2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Odds, Golden Knights vs. Jets Game1 Picks

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds

NHL Playoff Odds Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights Game 1 Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Winnipeg Jets are coming off the thrill of a seventh game win at Nashville against the Predators to clinch what was one of the better playoff series so far this spring.  But now they must quickly recover and refocus.  Game One of their Western Conference Final opens just two nights after their series winning triumph in Music City.  The opposition will be the Vegas Golden Knights, the most remarkable and successful expansion franchise in any sport ever.  And with the hottest goaltender in the playoffs in Marc Andre Fleury the Golden Knights will be a tough out.  Winnipeg hosts Vegas in game one on Saturday night.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets Game One
Date and Time: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Golden Knights +1 ½ (-230), Jets -1 ½ (+190), Over/Under 5 1/2, Golden Knights +120, Jets -140
Golden Knights vs. Jets TV Coverage: NBC

This is the first game of the best of seven Western Conference Final.  Game two will also be in Winnipeg on Monday.

Players to Watch

Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele has had the hot hand in post season with 11 goals and five assists and a plus six.  In the regular season Scheifele posted 23 goals and 37 assists with a plus 19.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is another important man to keep an eye one. “Big Buff” has four goals and nine assists in the playoffs with a plus six and a powerful defensive presence.

A pair of centers, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, have led the Golden Knights all season.  So far in the playoffs Marchessault has four goals and seven assists with a plus seven.  In the regular season the Florida castoff had 27 goals and 48 assists with a dominant plus 36.  Karlsson was kicked to the curb by Columbus last summer and has four goals with six assists and a plus six in post season.  In the regular season he led Vegas with 43 goals and 35 assists with a plus 49.

Golden Knights left wing James Neal was their top clutch goal scorer starting with their first ever game in a win at Dallas.  Neal had 25 goals in the regular season with three goals and four assists in the post season.

Goalie Report

Vegas netminder Marc Andre Fleury has been the most dominant goalie in the NHL playoffs so far with a save percentage of an eye-popping .951 and four shutouts with a goals against average of 1.53.  Fleury has won eight out of his ten starts in post season.  During the regular season he posted a .927 save percentage with four shutouts and a 2.24 goals against average.  Fleury’s value goes far beyond numbers.  He is the marquee man of the franchise and its most recognized player.  He is a fan favorite that has shown the rest of the team how to conduct themselves as representatives of the franchise.  Fleury has three Stanley Cup rings from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Connor Hellebuyck has enjoyed a breakout season as a goaltender to be relied upon for the Winnipeg Jets.  Hellebuyck has posted a playoff save percentage of .927 with two shutouts and a 2.25 goals against average.  In the regular season he had a .924 save percentage with six shutouts and a 2.36 goals against average.

Key Stats

Winnipeg was 32-7-2 at home this year with just 15 of their 41 home games going under the total.  The Jets ranked second in the NHL for goal scoring and fifth for goals against.

Vegas was a good road team with a mark of 22-14-3-2 with just 18 of their 41 away games going under the total.  The Golden Knights were fifth in the NHL for goal scoring and eighth for goals against.

Hockey Betting Picks

Golden Knights vs. Jets Free Picks

It’s understandable that Winnipeg would be a series favorite.  But its asking an awful lot for the Jets to fully reboot just two nights after winning a game seven at Nashville.  Look for well rested Vegas to take full advantage.

Golden Knights vs. Jets Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Golden Knights vs. Jets Game Prediction: Golden Knights 4, Jets 2

 

NHL Playoff Betting Lines, Penguins vs. Capitals Game 2 Odds

NHL Odds

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds Penguins vs. Capitals Game 2 Picks

By Rock Westfall

“Here we go again.”  That is the cry of Washington Capitals fans and gamblers after a game one disaster that re-opened many old wounds from the past.  With two of Pittsburgh’s top players, Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, out with injuries in game one at Washington and with the Caps holding a 2-0 third period lead fate finally seemed to be on the side of the home town team.  But once again the arch nemesis of the Capitals cursed them.  The Penguins rallied for three goals in less than five minutes to steal the first game and the initiative.  Washington has lost seven consecutive playoff series to the Penguins.  And now it’s looking more probable that it’s going to be eight in a row for Pittsburgh.  Once again Washington choked on a huge opportunity to seize control against Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 2
Date and Time: Sunday, April 29, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Penguins vs. Capitals TV Coverage: NBC

With their 3-2 win in game one the Penguins lead this best of seven series 1-0.  After game two on Sunday games three and four will be in Pittsburgh.  If necessary game five is back in Washington, game six would be in Pittsburgh, and game seven would be set for the US Capital City.

