NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday August 11

Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets

Games set for Tuesday, August 11, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton

NHL Favorite Best Bet

Matchup: Columbus vs Tampa Bay
TV-Time: NBCSN, 3:00 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay -170

Even with the common refrain for a Tampa selection in this series will be “don't you remember last year” when Columbus swept out the President's Trophy winners from Tampa Bay, I've got no problem going back to the well this year with the Lightning right from the start.

For one, Tampa themselves haven't forgotten about last year, and while revenge angles often get played up way too much, this one should have some teeth too it. The Lightning were potentially bound for big things last year before they ran into the Blue Jackets buzzsaw and aren't about to roll over and let it happen again. Coming out of the gates and not fanning the flames of last year's narrative is critical for Tampa in Game 1.

At the same time, the spot today couldn't be any worse for a bubble-team then it is the Columbus Blue Jackets. They've got the quickest turn around of any team having been one of the last two teams on the ice, and now have to deal with a team they know is going to be out for blood. Remember, Columbus also had some pretty good talent on their roster last year that “left for better situations” in free agency. Those moves don't look the best at this moment for those individuals, but them moving on was a loss for Columbus too.

I just don't believe the Blue Jackets have the high end talent to pull off the shocker against Tampa Bay again, but it's this quick turnaround spot that has me believing they won't be able to come close to pulling off the upset in Game 1.

NHL Underdog Best Bet

Matchup: Calgary vs. Dallas
TV-Time: NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET

Calgary -104

It's always funny that when you get a “revenge” series like Columbus/Tampa Bay, everyone has no problem reminding you of what happened last year. But when you get a team like Calgary – who suffered similar disappointment to Tampa in 2019 – getting severely under-priced in the play-in series, there is hardly any talk about how good this same core group in Calgary was a season ago.

And yes, Calgary did catch a break with the injuries Winnipeg suffered, but I'm still not sure how the end result would have been any different. They outscored Winnipeg 14-3 in their three wins and all that maybe would have changed would those games may have been a bit closer.

But this Flames team is one that is coming to do a lot of damage in this year's playoffs, and getting Dallas in this round is a matchup the Flames are happy to have. Calgary went 2-1 SU against the Stars in the regular year, and the argument is there that the overall Flames roster may have more slight edges littered throughout it. As this series should see lines like this the entire way unless it becomes a one-sided affair with one side winning the first three games.

Finally, the idea that these teams that played elimination games may have an edge early on in Game 1's is a thought that's hard to shake. Those round robin games looked a lot like simple training sessions for long stretches of time, and those round robin teams finding it hard to match the intensity level out of the gate could lead to a few upsets.

In a game where that potential edge sides with a team like Calgary, I'll gladly back the Flames.

NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet

Matchup: Chicago vs. Las Vegas
TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET

Chicago/Las Vegas Under 6.5

What do you do when you get one side who went 3-1 O/U in advancing meeting up with another side that went 3-0 O/U in the round robin? You go 'under' the number of course.

Contrarian play in that you know where the majority of the market will be here, but it's also on the notion that the Hawks are back comfortable winning a tighter-checking game like they did in closing out the Oilers 3-2. Chicago may not think of themselves as the big underdogs they have/will be getting priced at, but they have plenty of guys in that room with multiple rings on their resume. They know that you've got to be sound in your own end to win playoff hockey games, and it's going to take a full team effort to do so.

At the same time, Vegas knows they've got to ramp up their own defensive intensity now that the games actually mean something. It was nice that they came out on top in playing those three round robin games rather loose and letting the chips fall where they may, but now they've got to sit on the advantage of being the better team and grind Chicago down as best they can with each passing game.

Vegas knows they'll be just fine in any style or tempo of game, but in that first “meaningful” game for them in the bubble, I think we see defense rule the day.

NHL Prop Best Bet

Matchup: Chicago vs. Las Vegas
TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET

Goal scored in 0:00 to 9:59 – No (+128)

Not the worst spot to double down likely against the market, as two of the three meetings between these two teams would have cashed on this play. If these two teams do end up being a bit more reserved out of the gates – we shouldn't see a goal early on from the Blackhawks and Golden Knights.