lightning fans get yourselves riled up. This is a bit of a lob on my part. Tampa ranks out as the far better team and boast the kind of speed and firepower that’s made them a consensus choice to hoist the cup.
But the Devils, who needed all 82 games before they locked up their playoff spot, went 3-0-0 against Tampa this season. Taylor Hall has risen from the ashes of a career that was in serious jeopardy and has been joined by Keith Kinkaid, a backup goalie who could become this year’s breakout goalie in the playoffs.
By every standard and stat, Tampa is the smart choice. But there are some serious warts here I don’t love. Stamkos is hurt and the team is being coy about what the injury actually is. Andrew Vasilevskiy has been shaky in net since a sizzling start in the first half. The Lightning are also a bit suspect on special teams, a department that New Jersey excels in.
For the most part, the first round is not a place to tinker with upsets but the Devils are in prime position to stage an uprising. I’m a believer in Kinkaid, who is 11-1-1 in 14 starts over the past month and a bit. This is a fun, “Oh god what is happening” type of drama that I totally bite in to. Nothing would be sillier than Taylor Hall of all people beating Stamkos and the Lightning. I’ve got $100 that says it happens in a shocking manner. Why not.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
Best Bet: Nashville in 4 +450
Nashville is pretty much the lock solid pick to win the Western Conference and your eyes are likely bleeding from reading this assault on your senses (you’re welcome by the way). Colorado also lost their starting goalie and top defenseman, and neither will be right for the series. I love the dare of taking Nashville to sweep. This is a hot blooded stadium and a great hockey town, and I can’t believe I’m seeing either of those things about Nashville still.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins
Best Bet: Toronto in 6 +500
I saved the best series for last. This is a nightmare scenario for both teams: Boston is the physical monstrosity that Toronto doesn’t match up well against, the Leafs are the speed demons that the Bruins aren’t designed to keep up with. Everyone and their grandmother is excited about this series. It’s going to be awesome.
For years, the trade that has always haunted Leafs fans is the one that sent Tuukka Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft. Toronto hasn’t had a solid goal tender between the pipes since Ed Belfour retired, but Fred Andersen has emerged as a reliable – and often brilliant – crease guardian. Nothing would validate what Toronto has done over the past few years more than sending Rask packing. It’s too much of a monkey on their backs and perhaps the last reminder of how poorly the franchise has been run. For whatever it’s worth, Rask has not been consistent.
The clash of the top lines is going to be scintillating. Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak are often the best overall line out there. But the Matthews-Nylander-Hyman line for the Leafs is not far behind. What Toronto’s best line can’t do is match the physicality of the Bruins so it will be interesting to see how and when Babcock uses his young guns.
Rick and Riley Nash’s health is a big x-factor in determining this series, but if Toronto can steal one in Boston before either of those are back on their skates then this series is gettable.
Watch this series. You will feel the passion of NHL hockey, and the blood rivalry between these two teams is a real thing. It’s impossible to put in to words but immediate upon witnessing.
Strap on those blades, everyone. This is going to get messy.
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