Injury report

Malkin and Hagelin remain questionable for game two.  Malkin is hobbled with a leg issue while Hagelin has an injured face.  Malkin in particular is a key component for the Penguins as evidenced by his 42 goals and 56 assists with a plus 16 in the regular season.  In the playoffs Malkin has three goals and two assists.  He has played a key role in all three of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup championships.

Players to Watch

Pittsburgh center, team captain, and seven time All Star Sidney Crosby is on playoff fire with seven goals, eight assists and a plus eight in seven games.  Fellow center Jake Guentzel has been every bit as good with seven goals, nine assists and a plus 11.  Top defenseman Kris Letang has one goal, six assists with a plus seven.

Washington left wing and team captain Alex Ovechkin catches a lot of heat each spring for the team’s playoff failures but it’s hardly fair.  And so far, this playoff season “The Great Eight” leads the Caps with six goals and four assists.  That being said Ovechkin missed a wide-open net in game one that literally brought him to his knees in frustration.  Top Washington defenseman John Carlson has one goal with eight assists so far in post season.  The Caps do remain strong up the middle with centers Evgeny Kuznetsov (five goals and four assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (two goals and six assists) providing excellent playoff production so far.

Goalie Report

Washington goaltender Braden Holtby began the first two games of post season on the bench.  He rescued the Caps in the first round by backstopping four straight wins after they fell behind 2-0 to begin the series.  Holtby has a save percentage of .924 so far in post season.  He has a mixed record in the past playoff failures of Washington.  In the regular season he actually played himself out of a job.  Game one was a reminder of his worst moments in past playoff years.

Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray also had a subpar regular season but has more than recovered in the playoffs.  Murray has posted a save percentage of .917 with two shutouts.  Murray backstopped both Stanley Cup titles for the Pens in 2016 and 2017.

Key Stats

Pittsburgh has had a solid advantage over Washington in this head to head series with eight wins in the last 12 meetings.  Five of the last six in this series have gone under the total.  The Penguins have brought considerable value in games at Washington with five wins in their last seven visits.  Five of those seven games have gone under the total.

Hockey Betting Picks

Penguins vs. Capitals Free Picks

The definition of insanity is to expect something different from the same set of circumstances.  So goes the old adage that may apply to this series.  Game one reminded all why Pittsburgh is a back to back Stanley Cup champion and the Caps are renowned as chokers.

Penguins vs. Capitals Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Capitals Score Prediction: Penguins 4, Capitals 2

NHL Betting Futures Odds, Blackhawks vs. Blues Betting Picks

NHL Odds

NHL Odds Blackhawks vs. Blues Picks

By Rock Westfall

A do or die month is about to end for the St. Louis Blues.  A three-game losing streak has put The Note one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  The Blues season will end at Colorado on Saturday and their mission is to stay close enough for that game to matter.  For the Chicago Blackhawks it has been a season of implosion.  A concussion to goaltender Corey Crawford served to end their season on December 23.  The Blackhawks lacked the depth of scoring and defense to overcome Crawford’s absence.  The Blues host the Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Blackhawks vs. Blues TV Coverage: NBCSN “Rivalry Night”

After winning eight out of nine with a gun to their head to climb into playoff position the Blues dropped three straight.  Goal scoring has been a sore spot for the Blues all season but has vanished at the worst possible time.  St. Louis scored just five goals during that three-game losing streak.  All three games still managed to go over the total due to Jake Allen’s subpar goaltending.

Chicago will be hitting the golf links next week after nine straight years in the playoffs.  Chicago has lost seven out of their last nine games with just two out of their last nine games going under the total.

Injury report

For Chicago team captain and center Jonathan Toews is probable with an upper body ailment.  Goaltender Corey Crawford remains out for the season after a concussion.

For St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester remains out with a hip injury.  Players to Watch

St. Louis right winger Vladimir Tarasenko looms large for this one as one of the few goal scoring threats the Blues have.  The Russian sniper leads The Note with 32 goals on the season.  Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is having his best season with 15 goals and 38 assists.

Goalie Report

Jake Allen was celebrated as the goalie of the future for the Blues when he arrived four years ago.  Instead he has been wildly inconsistent with a .907 save percentage and a 2.72 goals against average.  Backup Carter Hutton has a .930 save percentage but choked down the stretch at the worst possible time with a save percentage of .883 in his last five starts.

