NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Wednesday August 12
August 11, 2020
By Matt Blunt
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Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets
Games set for Wednesday, August 12, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton
NHL Favorite Best Bet
Matchup: Vancouver vs St Louis
TV-Time: FS-Midwest, 10:30 p.m. ET
St Louis -150
The 2019 Cup Champs officially begin their title defense here and recent history suggests that's always been a good spot to bet the incumbents. The last three years have seen the reigning champs go 3-0 SU and 3-0 on the -1.5 PL in their first playoff game of their defense.
The Canucks may have gotten by Minnesota, but I'm not sure this young Vancouver team is prepared for the physical nature of play the Blues will throw at them every time out there, and it starts in Game 1.
Yes, all three regular season meetings were close, with Vancouver taking two of the three, but St Louis knows all about flipping the switch this time of year – even if it is August this time around – and I'd expect them to continue this run of great Game 1's for reigning champs.
Champions in this spot have outscored their opponent 14-3 the past three seasons, and seeing a Blues multi-goal win is somewhat expected.
NHL Underdog Best Bet
Matchup: Montreal vs Philadelphia
TV-Time: NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET
Montreal ML +128
Montreal fans have to be thrilled with the situation their team is in right now. Not only did they upset the Penguins to get to this point, but knowing they'd be facing the top seed regardless if that was accomplished, facing Philly is arguably one of their preferences.
That's not to take anything away from what the Flyers have done this season, but they were really a questionable 4th place team heading into the bubble and were lucky enough to parlay that into the #1 seed. And really, if you told Montreal that they had their choice of playing Boston, Washington, Tampa Bay, or Philadelphia, chances are Philly would be a popular answer.
Even the regular season series suggests that as well, as Philly did take two of the three meetings, but both of those victories needed OT to get the job done. Montreal's already gotten a bounce or two in this restart, and for this price I'm willing to back that that luck hasn't quite run out yet.
NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet
Matchup: Arizona vs Colorado
TV-Time: NHLN, 5:30 p.m. ET
Arizona/Colorado Over 5.5
I'm not entirely sure this play will change very much over the course of the next two weeks if this series goes the distance. This is a series I expect to see plenty of goals in and 'over' the total might just be a standing play I make in these games in general.
Considering both regular season games stayed 'under' the total, that might not be the conventional line of thought, but both of those games also took place by November 2, 2019, which feels like much longer than just 9 months ago. More relevant to this game though is the fact that Arizona didn't even have Taylor Hall on their roster way back then.
Hall's involvement is far from the only reason I expect this series to be much more offensive minded then the regular season meetings were, as I'm not sure Arizona is all that great at keeping the puck out of the net themselves. The Coyotes put up four goals in all three wins over Nashville – great for 'over' bettors – but they needed the four tallies in two of those three victories as that defense continues to be shaky. Colorado will not hesitate to pounce on any openings the Coyotes give them.
Until we see flat '6's in this series, you can expect 'over' plays in this series to show up in these pieces a few times.
NHL Prop Best Bet
Matchup: Vancouver vs St Louis
St Louis to score first and win the game - Yes (+163)
Unless the Blues end up being one of these round robin teams that comes out flat and unable to match the intensity of the Canucks, St Louis should be able to be the ones who play from ahead the entire way in this one. For a team that I do expect to win by multiple goals, getting more then 50 cents on the dollar to ask them to score first en route to that victory is a reasonable thing to request.
Vancouver gave up the first goal in two of their four games vs Minnesota, and did so in all three meetings with the Blues during the regular year. Obviously the Canucks were able to come back in two of those games which would
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