Hockey betting is on the cusp of the always heady NHL playoffs. The matchups set for the 16-team series knockouts, we preview recent NHL betting trends and assess the various NHL betting line moves going into the first round.
NHL Odds To Win The Stanley Cup
Last week, before the line up and seeding for the NHL playoffs was determined, we previewed the NHL futures odds trading across various sportsbook platforms. At the time, the New York Rangers emerged as the top favourites to win the Stanley Cup while the Ottawa Senators were the quintessential long shots trading at +4000 NHL odds.
Now that the playoffs bracket is set, several notable movements on the NHL odds board have occurred. Interestingly, the Rangers remain the top favourites despite drawing Pittsburgh Penguins, a side that boasts two of the league's best players in Sydney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin and that could pose a tougher obstacle than the odds makers would suggest. As well, the Detroit Red Wings usurp Ottawa Senators at the bottom of the pile, which is curious given that the fact that both have drawn tough opponents and, as such, won't have it easy advancing into the next round. Other significant movements are noted in Table 1, A and B.
Table 1: NHL Odds To Win The Stanley Cup
* Odds Courtesy of Bet365.com
What makes betting on the NHL playoffs particularly exhilarating is the potential for any team in the 16-team field to win the Stanley Cup. Chicago Blackhawks were the only team to finish top of the league and win the Stanley Cup in the last six years. Case-and-point: last year's champions were the LA Kings, seeded sixth in the highly competitive tournament. So the meaning is obvious: betting on the NHL playoffs is a wide open exercise.
Eastern Conference Series and NHL Betting Trends
#1. Montreal Canadiens vs. #4. Ottawa Senators
Top seed Montreal Canadiens take on the fourth seed Ottawa Senators, but the latter holds the 3-1-0 series lead after the regular season. Ottawa are 8-4-0 SU in their last 12 games with Montreal and the total has gone OVER in six of the last 8 meetings between these two sides. What's more, the total has gone OVER in four of Montreal's last five home games against Ottawa.
#2. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. #3. Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning took the 3-1-0 lead in the regular season series over Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning have won seven of the last ten meetings with the Wings and four straight at home. Conversely, the Wings have lost the last four meetings in Tampa Bay. The total has gone OVER in four of the last ten meetings between these two sides.
#1. New York Rangers vs. #4. Pittsburgh Penguins
Stanley Cup betting favourites New York Rangers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0-1 in the regular season series. The Rangers won the last two meetings over the Penguins, six of the last seven meetings. The Rangers won four of the last five games in Pittsburgh and three of the last five home games at Madison Square Garden. The total has gone OVER in four of the last ten games (both home and away), including the last two games with each reaching a combined score of 7 goals respectively.
#2. Washington Capitals vs. #3. New York Islanders
The regular season series went 2-0-2 between the Capitals and Islanders. The total has gone UNDER in ten of the NY Islanders last 15 games on the road. As well, it's gone UNDER in eight of the last ten games between this pair in the nation's capital. Capitals are 17-8 SU in their last 25 games when playing the Islanders and they are 5-3 SU in their last seven games overall.
Western Conference NHL Betting Trends
#1. St. Louis Blues vs. #4. Minnesota Wild
St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild settled on a 2-2-0 mark in their regular season series. The Blues snapped a two game losing streak against the Wild with a 4-2 win at home last week. Overall, the Blues have the 7-3 edge in the last ten meetings with the Wild and they won three of their last four home meetings with the Wild. By contrast, the Wild have won just two of their last six home meetings with the Blues.
#2. Nashville Predators vs. #3. Chicago Blackhawks
Blackhawks edged the Predators 3-1-0 in the regular season series. The Blackhawks are 10-5 SU against the Predators in their last 15 meetings. The total has gone UNDER in four of Chicago's last six games while the total has gone OVER in five of Nashville's last seven games. Most concerning, the Predators are just 2-9 SU in their last eleven home games.
#1 Anaheim Ducks vs. #4 Winnipeg Jets
Anaheim Ducks swept the regular season series 3-0-0. The Ducks have won five of the last seven meetings with the Jets. The last time the Jets beat the Ducks was a 3-2 win in Anaheim in 2014. The total has gone OVER in four of the last seven meetings.
#2. Vancouver Canucks vs. #3. Calgary Flames
The regular season between these divisional rivals is tied 2-2-0. The Canucks hold the 8-1 edge over the Flames at home and they are 11-5 SU in their last 16 games at home. Calgary, meanwhile, are 5-2 SU in their last seven games. The total has gone OVER in seven of Calgary's last ten road games, but UNDER in four of their last five games overall.