The first round of the 2016 NHL Playoffs are now in the book and as always there were plenty of exciting series as well as a number of upsets.
There are a number of intriguing match-ups in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it really would not surprise if all four series went to six or seven games.
The closeness between the best sides in the NHL means that there is always plenty of betting opportunities and I have analysed every single match-up to come up with the best betting plays.
St Louis Blues
This is one of the many series that it would not surprise to see go either way and the market suggests as much.
Both these teams have strengths and they set-up what will be an extremely intriguing showdown – the Dallas Stars are one of the best offensive teams in the NHL, while the St Louis Blues have a clear edge on defence,
The Stars and Blues have both proven to be winning betting teams this season – with the Blues a most impressive 15-9 as underdogs – and they finished the season with almost identical records.
The only piece of data that gives one team the edge over the other is the fact that St Louis have won four of their past five games against Dallas and that is why we have to give them a minor edge in this series.
Recommended Bet: Back St Louis Blues To Win The Series @ $1.87
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks upset the Los Angeles Kings to progress to this stage of the Playoffs and they are now clear favourites to dispose of the Nashville Predators.
The Sharks were nothing short of outstanding against the Kings and it is easy to see why they are such firm favourites here – they are superior to Nashville on both sides of the puck and they have been a very profitable betting side in the NHL this season.
Nashville required seven games, but they were eventually able to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks and they will go into this series with plenty of confidence.
Anything can happen in the NHL Playoffs, but there isn’t a great deal in the favor of the Predators – even if they do have a very productive power play unit.
The Predators are one of the few sides in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that have been a losing proposition for punters this season and their record of 8-16 as underdogs this season could be a big problem.
I am confident that the Sharks will prove too strong for their rivals and are a safe bet to progress to the Conference Finals.
Recommended Bet: Back San Jose Sharks To Win The Series @ $1.57
New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning
This series got underway yesterday when the New York Islanders recorded a solid victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Islanders are still a good price to progress to the next stage of the Stanleu Cup Playoffs.
Both these teams have been strong front-runners this season, but it is the Tampa Bay Lightning that have been particularly poor as underdogs this season and they have won just three of their past 13 games in this scenario.
The Islanders have now won four of their past five games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and I’m not sure that Lightning have the offensive fire power that is going to be required to get them back into this series.
The $1.63 currently on offer for the Islanders to progress to the Conference Finals seems a very fair price considering that they already have a one game advantage.
Recommended Bet: Back The New York Islanders To Win The Series @ $1.63
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins both progressed to the second round of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in fairly comfortable fashion and this could prove to be the most exciting series of this stage of the postseason.
Offensively there is very little between these sides, but the Capitals are the stronger defensive unit and they are extremely well organised in the power play on both sides of the puck.
The Capitals have been one of the best betting teams in the NHL this season and they have lost just 56 of their 78 games as favourites this season.
I expect the Capitals to prove too strong for the Penguins over seven games and they are a great bet to keep alive their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup.
Recommended Bet: Back Washington Capitals To Win The Series @ $1.65