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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Thursday August 13

Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets

Games set for Thursday, August 13, 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

Enough has been made about the brutal turnaround this is for both teams after that epic 5OT game, and how dead the legs will be is something I'll address and take an educated guess at a little later on. But for now, it's the fact that 5OT games have been so rare in the history of the NHL that I prefer to use that knowledge to back up this play on the money line.

The other three longest games that we've had in modern era NHL history (Philly/Pitt in 2000, Anaheim/Dallas 2003, and Pittsburgh/Washington in 1996), the team that won the OT game went on to win the following game in the series as well. Two of those three following wins came by three goals, so laying the puck line with the Bolts may be an option as well.

Taking it a step further for those wanting to look ahead, of the seven times in the modern era (post-1967 expansion) we've seen a NHL playoff game go to at least four overtimes, the team that ended up winning that game has gone on to win the series six of seven times.

Two of those occurrences did happen when the OT victory was also a series clincher, but if this trip through the NHL history books is any indicator, Tampa may well indeed get their revenge on the Blue Jackets this year.

NHL Underdog Best Bet

Matchup: Carolina vs. Boston
TV-Time: NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET

Boston PL +180

Another brutal turn around for these two teams as they get the rare back-to-back spot in a playoff series thanks to this unique bubble format.


But with no 'real' underdog on the board to back straight up – going back to Calgary was a thought at -110 odds – I'll hope the history with long 4/5 OT games carries over to two other teams that are going to have tired legs in the sense that the same team wins again.

Boston took nearly the entire first period to get their heads completely into the game after they coasted through the round robin, and coughing the lead up twice to Carolina in the opener will not sit well with them overnight.

Grab a lead, build on it, and then shut it down is the favorite operating method of this Bruins team, and they've proved in recent years that they are quite good at it. Boston comes out like that in Game 2 and shows a much better version of their game overall and they'll get this puck line to cash.

NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet

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

Columbus/Tampa Bay Over 5/5.5

An 'over' play may seem a little counter-intuitive given the likelihood we see plenty of dead legs out there for this quick turnaround, but I look at it in a bit of a different light.

To me, tired legs in hockey generally leads to one of two things: mental errors, and/or guys getting lazy with their back-checking and using their stick too much and taking penalties because of fatigue. More mistakes in any team contest generally leads to more points/goals being put up on the board, and if you give either of these teams too many looks with the man advantage, they'll eventually make you pay.

At the same time, I don't think we can expect either goalie to be anywhere near as sharp as they were the other night. Yes, Tampa had 80 shots turned away the other night, but it was still just one game and it's a long way before talk of Korpisalo having Tampa's number should really gain some traction.

Finally, I can't leave out the fact that the only other two 5OT games in the modern era ended up with at least five goals scored the following time out.

NHL Prop Best Bet

Matchup: Chicago vs. Vegas
TV-Time: NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET

Vegas to win the race to 3 goals (-150)

Happy that the 'under' in Game 1 of this Blackhawks/Knights and the 'no goal in first 10 minutes' prop were both relatively easy cashes in the Vegas 4-1 win. I do believe if anything on this total in Game 2 that coming right back with the 'under' is the way to go if forced too, but after taking a look at some of these derivative lines that Vegas has regarding their goal total it may be best to leave it alone.

The Golden Knights are -150 chalk to get to 3 goals first, and with a team total of 3.5 with the 'over' sitting at -125, oddsmakers do expect Vegas to be able to pot at least another three goals. Getting too cute with another 'under' play is tough to do, and the suggestion that Vegas is expected to hover around the 3-4 goal mark as somewhat of a straight up proposition, I don't want an 'under' bet having to need the Hawks to put up one or fewer goals again.

Instead, I'll lay the price that Vegas is the team to get to that mark first, and hopefully is the only team of the two to do so for those of you that do decide to pull the trigger on an 'under' play. A 3-1 or 4-1 type game is exactly what we could see from these two again, especially if Vegas establishes dominance early and sits on the undermanned Hawks afterwards.

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