Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions for Monday August 31

Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL Best Bets

Games set for Monday August 31, 2020
To be played in Toronto and Edmonton

NHL Underdog Best Bet

Game 5

  • Matchup: Dallas vs Colorado
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 9:45 p.m. ET

Dallas ML +118

Admittedly got a little too cute with yesterday's prop play in Game 4 of this series, as I was running out of ways to continue to support Dallas in this series, and it was only their side that showed up in that opening frame.

But I mentioned at the time of the Grubauer injury for Colorado that Dallas could end up running away with this series, and here we are in Game 5 with a chance for the Stars to close things out. Hell, if Dallas remembered that they still had to play defense after grabbing the 4-3 lead with 6+ minutes left in the game in Game 3, we could've had a sweep here.

For as good as Colorado was during the year, they just can't keep the puck out of their net in this series. Not all of the tallies are on Francouz, but Dallas has scored at least four goals in every game so far, and Colorado should have lost three of the four by multiple tallies (Game 4's very late goal notwithstanding).

It's clear Colorado has far less confidence in their back end then they figured they would at this stage, and things just seem to be adding up against the Avalanche. A long bubble stay, now with key pieces hurt, against a team that's been a bad matchup for them all year. And an even tougher opponent potentially on deck. Eventually that reality sets in and I'm still not entirely sure what Colorado has shown this series to continue to deserve these favored prices in the range that they are. The Avalanche have blown multiple leads, given up huge multi-goal stretches to the Stars, and needed one of those stretches themselves just to be here.

As long as the Stars don't get blown away by an early multi-goal surge from a desperate Colorado team, Dallas ending the series tonight at this price is worth the unit as they look to finish the year 8-2 SU against Colorado overall.

NHL Over-Under Total Best Bet

Game 5

  • Matchup: Boston vs Tampa Bay
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 7:00 p.m. ET

Boston/Tampa Bay Over 5.5

I'm also not entirely convinced Boston indeed goes out with a whimper, as their stay in the bubble has been far from smooth as well. I am willing to give the Bruins the benefit of the doubt though as the defending Eastern Conference champions that they'll at least step up early and try to make Game 5 one where they can continually play from ahead. Boston has no choice but to throw everything they've got at Tampa's net, especially after scoring just once in each of these last two losses.

We got that bounce back defensive game from the Bruins in Game 4, one which they still came out on the wrong end of. And who knows, could be some significant changes coming to the Bruins team this off-season. I believe you've got to give these Bruins offensive talents the benefit of the doubt there in expecting them to go out shooting if that's how it's going to be.

But off that defensive-minded loss, these two teams get back to opening things up a bit more, similar to what we saw in Games 1 and 2. Five goals is something I expect to see already on the board going into the 3rd, and if Boston's the team trailing at that point, that final 20 minutes should be filled with chances for both sides.

Boston's just 3-14 SU in their last 17 against the Lightning, so packing up shop in Boston is a bit of a concern, but even if it turns ugly in that regard, I do still expect Boston to pull their weight at least early on. Two Bruins tallies in a 5-2 loss is more than enough.

NHL Prop Best Bet

Game 5

  • Matchup: Boston vs Tampa Bay
  • TV-Time: NBCSN, 7:00 p.m. ET

Jake DeBrusk to get 1+ point +140

Might be getting a little too cute here again, but DeBrusk has a couple of things that hopefully work in his favor tonight.

One is he's a member of one of the power play units and the only thing Boston has somewhat been able to count on to produce in this series is the power play. If the Bruins come out aggressive as expected, they'll get their opportunities with the extra attacker, and DeBrusk was the one who scored the Bruins lone goal in Game 4 – with the man advantage.

Secondary scoring aside from Boston's big three has been a brewing storyline in this series as to why the Bruins are in the series hole that they are, and they are hoping that DeBrusk finding the back of the net is the start of things to come for them in that regard. He's a streaky scorer to begin with, and his two goals in the 3rd period of Game 4 of last round's matchup with Carolina are things you tend not to forget.

Maybe that goal in the 3rd period of last game was another spark of one of those runs for DeBrusk, as if the 'over' wants a realistic shot, secondary scoring chances from both teams are going to need to materialize. With this price on a guy you know can get hot in a hurry, and will be on the ice for some chances, I'll continue with the thought process that the Bruins show up wanting to compete for the bulk of this game.



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