The 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs start this weekend following a shortened season and division realignment. The two Stanley Cup favorites are the Colorado Avalanche (+450) and Vegas Golden Knights (+550). Colorado’s late season surge and victory over Vegas this past week propelled them to the President’s Trophy as the team with the most points and best record during the regular season. Vegas actually had 40 wins to Colorado’s 39, but the Avs edged the Knights by percentage points with both teams finishing with a league-high 82 points.
The playoff bracket is set, and the Avalanche and Golden Knights are the top-2 seeds in the West division. But the new playoff format only allows one of those teams to make it through to the Stanley Cup semifinals for a chance to reach the finals and hoist the Stanley Cup.
The playoff series prices were just posted, and FanDuel Sportsbook has the series odds and Game 1 lines with action beginning Saturday night between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. The Bruins opened a -134 road favorite and are now -126 in Game 1. The Capitals are +108 to win Game 1, and more money has come in on Washington game day with nearly 70% of the money supporting the Capitals to win.
A sharp sports bettor and colleague of mine, Brian Steinberg (Sherwood) of Sportswagers, makes a case to bet the Bruins to win in six games or less. Analysis, metrics and betting breakdown is provided with the series handicap, -1.5 (+124), or bet $100 to win $124 on Boston.
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Three other intra-division series start on Sunday including the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild. Then Monday, the Colorado Avalanche begin their pursuit of the Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference, while the Eastern Conference top seed Carolina Hurricanes hit the ice vs the Nashville Predators in Game 1 Sunday.
The Edmonton and Winnipeg series does not start until May 19, while the much anticipated series between Toronto and Montreal is the last series to start on Thursday, May 20.
Playoff Series Odds
- Washington Capitals (+126) vs Boston Bruins (-154)
- New York Islanders (+118) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (-146)
- Florida Panthers (+130) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (-162)
- Nashville Predators (+225) vs Carolina Hurricanes (-280)
- Minnesota Wild (+182) vs Vegas Golden Knights (-230)
- St. Louis Blues (+290) vs Colorado Avalanche (-380)
- Winnipeg Jets (+150) vs Edmonton Oilers (-184)
- Montreal Canadiens (+240) vs Toronto Maple Leafes (-310)
Three years of legal sports betting in the U.S., and this season’s NHL playoffs could produce the biggest hockey handle yet as fans return to the stands to support their favorite teams.
When betting on the NHL playoffs, recognize the importance of strong goaltending and defensive ability and strength even more as the playoffs progress. The top teams may be expected to win, but hockey can be the most luck-driven sport with a team capable of dominating play but coming up short on the scoreboad. Puck luck and goaltending determing many results, and the betting odds are often inflated towards the stronger teams. That can setup some solid value plays on underdogs, and especially in game-by-game betting.
Game 1 on Sunday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals shows nearly 75% of the puck line (-1.5) money on the Penguins with nearly 80% of the moneyline handle supporting Pittsburgh (-126), according to FanDuel’s oddsfire platform and betting data.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a -166 favorite in Game 1 over the Minnesota Wild, and bettors are counting the money in Vegas with nearly 90% of the moneyline handle supporting the Golden Knights.
The Tampa Bay Lightning is the final game on Sunday, and the Lightning are a -120 road favorite in Game 1 against the Florida Panthers. The home underdog Panthers have taken more than 65% of the money to win on the moneyline in early betting action.
For more insightful NHL analysis, playoff picks and information you can bet on, check Sherwood’s NHL playoff updates and sports betting insight. You’ll gain a better understanding of the teams, players, match-ups and meaningful stats, while also learning and gaining a better understanding about value when wagering.
You can bet on it.