Anton Forsberg has gotten most of the starts for Chicago in the absence of Corey Crawford.  Forsberg has a save percentage of .908 with a 2.97 goals against average.  JF Berube has a save percentage of .891 with a 3.93 goals against average in 11 starts.  Collin Delia has a save percentage of .889 with two starts recently.

Special Teams

The Blues power play has been abysmal this year with a ranking of 30th in the NHL.  Their penalty killing ranks a mediocre 17th in the NHL.  If the Blues fail to make the playoffs special teams would be as big of a culprit as any.

Chicago has also struggled on the power play with a NHL ranking of 29th.  Their penalty killing has been a subpar 20th in the league.

Key Stats

St. Louis is 43-30-6 with a home record of 24-16-0.  The Blues have gone under the total in 25 of their 40 home games.  The Blues rank 24th in the NHL for goal scoring but rank seventh in the NHL for goals against.

Chicago is 32-37-8-2 with a road record of just 14-20-4-1.  The Blackhawks have gone under the total in just 15 out of 39 away games.  Chicago ranks 19th in the NHL for goal scoring and 23rd for goals against.

The Blackhawks have lost their last two visits to St. Louis.  The last three meetings between these teams at Scottrade Center have failed to stay under the total.

Hockey Betting Picks

Blackhawks vs. Blues Free Picks

This is the regular season home finale for the Blues.  It may also be the last home game period.  Failure is not an option.  The Blues must win to stay alive for the playoffs.

Blackhawks vs. Blues Pick: Bet the St. Louis Blues money line
Blackhawks vs. Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1

Ice Hockey Betting Predictions, Bruins vs. Flyers Betting Odds

NHL Odds

NHL Odds Bruins vs. Flyers Picks

By Rock Westfall

With both of their top goaltenders out of the lineup for the past month the Philadelphia Flyers are hanging by a thread for one of the two final wild card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.  The Boston Bruins have been battling through their own injury issues to stay just two points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the Atlantic Division and top seed in the Eastern Conference.  The Flyers host the Bruins on NBC Sunday afternoon.

Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Date and Time: Sunday, April 1. 2018, 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Bruins vs. Flyers TV Coverage: NBC

The Bruins have won six out of their last ten games with seven out of those ten games going under the total.  Boston has been something of a surprise in that they are contending for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.  The leadership duo of head coach Bruce Cassidy and general manager Don Sweeney has proven to be the breath of fresh air that the Bruins needed.  Cassidy has done much to improve the Bruins offensive attack that was being suffocated at the end of Claude Julien’s reign as coach.

The Flyers have lost six of their last ten games with seven of their last ten going over the total.  Without their top two goaltenders Philadelphia has had little margin for error.  They are trying to hold off the Florida Panthers for the final playoff spot in the East.  Florida is four points back but with two games in hand.

Injury report

The Philadelphia goaltending tandem of Michael Neuvirth and Brian Elliott continues to be on the mend.  Neuvirth is now on day to day status with a lower body injury while Elliott is out until early April with an abdominal issue.

For the Bruins left wing Rich Nash is day to day with upper body problems.  Veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara is out indefinitely with an upper body problem.  Right wing David Backes is day to day with leg problems.  Players to Watch

Boston left winger Brad Marchand leads the team in scoring with 33 goals and 47 assists.  Marchand also has an impressive plus-34.  Fellow left wing David Pastrnak is right behind with 30 goals and 43 assists.  Defenseman Torey Krug is a solid setup man with 13 goals and 40 assists.

For the Flyers left wing Claud Giroux leads with 26 goals and 65 assists with a plus-18.  Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is a fine quarterback in his own right with 13 goals and 44 assists.

Goalie Report

Boston’s number one netminder Tuukka Rask has a .918 save percentage with a 2.32 goals against average.  Backup Anton Khudobin has a .917 save percentage and a 2.48 goals against average.

Backup goaltenders Alex Lyon and Petr Mrazek have under par for the Flyers.  Mrazek was acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit but has not lived up to billing with a terrible .886 save percentage and 3.26 goals against average.  Alex Lyon has a .905 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average.  The poor play of the backup tandem only shows how much the injuries to Neuvirth and Elliott have damaged the Flyers.

Special Teams

The Bruins strong special teams are a major contributor for their success.  Boston ranks sixth in the NHL for both power play efficiency and penalty killing.

