NHL best bets today (Panthers will put up fight vs. Bruins)

We’re two days into the NHL Playoffs and hopefully the first two nights are a sign of things to come, at least from a betting perspective.

I’m sitting at 7-1 (+6.33 units) after a 4-0 sweep on Tuesday night.

Let’s keep the momentum going tonight as Game 2’s are set to begin!

Best NHL bets for Wednesday, April 19th

  • Hurricanes -170 vs. Islanders
  • Panthers +1.5 (-126) vs. Bruins
  • Stars -150 vs. Wild
  • Kings +192 vs. Oilers

Hurricanes -170 vs. Islanders

It wasn’t just the final score that showed the Hurricanes were the better team in the opening game of the series. The 5-on-5 expected goals in the game were 3.01-1.81 in favor of Carolina.

That’s without even considering how dominant the Hurricanes powerplay was, scoring both of their goals in the powerplay despite only having a man advantage for a total of 4:52 during the game.

Meanwhile, the Islanders only managed four combined shots on goal in eight minutes on the powerplay.

If New York wants any chance in this series, their special teams have to take advantage because they’ll be outplayed during 5-on-5 play for the majority of every game.

The Hurricanes are my pick to win the Cup after they lead the NHL in almost every single advanced analytics throughout the season. I’m surprised they’re not bigger favorites at home against a wild card team in the Islanders.

I’ll back the ‘Canes on the moneyline once again.

Panthers +1.5 (-126) vs. Bruins

The score doesn’t indicate just how close Game 1 of this series was. In fact, the Panthers largely outplayed the Bruins when it was 5-on-5. Florida racked up 15 high-danger scoring chances while Boston had only 9.

If you look at the advanced analytic “expected goals”, the Panthers had 3.04 expected goals during 5-on-5 play vs the Bruins who had only 1.94.

Special teams was a big problem for Florida, managing zero shots on goals in four minutes of powerplay, while allowing the Bruins to score a goal in just three minutes of ice time with a man advantage.

Still, the point stands. The Panthers hung with the Bruins from a statistics standpoint from start to finish, but yet are massive underdogs in Game 2 tonight. If you think tonight’s game is going to be similar to Game 1, then the Panthers have a ton of betting value.

I’m not brave enough to take their moneyline, but the +1.5 puck line seems enticing. Florida can do enough to keep this game close.

Stars -150 vs. Wild

The Stars largely outplayed the Wild in Game 1 so I see no reason to not bet on them to even the series tonight.

If you look at the advanced analytic called “expected goals,” the Stars outgained the Wild in that stat, 4.63-3.48.

The Stars also had the second highest CORSI% amongst all Game 1s in the NHL playoffs at 57.58%. Of course, the difference maker in the game was stellar play between the pipes by Filip Gustavsson, who stopped 51 of 53 shots on net by the Stars.

That’s not enough to convince me to back the Wild tonight, as Jake Oettinger had almost as good of a night for the Stars, stopping 45 of 48 shots.

At the end of the day, there was nothing that happened in the first game that surprised me. Just because I believe the Stars are the better team, doesn’t mean the Wild aren’t good enough to sneak out a couple of wins in this series.

I’m sticking to the path and backing the Stars tonight once again.

Kings +192 vs. Oilers

I’m sticking to what I said ahead of Game 1 of this series. The Oilers are completely overvalued in this series and as a result, the Kings are being undervalued from a betting perspective.

Despite winning Game 1, the Kings are even bigger underdogs in Game 2. If the odds had shortened, I may swing the other way and bet on the Oilers, but they were +170 in Game 1 and now as high as +192 in Game 2.

To be fair, there’s a reason for this.

The Oilers dominated 5-on-5 play in Game 1, outperforming the Kings in expected goals by a final count of 3.46-1.87. They also outshot them in 5-on-5 play, 36-21.

But, is a one game sample size enough to move the odds this much? I don’t think so. The Kings were able to win a game they probably didn’t deserve to, but that confidence may lead to a better performance tonight.

The odds on Los Angeles are too good to pass up. I think we’re in for another close contest tonight.

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