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 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

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Odds, NHL Betting Lines

NHL Odds

Kings vs. Golden Knights Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed an early sugar rush of a new head coach to bust out of the gate with a very successful start.  John Stevens emphasized a freer flowing offensive approach than predecessor Darryl Sutter, but now the reality of the Kings roster has caught up with them.  Their lack of offense cannot be covered up for and they are back to the reality of what they always were and that is the same one dimensional defensively oriented team that they were under Sutter.  The Vegas Golden Knights are the sensation of the hockey nation and the first-year expansion team has the league’s best record.  Almost as important is that they play a high scoring attack style that entertains.  The Golden Knights host the Kings on Tuesday

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Kings vs. Golden Knights TV Coverage: NBCSN

Los Angeles peaked on January 2 when they were 24-11-5 and looked like a guarantee to make for the playoffs with home ice advantage.  Their collapse since then has been breathtaking.  Gamblers backing LA have drowned in red ink for the last two months.  LA is in an eight team race for the final five Western Conference playoff spots.  Just six points separate those eight clubs in the standings.

There is no doubt that center Jeff Carter’s four month absence due to injury was a factor in the Kings woes.  But the fact that LA was highly profitable for the first month and a half that Carter was out can’t be ignored.  Carter has returned to the lineup, but will it be enough?  Many NHL insiders believe that the Kings offensive woes under Sutter were never really addressed.

The Kings have been under water lately.  In their last eight games they have lost five times.  They have been a decent value on the road with a mark of 19-13-2.  Just 14 of LA’s 34 away games have gone over the total.

In their first season of existence, Vegas is in the President’s Trophy hunt for best regular season record in the NHL.  The Golden Knights remain in great form with six wins in their last eight games.  Home ice has been a big advantage for Vegas.  The Golden Knights are an astounding 24-5-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena.  Vegas paid half a billion dollars to join the NHL.  To its credit the league offered them good players in the expansion draft.

Special Teams

Vegas boasts one of the best power plays in the NHL with a ranking of fifth.  Comparatively the Kings rank a disappointing 17th for the power play.  This matchup’s Power play comparison is indicative of team’s respective strengths and weaknesses.  The fresh approach of Stevens has worn off.  The Kings traditional scoring problems that doomed Sutter remain.  Power play efficiency is a big reason for the Golden Knights amazing success.

Goalie Report

Marc Andre Fleury has had to fill the void for Vegas due to Malcolm Subban’s injury.  Subban is out indefinitely due to an upper body issue.  Fleury has a stellar save percentage of .930 with a 2.13 goals against average.  Maxime Legace has struggled in Subban’s place as backup.  Legace has a weak .872 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average.  Thus, Fleury is carrying a heavy workload.

For the Kings starter Jonathan Quick and backup Darcy Kuemper are among the top tandems in the game.  Quick has a save percentage of .921 with a 2.46 goals against average in 48 games.  Kuemper’s save percentage is an even better .932 with a 2.10 goals against average in 19 games.

Key Stat

Vegas is defying all laws of gravity and expectations for an expansion team.  Beyond being a President’s Trophy contender they also rank second in the NHL for goal scoring.  In comparison slumping Los Angeles is 18th in the league for goals scored.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Free Picks

Vegas scored a 4-2 win in their only previous home game against LA on November 19.  There is no reason to expect anything different in this one.  The Golden Knights have developed a true four line team that relentlessly attacks in wave after wave.  The scoring depth of Vegas cannot be matched by the Kings.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Kings vs. Golden Knights Score Prediction: Golden Knights 5, Kings 2