After an exhilarating opening day, we look ahead to Friday's NHL betting card featuring game 2 of the respective series in the NHL Playoffs. Here's a game-by-game analysis, complete with NHL betting picks.
Recapping Wednesday's Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs:
It was a topsy-turvy day for NHL bettors as the NHL Playoffs got off the mark on Wednesday with several upsets, namely the Flames stunning the Canucks in a 2-1 win in the dying seconds of the game. Overall, three of the games went the way of road teams with only the Canadiens pulling off the home win. According to the NHL odds, those three road wins also meant the underdogs went 3-1 against the favorites. For our part we went 1-3 SU but a handy 3-1 ATS.
Game 2 is on the horizon so we get cracking again. Here goes...
Islanders +1.5 (-245), +125 vs. Capitals -1.5 (+205), -145
Analysis: The New York Islanders defied the NHL odds with a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals in the opening game of the series, coming through as the +125 underdogs to win outright and cashing as the 1.5-point road underdogs. The question is whether they can do it again and take a 2-0 lead in the series for their home portion of the series.
As it is, odds makers have matched a second straight road win at +125 NHL betting odds. Winning the first game is all good, but it means nothing in the broad spectrum of the series. Four wins is what it takes to advance into the next round and it's clear odds makers aren't ready to jump fence. While the Capitals dropped the first game badly, there is a series to be made of it yet and the hosts remain matched at -145 NHL odds. Look for the Capitals to bounce back and level the series 1-1.
NHL Picks Money Line: Capitals -145
NHL Picks Puck Line: Capitals -1.5 (+205)
Senators+1.5 (-260), +120 vs. Canadiens -1.5 (+215), -140
Analysis: Despite getting off to a bright start the Senators lost the opening game of their series with the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Disappointing though the result was, they showed plenty of grit and resolve in defeat. At the end of the day, the difference was merely a goal. That has to give them confidence going into game 2, if not a measure of optimism. If they can defy the NHL odds and win the second game of this series as the +120 underdogs, they'll be in a good position going into the next two games on home ice. One crumb of comfort: they made the Canadiens work hard for the win. That means they are very much in it and with a shot to shake things up, so take them with your NHL picks.
NHL Picks Money Line: Senators +120
NHL Picks Puck Line: Senators +1.5 (-260)
Blackhawks +1.5 (-315), -105 vs. Predators -1.5 (+255), -115
Analysis: The Chicago Blackhawks delivered on their perceived quality as one of Stanley Cup favorites, winning 4-3 in game 1 of their first round series with the Nashville Predators. It wasn't easy. They had to work hard for the win, but they pulled off the feat in the end. Going into game 2, the Blackhawks have the 1-0 edge, which only adds weight to their -105 NHL odds to win outright. They are in stealth mode right now, ready to pounce. The Predators aren't going to roll over and will be looking to level the series on Friday night, but there's just that little bit extra the Blackhawks bring to the ice that the Predators just don't have: championship pedigree. For that reason alone, the Blackhawks are the value NHL pick at -105 to win outright.
NHL Picks Money Line: Blackhawks -105
NHL Picks Puck Line: Blackhawks +1.5 (-315)
Flames +1.5 (-240), +130 vs. Canucks -1.5 (+200), -150
Analysis: The Vancouver Canucks got off to a positive start against the Flames, taking the early 1-0 lead. However, the persistent Flames levelled the score early in the third period, breaking the game wide open. Just when overtime looked to be on the cards, the Flames struck again with 30 seconds left on the clock to take the win. Disappointing as it was for the Canucks to lose the game, it's only the first game of the series. It takes four wins to advance into the next round and the Canucks are buckling down for the grind. They have a second opportunity to make this a competitive series and the odds makers are on board, tipping the Canucks as the -150 home favorites. Obviously, the Flames aren't going to be pushovers. But if Vancouver hopes to make it to the next round of the playoffs, they need to start winning at home in the postseason. If game 1 is an indication, this should be another close affair.
NHL Picks Money Line: Canucks -150
NHL Picks Puck Line: Flames +1.5 (-240)