Conversely penalty killing has been a major problem for the Flyers with a NHL ranking of 28th.  The power play has been pedestrian with a ranking of 17th.

Key Stats

Boston is 47-17-8-2 with a profitable road record of 22-10-3-2.  The Bruins have gone over the total in just 15 out of 37 away games.  The Bruins play a complete game as evidence by their NHL rankings of sixth for goals scored and third for goals against.

Philadelphia is 43-27-4-2 with a home record of 19-13-3-3.  The Flyers have gone under the total in 17 of 38 home games this season.  The Flyers rank 14th in the NHL for goal scoring and 15th for goals against.

Boston has won four in a row against the Flyers with the last three games going under the total.

Hockey Betting Picks

Bruins vs. Flyers Free Picks

The Bruins are in better form with deeper secondary scoring and more stability at goaltender.

Bruins vs. Flyers Pick: Bet the Boston Bruins money line
Bruins vs. Flyers Score Prediction: Bruins 3, Flyers 1

NHL Hockey Betting Lines, Philadelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings Odds

Hockey Betting Lines

Flyers vs. Red Wings NHL Betting

By Rock Westfall

For the first time since 1983 the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs and they will be extending that streak to two next month.  Worse still is that the Wings have appeared to have packed it in a month early.  Mired in a horrible slump that is flooding gamblers with red ink Detroit is just five points out of the Eastern Conference basement.  Also slumping are the Philadelphia Flyers although they are still firmly ensconced in the third Metropolitan Division playoff spot, at least for now.  Detroit hosts Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Flyers vs. Red Wings TV Coverage: NBCSN

Detroit has lost nine of their last ten games with three of their last five games going under the total.  On one hand some may excuse such futility with the fact that the Wings have been on the road in 10 of their last 11 games.  Those who are less politically correct would say that the team has quit on the season.

Also slumping is a Philadelphia team that has lost seven of their last nine outings.  They have also gone under the total in three of their last five tilts.  Rather than throwing in the towel the Flyers just may be running on an empty tank as with both of their top two goaltenders out of the lineup.

Special Teams

With a ranking of 29th the Flyers penalty killing unit has been a big problem all season and a key culprit in their current slump.  However, the Red Wings 22nd ranked power play is not likely to take advantage.  Detroit is equally ineffective on the penalty kill with a NHL rank of 22nd.

Injury report

The Flyers goaltending tandem of Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth is out.  Neuvirth has a lower body issue keeping him out of the lineup until early April.  Elliott is on the injured list until late March with an abdominal problem.


Players to Watch

Detroit left wing Henrik Zetterberg is a magician with the puck and one of the most skilled players in the NHL.  He has 10 goals and 37 assists on the season.  Flyers left wing Claude Giroux has a team best 83 points with 26 goals and 57 assists.

Goalie Report

Former Red Wing Petr Mrazek has been getting the majority of the work for the Flyers with Elliott and Neuvirth out.  Acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit for a couple of draft picks he has a subpar save percentage of .887 and a 3.15 goals against average.  As a result of Mrazek’s bad play Alex Lyon has been given an opportunity and has been the better netminder with a .913 save percentage and a 2.48 goals against average.

Jimmy Howard is the top Red Wings goaltender and has posted a .909 save percentage with a 2.87 goals against average.  Backup Jared Coreau has a .863 save percentage and a 4.25 goals against average in three starts.

Key Stats

On enemy ice the Flyers have been impressive with a profitable mark of 19-12-2-3.  Overall Philadelphia is 36-25-5-6 and in the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.  One impressive metric for the Flyers is their ranking of fourth for shots against.

Home ice has not been an advantage for the Red Ink Wings.  At their palatial new home, the Wings are 13-14-7-1.  Little Caesars Arena has seen the Red Wings go under the total in 21 out of 35 games.  Detroit is 26-34-10-1 overall with 43 of their 71 games going under the total.  Detroit ranks a terrible 28th in the NHL for goal scoring and 21st for goals against.  A significant reason for the Red Wings terrible offense is their inability to generate shots.  They rank a pathetic 29th in the league for shots on goal.

Flyers vs. Red Wings Free Picks

With both teams slumping the Flyers at least have something to play for.  Detroit’s weak scoring depth lacks the ability to take advantage of the Flyers goaltending problems.

Flyers vs. Red Wings Pick: Bet the Philadelphia Flyers money line
Flyers vs. Red Wings Score Prediction: Flyers 3, Red Wings 1