Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Thursday August 20

Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets

Game set for Thursday, August 20, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton

NHL Favorite Best Bet 

  • Matchup: New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 8:00 p.m. ET 

New York Islanders -106

Washington showed enough fight to stave off getting swept in their last outing, coming back form down 2-0 early in Game 4 to eventually win 3-2. They've still got a big climb ahead of them before dreams of making it to the next round can become realistic, but as we've seen so far in these “bubble-offs,”  the fight to want to hang around typically doesn't last more than a single game for teams.
In the qualifying round, we saw the Florida Panthers put up enough fight in Game 3 to extend that series one more game before bowing out in Game 4. In this round, we've seen Chicago do the same in winning Game 4 to avoid the sweep, only to ultimately come up short the next game as well.

Arizona put up a fight in Game 3 to avoid going down 0-3 in their series with Colorado, but then bowed out in a hurry in the following two games. Carolina and Columbus also bowed out when they faced elimination for the first time too. Basically what I'm saying here is that no team in these unique NHL playoffs so far has shown enough gumption to stave off elimination on two consecutive occasions, so what will make Washington any different tonight?
Sure, New York could be a bit down on themselves for blowing that early 2-0 lead last time out, but they also knew that they had plenty of games to spare in that regard being up 3-0. The last thing they want to do is string along this Capitals team – who has been severely outplayed for the bulk of this series – in letting them make it 3-2 or worse, gaining more and more confidence along the way.
The Islanders put the hammer down tonight and end this series. 

NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet

  • Matchup: Dallas vs Calgary
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET 

Dallas/Calgary Over 5

Throughout this series there has been a pattern of these two teams not playing the same style of game twice in a row. A tight-checking 3-2 series opener was followed by a floodgate opening 5-4 contest in Game 2. Both teams wanted to tighten up defensively after that in a 2-0 contest for Game 3, and then completely forgot everything they did in that game to go back to a 5-4 game in Game 4. Then Game 5 was back to packing things in defensively with a 2-1 result, so if this pattern holds, we may not get a 5-4 game again tonight, but five total goals should end up being achieved.
Dallas is 4-1-1 O/U after scoring two or fewer goals in their last six tries, and are 3-0-1 O/U after giving up two or fewer goals in the last four instances of that being applicable. Combine those trends with the Flames being 9-4-1 O/U after allowing two or fewer goals, 5-2 O/U after scoring two or fewer goals, 9-3-1 O/U in their last 13 as an underdog, and 11-4-1 O/U when they get just a single day off, and I do expect some offensive fireworks this evening.
And don't forget that it is still an elimination game for the Flames so should they be trailing late in the 3rd period, an early pull of the goalie is always a possibility. There is no tomorrow for Calgary should they be losing, so they might as well pull out all the stops, and if we do need an empty-netter to climb 'over' this number, we should at least have an opportunity one way or the other to do so.
Not sure we will even need it in the end though. 

NHL Prop Best Bet

  • Matchup: Dallas vs Calgary
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET 

Alexander Radulov to get at least one point +100

Not only has the Stars/Flames series followed a patter of low-scoring to high-scoring games in this series, but Radulov is one of those names that has only found the score sheet in those two 5-4 affairs. Radulov gets 1st line and 1st power play unit time, so it's not like the opportunities haven't been there throughout the five games, and if the Stars are going to wrap things up tonight, chances are they'll need him (or at least one of those 1st units) to produce.
As the only Star in that situation being offered plus-money to find a contribution tonight, I'll bite on backing him to continue his individual patter as well.

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