Time is certainly going by very slowly for sports fans everywhere. For NHL enthusiasts the wait will last until July 30 which seems miles away. However, training camps are set to open sometime in July. Once this happens, the reality of having professional sports back will finally set in and the itch will finally be scratched. This will also bring back the soon to be booming industry of sports betting. Today we want to get the engine revving and introduce what we should be looking for when it comes to betting on the NHL playoffs. Here is an early look at betting on the qualifying round in the NHL.
Arizona Coyotes(+115)/ Nashville Predators(-135)
The interest in this series is likely to be fairly low for the general public. Arizona plays a shutdown, defense-first style which can drive teams nuts. They also have solid goaltending, as evidenced by their third-ranked goals-against of 2.61.
Nashville is the more skilled team. They can score in bunches but can also go through prolonged periods of slumping which could easily happen in this series.
You can easily make a solid case for picking either side, especially this season where there will be no home-ice advantage. My slight lean goes to the Predators but going with the plus money with the Coyotes is a good play and should be considered, especially when the spread isn’t so big and a lot of the NHL betting odds have approved this strategy – if you don’t aim high, you won’t get there. In this case, when both teams have a very solid gameplay – both sides have almost equal chances with a small lean to one side, so no bet will be too crazy here.
Chicago Blackhawks(+130)/ Edmonton Oilers(-150)
If there were a series to put the league back on the map it’s this one. The Oilers are led by the two best players in the league in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. These two alone will be too much to handle for the defensively challenged Blackhawks. My only concern is with Edmonton’s goalie situation. Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith shared duties during the regular season, one will have to step up and take ownership of the crease.
Chicago has offensive firepower as well, Patrick Kane can steal a game almost any night. With both clubs being offensive-minded look at hammering the over as the series dictates. As far as choosing a winner of the series, Edmonton is on the cusp of being great, you gotta think that they can handle Chicago.
Columbus Blue Jackets(+140)/ Toronto Maple Leafs(-160)
A bit too much love for the Leafs here. Toronto had no problem in scoring a ton of goals this season but they never were able to clamp down defensively despite Frederik Andersen’s best efforts. Both teams will be getting key contributors back in the lineup, Columbus is likely to benefit the most here.
Taking the plus price with the Jackets has a lot of appeal, at the same time, taking either side is the equivalent to flipping a coin.
Florida Panthers(-105)/ New York Islanders(-115)
This could be where goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky finally shows his worth. Florida proved to be able to score at will during the course of the season. If they get clutch goaltending, who knows how far they could go. The upside potential with the Panthers is much higher than the no-frills Islanders. For this reason lean Florida.
Minnesota Wild(+110)/ Vancouver Canucks(-130)
Minnesota at one time was the laughing stock of the league, they since then turned things around and found themselves playing meaningful games. Vancouver is an exciting young team that has met or exceeded expectations. Look for them to steamroll the Wild in three or four games.
Montreal Canadiens(+170)/ Pittsburgh Penguins(-200)
The Penguins are big-time favorites and it’s for good reason. How in the world will the Canadiens be able to contain a well-rested Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? If Forward Jake Guentzel returns, the task will be even more challenging.
Montreal goalie Carey Price will have to stand on his head and even then a lot has to go right. The smart money is with the Penguins.
New York Rangers(+120)/ Carolina Hurricanes(-140)
Getting the Rangers at plus money is very appealing here. If momentum is a thing after the long lay-off, New York has it. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin were on fire before the season was halted. On top of that, the Rangers have a clear advantage when it comes to goaltending. Take the Blue Shirts with the plus price.
Winnipeg Jets(even)/ Calgary Flames(-120)
This series has just as good of a chance of going the distance as any in the qualifying round. Winnipeg is slightly better for me because of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets have plenty of firepower up front to get the job done. Take Winnipeg at even money.
Thanks for taking an early look at the NHL qualifying series matchups from a betting perspective. If you are to lay a few bucks down, tread carefully, and good luck!
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