Day 2 of the NHL playoffs serves up some stellar matchups, featuring thrilling divisional matchups that are sure to continue hostilities over the course of their respective first round series. Here's a game-by-game preview of Thursday's NHL Playoff betting card.
Stanley Cup Playoffs, Day 2, Game 1 of the First Round
The Divisional round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues on Thursday with the remaining series kicking off game 1. We've got you covered with our NHL picks for both money line odds and puck line odds.
Penguins +1.5 (-185), +160 vs. Rangers -1.5 (+165), -180
Analysis: The Rangers are touted as this season's Stanley Cup champions across sports betting platforms, trading +450 NHL odds to win it all. That overwhelming favoritism extends into their playoff series with the Penguins, matched at -250 to win and advance into the next round.
The Rangers open the series at home to the Penguins as the -180 NHL odds favorites, and early consensus betting reveals the public is totally on board. Rangers lead the regular season series 3-1 and they are 6-1 SU in the last seven meetings with the Penguins. They are riding momentum into the playoffs having won seven of their last eight games (7-3-0 in their last ten). They are the President Trophy winners after setting a record for both wins and points on the season. Consider all this, it's hard to see how the Rangers don't advance from this series, let alone start with a win particularly when the Penguins limp into the playoffs behind a 3-5-2 record in their last ten games and are riddled with injuries.
NHL Picks - Money Line: Rangers -180
NHL Picks - Puck Line: Rangers -1.5 (+165)
Red Wings +1.5 (-210), +155 vs. Lightning -1.5 (+175), -175
Analysis: Nobody is giving the Detroit Red Wings a chance, not in this series or the NHL playoffs proper. They are the quintessential long shots to win it all at +2100 on the Stanley Cup Betting Odds board and the significant underdogs to win this series at +175. Nevertheless, this is a side with a tradition of success in the playoffs and a long time favorite in NHL betting circles, with plenty of skill and depth.
Against the Lightning, the Red Wings will fancy their chances despite trailing 1-3 SU in their series. The Lightning have the best home record in the league this season, but they've struggled on the road. That's where the Red Wings will look to capitalize and keep hope alive. Game 1, however, takes place in Tampa, where the Boltz are tough to beat.
NHL Picks - Money Line: Lightning -175
NHL Picks - Puck Line: Lightning -1.5 (+175)
Wild +1.5 (-235), +130 vs. Blues -1.5 (+195) -150
Analysis: The St. Louis Blues closed the season on with a two-game winning streak, which included a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Overall, the Central Division champions enjoyed a solid season, finishing just four points behind President Trophy winners NY Rangers. They take a 6-3-1 record in their last ten games into the playoffs, momentum they are sure to build on when they open their series with the Wild on Thursday as the -150 NHL odds favorites.
The head-to-head series in the regular season was split down the middle 2-2 between these two teams, but it's the Blues that edge the Wild 7-3 SU in their last ten meetings. What's more, the Wild ride into the playoffs having lost four of their last six games, a decided slip in form that could spill forth into the playoffs. On balance, this matchup could go either way in game 1. It's the playoffs after all, a whole different game altogether. That said the Blues are the form team in this series, making them our choice NHL pick to get off to a winning start.
NHL Picks - Money Line: Blues -150
NHL Picks - Puck Line: Blues -1.5 (+195)
Jets +1.5 (-230), +135 vs. Ducks -1.5 (+190), -155
Analysis: The Anaheim Ducks enter game 1 of their series with the Winnipeg jets as the firm -155 favorites to win outright on the NHL odds board, a market stance that is underscored by their one-sided regular season series record. The Ducks swept the series 3-0, which includes two away wins (4-3 in overtime in their first meeting this season and a 4-1 win) and a 5-4 win in a shootout in Anaheim. Since 2011, the Ducks boast a 5-2 SU record against the Jets.
The Ducks enter the playoffs having won six of their last ten games, and as one of the strong contenders for the Stanley Cup. But the Jets boast similar form behind a 6-3-1 record in their last ten games and they've been a revelation since the All-Star Break. In more ways than one, the Jets are one of the dangerous floaters in the playoffs, prompting many NHL bettors to lean towards the upset in this series for their NHL picks. Ondrej Pavelec has been sublime since the All-Star Break, allowing 1.98 goals per game and stopping 93.2 percent of shots faced. Defensively as a whole there is a lot to like about this team that could pose a challenge for the Ducks.
That said, the Ducks did start the season as one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup in early NHL betting markets. They have a lot of depth and quality to recommend them to advance into the next round. The Jets won't make it easy.
NHL Picks - Money Line: Ducks -155
NHL Picks - Puck Line: Jets +1.5 (-230)