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NHL

May 02, 2022

NHL Playoffs Best Bets, Picks, Predictions, Odds

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the NHL are underway, and we'll take a look at some of the best bets for the playoffs. There are PLENTY of great values on the board, and we'll dive into a lot of props to try and help you build your bankroll heading into the Stanley Cup Final.

WINNING CONFERENCE - EAST (-115)

The Eastern Conference had all eight teams qualifying for the postseason record 100 or more points. It's the first time in NHL history that all eight teams from the same conference had triple-digit point totals.

The Florida Panthers (122 points), who won the President's Trophy for the NHL's best regular-season record, are followed by the Metropolitan Division champ Carolina Hurricanes (116), Toronto Maple Leafs (115), New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning (110), Boston Bruins (107), Pittsburgh Penguins (103) and Washington Capitals (100).

Whomever ends up coming out of the Eastern Conference is going to win the Stanley Cup. These teams will get a tremendous test during every round, and will be primed and ready for whomever comes out of the West. Book it.

The Florida Panthers recorded an NHL-best 122 points in the regular season. (Getty Images)

CONN SMYTHE WINNER - CALE MAKAR (+1600)

The Colorado Avalanche (+325) are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup despite the fact the Florida Panthers had the highest point totals in the NHL. Cale Makar, one of the favorites for the Norris Trophy for the best defenseman in the regular season, should be considered as the favorite for Conn Smythe Trophy winner, too. That award is given to the most dominant player in the postseason, and almost always goes to a key member of the Stanley Cup winning team. However, I think it's very possible the Eastern Conference wins, and Makar has such a dominant performance in the playoffs that he takes home the honors as his team comes up just short of a championship.

Makar managed 28 goals with 58 assists and a plus-48 rating, with the latter ranked fifth in the NHL. He could get off to a quick start, too, as he had two goals and seven points in three regular-season meetings against the Nashville Predators, the team's first-round opponent.

EDMONTON OILERS 4-2 FIRST-ROUND WIN (+350)

The Edmonton Oilers open the postseason with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton dominated the four regular-season meetings against L.A., including victories in each of the past three outings. In those three straight wins in the series, the Oilers outscored the Kings by a 12-7 margin, although the past two meetings were one-goal games.

The Kings are also 0-4 in the past four games against teams with a winning record, so they sorta slink into the postseason. The Kings are also 0-5 in the past five as an underdog, so they're going to want to turn things around in a hurry or they won't have a long stay in the postseason.

Edmonton has managed five victories in the past six games in this series, and 6-1 in the past seven battles at Rogers Place. It would be an absolute shock to see the Kings come away with a series win. If you don't want to get specific, you could bet the Oilers (-250) to win the series, but risking two and a half times your potential return is not a tremendous play.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE WINNING DIVISION - ATLANTIC (-200)

The Panthers won the President's Trophy, and the Atlantic Division also includes the team with the third-best point total in the Maple Leafs, while also including the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning. I don't trust the Metropolitan Division as much, as goaltender Frederik Andersen of the Carolina Hurricanes enters the postseason with an injury, while the Washington Capitals aren't expected to last long. The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are also from the Metro, and will beat up on each other in the opening round. I don't expect those two teams to do very much.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - SERIES WINNER (+100)

The two-time defending champ Lightning will square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team which hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1967, and an organization which hasn't even gotten out of the first round of the playoffs since the 2004 playoffs.

To make matters worse for the Leafs and their faithful, who are already likely wringing their hands, the Lightning have won seven of the previous 10 trips to Toronto, while the road team has picked up seven wins in the past 10 victories. If Tampa Bay wins in Game 1, that should set the tone for the rest of the season. The pressure is all on the Leafs, and that's never a good thing.

The two-time defending champ Lightning are +1100 to win the Cup again in '22. (Getty Images)

NAME THE FINALISTS - NATIONS - USA vs. USA (-200)

We were treated to a real treat last season, as the Montreal Canadiens rolled all the way to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in a strange COVID season which featured an All-Canadian Division, and two rounds in the Great White North before facing the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. That was the first time a Canadian team made it to the Stanley Cup Final since 2011 when the Vancouver Canucks faced the Boston Bruins. We haven't had a Canadian team bring Lord Stanley's Cup back north of the border since 1993.

While it's risky business putting up two times your potential return, it's nearly a lock that the two Stanley Cup finalists will be from the United States. We have a total of just one Canadian team, the Leafs, in the Eastern Conference, while the Calgary Flames and Oilers carry the flag for the nation in the Western Conference.

WINNING DIVISION - CENTRAL (+180)

The Central Division have five representatives in the Stanley Cup playoffs - the Avalanche (119 points), Minnesota Wild (113), St. Louis Blues (109), Dallas Stars (98) and Predators (97). While I'm not expecting much from the Stars or Predators, who barely eked into the postseason, the Avalanche are the favorites to win the Cup, while the Wild and Blues finished up strong, and they're well-balanced teams with solid offense, defense and goaltending.

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