Aug 01, 2020
NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Sunday August 2
Stanley Cup Playoffs
NHL Best Bets
Games set for Sunday, August 2, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton
Matchup: Philadelphia vs. Boston
TV-Time: NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET
You can't take anything away from the run the Flyers went on during the final six weeks of the year before the stoppage, but that was a long time ago and I'm not sure we would even see the Flyers in one of these Top 4 spots had the stoppage occurred a week later.
Philadelphia has earned a ton of respect in the betting markets for all those tickets they cashed, but now they are back dealing with all the big boys – who are all healthy – and played high level of hockey for a longer period of time then just six weeks. That's what everyone remembers last though and it's created situation where a very good Bruins team is actually a little undervalued at this price.
Boston was one of the few teams to beat Philly during their best run (2-0 win on March 10th), and lost two shootouts in the two meetings prior. That's random luck I'm hoping is owed to the Bruins now that we are here, as they should be closer to 50 cent favorites in my opinion.
Matchup: Arizona vs. Nashville
TV-Time: USA, 2:00 p.m. ET
When you like an underdog like the Coyotes to win the series in a four or five-game set as I do, you might as well try to pounce on them to jump out to a 1-0 series lead as well. Arizona's got all the youthful legs you'd want for a team in the opener of a restart like this, and the Coyotes did outscore Nashville in total goals in their two meetings 7-5.
The Predators may have much more playoff success in their lineup, but that franchise has fed off the home crowd energy in playoff games for years. It's helped them get by some more talented teams in that span too. But poor postseason play away from that arena and noise has had the Predators bow out to opponents they shouldn't have as well when they were at their best, and this does feel like another one of those series for Nashville fans.
NHL Over-Under Total
Matchup: Minnesota vs. Vancouver
TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota/Vancouver Over 5.5
Nothing to lose and no real expectations for both sides should make this series one where you've got both sides playing great hockey because they are loose.
Minnesota and Vancouver are two teams that never took much serious action in any of the futures markets for this restart and rightfully so. The winner of this series likely gets bounced next round or shortly thereafter, and these teams are self-aware enough to know that.
So why not free wheel things with two goalies that are known to spend time on both sides of streaky play, and if we can catch both of them on the rusty side in this opener, a 4-3 type game is definitely in the cards. Not that it means much now, but Vancouver did close out things on a 9-2 O/U run as it was heading into the stoppage, as 4-3 games were something they became quite comfortable in.
Willing to back that not much changes in the opener. Especially with the increased chance of sloppy play for both defensive units after such the long layoff.
Matchup: Columbus vs. Toronto
TV-Time: NHL Network, 8:00 p.m. ET
Over 1.5 goals in the 1st period (-130)
Toronto is a team I've got high hopes for in this series and beyond, but for them to start sniffing that potential, it really feels like they'll need something to go right early on.
Whether that's them coming out and blitzing the Jackets with their speed to pot a couple of early goals and clear this number themselves, or simply dominate the play from the get-go, the Leafs have a opportunity to play most of this playoff series “from in front” and that's something they haven't been afforded in past years.
Part of establishing dominance early is grabbing one of those early goals, but at the same time this is still the Leafs we are talking about, and they could just as easily give up two tallies in the first 20 minutes with some defensive miscues that can plague this team during the best of times.
Finally, with the last time these two played resulting in a 2-2 score after the opening frame, the historical precedent is there as well for this play to cash.