NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Saturday August 1
July 31, 2020
By Matt Blunt
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Stanley Cup Playoffs
Games set for Saturday, August 1, 2020
NHL Best Bets
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton
Matchup: Winnipeg vs. Calgary
TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET
Favorite Pick: Calgary -130
The series price and this Game 1 line still feel rather disrespectful to a Calgary team that was the top seed in the West just a season ago. Calgary appears to be a team that the majority of the market could potentially be sleeping on.
The Jets are just too depending on their goalie doing all the heavy lifting for them, and should that go south early in this series, this series probably won't be a long one. The goaltending edge easily goes to the Jets though and that is the resistance that's found in this and the series lines.
But one rough playoff series last year and Calgary has gotten cast aside as a contender, as this year's team was bitten by a bit more bad luck in close games. But I remember a Tampa Bay team who was the #1 seed in the East last year and were actually out in the first round before the Flames. They aren't getting cast aside as a legitimate contender like the Flames are.
Calgary's much better then the current #8 spot suggests of them, and they ambush Hellebuyck with everything they got en route to a convincing Game 1 win.
Matchup: Florida vs. N.Y Islanders
TV-Time: NBCSN, 4:00 p.m. ET
Florida Panthers +100
Not sure there is a true “best” underdog do take on this opening slate, so I'll go with the one that the oddsmakers have currently tabbed as the most likely to actually win with the shortest price. The Panthers will have to get some strong goaltending in this entire series if they want to advance, and Bobrovsky's had a history in his career of stealing games with his play.
The Islanders are a squad I'm not sure has enough scoring to go really all that far in this restart, and while that's not specific to this single game, fading the Islanders as a team I don't believe will be long for the bubble stay is the general approach I'm going with in the opener.
NHL Over-Under Total
Matchup: Montreal vs. Pittsburgh
TV-Time: NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET
Montreal/Pittsburgh Over 5.5
On paper this series really does set up like it's Carey Price vs the Penguins attack, but Montreal's got some guys that can put the puck in the net too. The Habs also have next to nothing in terms of pressure on their shoulders as they really shouldn't be here playing postseason hockey, so why not be a free-wheeling, run-and-gun team because they're going to need it to win at least one game in this series.
No matter how sharp Price may be for Montreal – and after such a long layoff it's questionable he's even sharp at all – but he'll likely face plenty of rubber from Crosby, Malkin and company from Pittsburgh and he won't be able to hold up forever. More potential for communication errors defensively in front of Price as well being the first game back (holds true for all games really), and this entire new scenario gives these two teams an opportunity to flip the script from their 0-3 O/U record against one another during the regular season.
Every one of those games finished with five goals though, and when you mix in a higher likelihood of sloppier play, I'll gravitate to this 'over' where some will look at the series history and not even consider it.
Matchup: Chicago vs. Edmonton
TV-Time: NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET
Edmonton to score first and win in regulation +170
The Oilers were the final cut from the “favorite” category simply because outlining the case for the biggest favorite on the board isn't the hardest thing to do. So here is a plus-money way to look at a game that should be one the Oilers exploit the numerous edges they have in this matchup.
From the speed and skill Edmonton's got up front, to the level of comfort they've got to have being in their own arena, to the thinned out Blackhawks roster, if the Oilers play at their normal level in this series, they'll ultimately end up in the next round.
With all those advantages potentially magnified in a Game 1, Edmonton coming out and establishing control of the game early on and ultimately winning is a relatively easy game script to see out. After all, the team that scored first won all three regular season meetings as well.
Obviously, the alternative could happen and the Oilers come out flat and lost with no crowd there, but for a team I do believe wins in regulation to begin with (Edmonton is +107 in regulation), adding them to score first to that opinion at this price isn't hard to get behind.
3-1 L4, 6-3 +325 L9 Picks
+2,889 Guaranteed Plays TY