3 NHL Picks For Wednesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

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Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Graves, Cale Makar

  • Columbus Blue Jackets moneyline. Carolina Hurricanes moneyline. Colorado Avalanche to win in regulation.
  • Find out why those are our NHL betting analysts' favorite picks for Wednesday's Stanley Cup Playoff games.

The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continue with five games on Thursday. Four of them are elimination games.

The Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, Coyotes and Canadiens all have their backs up against the wall today and each of them are underdogs in their respective contests.

Will we see the field shrink considerably on Thursday? Check out our favorite bets from the NHL Bubble:

Sam Hitchcock: Columbus Blue Jackets (+155)

  • Odds available at FanDuel [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 12 p.m. ET

A common conceit in fiction is for characters to receive assistance from an unlikely source. Still, in real life it is hard to reconcile that the Tampa Bay Lightning’s salvation has come in the form of Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman.

The numbers from the Gourde line in the Bolts’ current series are astonishing. They have outshot the Columbus Blue Jackets by 26 shots at 5-on-5. They have three goals to their name while surrendering zilch. They have 14 high-danger chances while only conceding three. Their expected goals is just a smidge under 80%.

They have claimed title on the puck when they are on the ice. With the Anthony Cirelli line struggling to score, the Gourde triumvirate has completely stepped in to fill that scoring gap.

In Game 4, the top-six forwards for the Lightning were not much help. At 5-on-5, the Brayden Point and Cirelli lines combined for 12 shots against and could only generate three shots. Juxtaposed with the Blue Jackets’ first line of Alexandre Texier-Pierre-Luc Dubois-Oliver Bjorkstrand, the contrast is notable.

The Dubois line finished with the best expected goals percentage on Columbus, but their numbers could have been better. Less than two minutes into the game, a goal by Bjorkstrand was rescinded due to Texier being offside on the entry.

In Game 4, Tortorella started to utilize the Dubois line and the Seth Jones and Zach Werenski defensive pairing against the Gourde line. If Tortorella can spur the Dubois line while neutralizing the Gourde line, that is a problem for Tampa Bay.

Maybe the magic continues in earnest for the Bolts’ third line, but this series has been extremely close. At +155, I like the moneyline for Columbus in a low-scoring staring contest.

[Bet the Blue Jackets at FanDuel and get a $500 risk-free bet.]

Michael Leboff: Carolina Hurricanes (+140)

  • Odds available at FanDuel [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 4 p.m. ET

Playoff series are funny. After betting the Boston Bruins in three of the first four games of this series, I now find value on the Carolina Hurricanes after a sizable shift in the odds.

Boston Bruins Carolina Hurricanes
Game 1 -140 +120
Game 2 -129 +111
Game 3 -103 -113
Game 4 -120 +102
Game 5 -152 +132

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The betting history of this series needs some context. The Bruins came into Round 1 on the heels of a three-game losing streak in the round robin, while the Hurricanes swept the Rangers in the Qualifying Round, so the market was always going to be high on the Canes and a bit cautious on the Bruins out of the gates.

You’d think a win in the curtain-raiser would swing bettors toward the B’s, but Boston’s odds actually dipped before Game 2 because it was announced that David Pastrnak was out.

The Hurricanes saw more support before Game 3 because they won Game 2 and Tuukka Rask opted out of the postseason the morning of the third game. I thought it was an overreaction because Jaroslav Halak is a very minor downgrade from Rask (if any at all), and the Hurricanes lost Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2.

Svechnikov may not be as good as David Pastrnak, but he’s just as important to the Hurricanes as Pastrnak is to the Bruins. Boston’s price ticked back up after winning Game 4, but I still thought the B’s were good value.

Following their capitulation in Game 4 and a potential injury to Jordan Staal, the Hurricanes have blimped back up toward +130 for Game 5. This is about where I expected the odds for this series to be throughout the contest. The Bruins may have looked a bit weary-eyed in the round robin, but they are one of the best teams in the NHL.

Now that the price has corrected, I’m interested in betting Carolina for the first time in this series. The Hurricanes are hanging between +132 (DraftKings) and +140 (FanDuel) at the time of writing (Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET).

At +140, you’d need Carolina to win just about 42% of the time to start seeing value, and I think they meet that criteria. In fact, I’d bet them down to +135 on Wednesday afternoon.

[Bet the Hurricanes at FanDuel and get a $500 risk-free bet.]

Pete Truszkowski: Colorado to win in regulation (-129)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 5:30 p.m. ET

Arizona stole Game 3 thanks to a tremendous goaltending performance from Darcy Kuemper, stopping 49 of 51 shots. It was a frustrating loss for Colorado, outshooting the Coyotes 51 to 21. They took out their frustration in game four, defeating Arizona by a score of 7-1.

After the game, Arizona coach Rick Tocchet openly questioned whether his team was done with the “bubble quarantine lifestyle” and said that it looked like his team just wanted to go home. Those are harsh accusations for a coach to make about his team.

Colorado on the other hand has been the better team throughout this series, but the disparity has been muted by the performance of Kuemper in between the pipes for Arizona. Colorado finally solved that puzzle, beating him four times in two periods on Monday.

It’s not crazy to assume that the Coyotes might already be mentally checking out of the bubble knowing the odds of them beating the Avalanche three times in four games is very low.

I think the Avalanche put the Coyotes out of their misery. Game 4 had to have come close to breaking the will of the Coyotes. The normal moneyline is too juiced, so let’s hope the Avalanche can get it done in regulation time. I think they will.

[Bet the Colorado Avalanche at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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