Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM
NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Friday August 14
Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets
Games set for Friday, August 14, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton
NHL Favorite Best Bet
Matchup: Vancouver vs St Louis
TV-Time: NHLN, 6:30 p.m. ET
St. Louis -145
St. Louis has yet to win a game during their bubble stay and it is starting to get to that time where questions about how much the defending champs “care” about being in this unique situation could start to arise. A lack of caring in the round robin bled into their play for basically the entirety of Game 1 vs Vancouver, and if the Blues do care and want their stay in the bubble to be a long one, bouncing back with a convincing win in Game 2 has to be the plan.
And while this line does reflect the fact that St Louis is the only team remaining in either bubble that's yet to win a game, I'm not sure the huge adjustment (St Louis was in the -170 range for Game 1) is completely warranted. St Louis seemed a little caught off guard by the Canucks playing a physical brand of hockey from the outset – in a tactic that St Louis is used to using against other foes – and I think the day off gives this Blues team time to give their heads a shake and realize that things are for real now.
Blues head coach Craig Berube even discussed how his team lacked aggression during the round robin and hoped that it would show up in Game 1. It did for some spurts here and there, but I expect the defending champs to show their best colors in Game 2 and make Blues PL (+175) bettors winners as well.
NHL Underdog Best Bet
Matchup: Arizona vs Colorado
TV-Time: NHLN, 2 p.m. ET
Arizona ML +170
Arizona PL +1.5
This is another interesting spot historically for the Coyotes, as they have the task of trying to rebound off a shutout defeat. Murmurs in the market of Arizona being a team that struggles to score continue to grow louder after getting blanked, but how quick they are to forget that the Coyotes put up 4 goals in three of their four games in the Qualifying Round. Wasn't so hard to score then, and even with a different (and better) opponent, I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the 'fade Arizona' train in Game 2.
That's because including this year's Qualifying Round, NHL playoff teams off a shutout loss are 18-12 SU in the next game going back to the start of the 2017 postseason. It went 3-1 SU in this year's playoffs already with Columbus and Toronto trading wins off shutout losses, while Minnesota and Vancouver tried to do the same but it was the Wild who couldn't end up getting the W in Game 4.
What's more is the fact that of those 12 outright losses teams in this spot suffered, seven of them came by a single goal. That means that of the past 30 times teams have been in nearly the same (hence the bubble) spot as Arizona is here, they've gone 25-5 covering the +1.5 number.
That's an angle I'm willing to back here, as it's about a 70/30 split of a unit on the PL/ML plays on the Coyotes. And let's not forget, for the entire season, Arizona went 3-2 SU on the ML off a shutout loss, and all five of those games came against playoff teams (Vegas, Chicago, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tampa).
NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet
Matchup: Arizona vs Colorado
TV-Time: NHLN, 2 p.m. ET
Arizona/Colorado Over 5.5
This was a dead duck play in Game 1 as even the three goals they finished was a bit of anomaly given that the first goal didn't come until there was less than 10 minutes left in the game. But following along those same historical lines of post-shutout playoff games, of the 18 times these teams that got shutout won the next time out, they averaged 4.1 goals per game.
The Coyotes have already hit that 4-goal mark three times during their stay in Edmonton, and in those five post-shutout losses this year, Arizona games had at least five total goals scored in four of them, and 7 or more goals in three of the five. The Coyotes themselves were responsible for scoring at least three goals in four of those five outings as well.
At the same time, off a shutout win, Colorado games this year went 3-2 O/U but all three 'overs' finsihed with at least seven total goals as well. The most recent occurrence for that came inside this very bubble when a 4-0 win over Dallas was followed by a 4-3 loss to Vegas, so it's not like seeing the red light on often following a shutout win is a new proposition for the Avalanche to deal with.
NHL Prop Best Bet
Matchup: N.Y. Islanders vs Washington
TV-Time: NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET
Goal scored in first 10 minutes – Yes (-121)
Interesting to see that since the NHL returned to action in this bubble, the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals are combined 9-0 on not seeing a goal scored in the first 10 minutes of the game. That's quite a run to be going against, but in the same fashion of the Blackhawks/Golden Knights Game 1 where all anyone could talk about the 'over', I view this prop play as one where it's time to flip the script.
Washington has yet to really show their best form since the restart, but the Islanders have accomplished that perfect 5-0 feat on the “No” in this goal scoring prop despite being one of the best 'over' teams in the bubble. NYI are 3-1-1 O/U so far in their five games as all of those scoring barrages typically happen after the 10-minute mark.
Eventually something has to change there, and rather then look to a potential 'under' play on the game, it's this prop bet that I believe is more likely to change. You can't keep playing games that are finishing with 5+ goals overall like the Islanders are, and not see one get potted in the first 10 minutes out of sheer chance.
Believing things will just continue to stay the same with this prop ( or any streaky wager) is part of the sheer ignorance of those bettors who love to just ride streaks. I mean, just because one thing like the “No” side of this prop continues to hit, doesn't mean that's always going to be the case. A sunny day today, does not guarantee a sunny day tomorrow, but “streak riders” just conveniently ignore that rational thought when they jump on streaks in the betting world like this and only use riding the streak as their main piece of support. It's lazy, and unless they've been riding the streak since the start (or one or two games in), which is highly unlikely, it's really nothing more than a neat tidbit of information that I believe has more value going against, then ever riding it.
And hey, Game 2 might not be the game where either of these teams do end up seeing an early goal in the first 10 minutes and those same “streak riders” can have a laugh at my expense. That's all well and good, I wish them the best, but with the Capitals now knowing they need to wake up their game from the outset to avoid falling two games down in this series, and knowing the market is giddy betting (and already counting their perceived