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

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

Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues Lines, NHL Hockey Picks

NHL Hockey Odds

Penguins at Blues Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally seem to be rounding into form after middling performances through the first two-thirds of the season. Pittsburgh is now in second place in the Metropolitan Division after a big win over Vegas earlier in the week. A road win against the St. Louis Blues would help them close the distance on the Washington Capitals in the race for the division crown.

St. Louis has ideas of its own though. The Blues have the fourth-best record in the West as of Friday morning, and they have been great at home too.

Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues
Date and Time:Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Penguins at Blues TV Coverage: NBC

Coming into this one, Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games. However, all of those wins came at home, and the one time the Penguins went on the road, they looked completely listless against the Devils. This team has not been good on the road this season, with a 10-15-2 record away from the Steel City.

Over has been a good bet in Pittsburgh games recently, as the offense has scored at least five goals in four of its last five. Unsurprisingly, all four of those games went over the total.

St. Louis has won seven of its last ten coming into this game, and the Blues have been favored in eight of their last ten overall. Unlike Pittsburgh, the under has been the thing to bet in St. Louis games this season. Seven of the last ten games have gone under the total.

Injuries to Watch

The Penguins are winning games despite a number of injuries that have cut into this team’s depth. Wingers like Colin Sheary, PartricHornqvist, and Tom Kuhnhackl have all been added to the injured reserve list with lower-body injuries, causing Pittsburgh to have to rely on some of its depth down in the AHL. Sheary should return soon, but Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl are expected to be out a while.

St. Louis is relatively clean on the injury front. There are no new injuries listed for the Blues, just the two players that have been out since the pre-season.

Matchup to Watch

There has been a world of difference between the power play units for these two teams this year. Pittsburgh has the best power play in the NHL. The Penguins typically stack Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel together, and that is a tough combination to stop. They are finding the net on 26.8 percent of their opportunities, and that buoyed this team when it struggled earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, St. Louis has one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They score at a little over half the rate that Pittsburgh does, and that has hurt this team in low scoring games. The Blues do have more talent on offense than last season, but they need to find something that works on the power play.

Last Meeting

These two teams opened the season against each other in the Steel City and this will be their second meeting of the year. St. Louis looked excellent on offense in its opener, with Alex Pietrangelo finding the net twice in a 5-4 win.

Pittsburgh looked out of sorts on the defensive front, as its back line looked slow trying to cover the Blues’ speedy wingers. In particular, Olli Maatta was caught out of place a handful of times. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Blues try to take advantage of that again.

Penguins at Blues Free Picks

This is a tough spot for Pittsburgh to win in. The Pens have a tough road game against the Stars on Friday night and then have to make their way up here. St. Louis has been solid at home this year, winning 63.3 percent of their outings in regulation. Look for the Blues to chalk up another win here to stay in the running for a home playoff series.

Penguins at Blues Pick: Lay the chalk with the Blues
Penguins at Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3 – Penguins 2