The Stanley Cup NHL Playoffs get underway this week and we are set for a very exciting couple of months of playoffs hockey.
There are very little series’ in which there is a dominant favourites – with the Washington Capitals the only exception – and you can make a case for just about every race making a lengthy playoffs run.
I have analysed all eight series in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and there are a number of betting plays that standout.
The Dallas Stars have been one of the most reliable teams in the NHL this season and they have been a winning betting proposition as both favourites and underdogs.
The Stars finished the regular season with a record of 38-23 as favourites and their ability to score goals quickly means that they are always capable of getting the job done as underdogs.
Minnesota finished the season with a 31-26 record as favourites, but their poor record of only 7-18 as underdogs is a big concern heading into this season where they will likely start the majority of games as underdogs.
Dallas have the edge on Minnesota in the majority of key metrics and should prove far too strong for their rivals in this series.
Recommended Bet: Back Dallas Stars To Win The Series @ $1.64
St Louis Blues
I expect this to be one of the closest series’ and the market suggests much.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been a losing betting proposition this season, but they still finished the season with a positive record of 44-27 as favourites.
St Louis were a winning betting team as both favourites and underdogs during the regular season, with their record as underdogs a particularly profitable 13-8.
The Blackhawks have a narrow edge over the Blues in offense, but the Blues are betting defensively and they split just about every other statistical metric.
It is almost impossible to split these two teams and because of that I lean slightly to the Chicago Blackhawks, who represent a touch of value at their current quote of $2.02 to qualify for the next stage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Recommended Bet: Back Chicago Blackhawks To Win The Series @ $2.02
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings were both profitable betting propositions in the NHL this season and this is set to be another intriguing series.
The Sharks were not the safest bet as favourites, but their record as underdogs of 13-7 cannot be sneezed at and they are clearly the better offensive side.
The Kings won 41 of their 68 games as favourites in the NHL this season and they were a credible 7-7 as underdogs.
Los Angeles have the edge over the Sharks defensively, but this is another series in which there really isn’t a great deal between the two teams.
The Kings are deserving favourites in this series, but there is not as much between these two teams as the market suggests and the Sharks are a great bet to win the series at $2.29.
Recommended Bet: Back San Jose Sharks To Win The Series @ $2.29
New York Islanders
This is one of the series’ that I am most confident about and on data the Florida Panthers have a clear edge over the New York Islanders.
The Panthers were strong on offence and defence than the Islanders throughout the NHL season and they were one of the most profitable betting teams in the competition.
New York went a safe 36-20 as favourites this season, but they were a very poor 9-17 as underdogs and they will star the majority of their games in this scenario during this series.
Florida have won four of the past five games played between these two sides and they should be able to continue their dominance of their rivals this series.
Recommended Bet: Back Florida Panthers To Win The Series @ $1.70
Tampa Bay Lightning
Detroit Red Wings
There two sides are far from the most reliable outfits in the NHL from a betting perspective and both teams were a losing betting proposition during the regular season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were a more than adequate 44-27 as favourites this season, but they won just two of their 11 games as underdogs, while the Red Wings were also an unimpressive 12-17 as underdogs.
The Red Wings will have to turn this around during this series as they are set to start the majority of their games as underdogs and they have lagged behind the Lightning in both offensive and defensive metrics during the season.
While neither of these sides thrived towards the end of the season, I still have to give a clear edge to the Lightning.
Recommended Bet: Back Tampa Bay Lightning To Win The Series @ $1.65
The Washington Capitals are the shortest priced favourites to make it to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it is very easy to see why.
The Capitals won 52 of their 72 games as favourites this season and were a clear winning proposition, while the Philadelphia Flyers finished the season with 20 victories from their 35 matches as favourites.
Washington also have the edge over Philadelphia in every key metric except for total shots and offensively they have a clear leg-up over their rivals.
The only issue for the Capitals is the fact that they have lost three of their past five games against the Flyers and that is why I can’t recommended a bet on Washington at such a short quote, but they should still be able to get the job done.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
New York Rangers
This is another series in which the data suggests one team has an edge over the other, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are still available at a very lucrative price.
The Penguins finished the regular season with a record of 38-12 as favourites and they have an edge over the Rangers in both offense and defence.
The only metric in which the New York Rangers have the edge over Pittsburgh is in power play goals scored percentage and they went only 8-11 as underdogs in the past 12 months.
Pittsburgh have won their past three meetings with the New York Rangers and I am confident that they can continue that dominance.
Recommended Bet: Back Pittsburgh Penguins To Win The Series @ $1.84