Friday NHL Picks: How To Bet All Six Elimination Games
Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images. Pictured: Gustav Nyquist, Seth Jones
- Friday's NHL slate is jam-packed with six elimination games.
- Michael Leboff breaks down his betting picks for all six matchups.
There are six elimination games on the NHL schedule on Friday, starting with a 12 p.m. ET game between the Islanders and Panthers and concluding with a 10:45 p.m. kick between the Wild and Canucks.
It’s an unprecedented slate of games.
The point of this article is to give readers some quick-and-actionable tips on each game, in case you don’t have time to take a deep dive into my game previews. If you’d like to dig into each matchup in more detail, you know with numbers and stuff, you can find those previews here:
- Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders
- Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes
- Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers
- Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks
New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers
12 p.m. ET, NBCSN
If these games continue to be low-event grind-fests, the Islanders are likely to get the job done. Florida’s strength is its talented offense and, during the regular season, the Cats didn’t have a dependable Plan B to fall back on since goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky struggled.
Bobrovsky has been strong so far in this series and if he stays on song the Panthers have a chance no matter how well the Islanders play. New York is an offensively challenged team and a hot Bobrovsky is more than capable of stealing a couple of games and sending the Isles packing.
|Florida Panthers||New York Islanders|
Odds via DraftKings
After opening this game as a virtual pick ’em, DraftKings has taken some money on the Islanders and that action has moved the price on the Isles up to -127, which is where they closed before Game 1.
I don’t disagree that the Islanders were good value in the -110/-115 range, but the line has moved too much for me to get involved with New York in this game. At this point I’m closer to a play on Florida and would act on anything at +115 or better.
Pick: Florida Panthers +115 or better
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators
2:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network
Juuse Saros (or Rinne, if the Preds go in that direction) is certainly good enough to bounce back and lead the Predators to a victory in Game 4 and his job should be a little easier than Kuemper’s considering Nashville is the better team. A good performance from Saros can have the same kind of impact as a great performance from Kuemper.
In terms of Game 4, I like the Coyotes at the price. The listed odds put their implied probability a shade below 44% and I think that underrates Arizona a little bit. I wouldn’t go below +115 on Arizona and even there I’m not enamored with the price.
If you are looking to bet on Nashville, I’d consider looking at the series price (+215) rather than laying the -139 on Game 4. Considering the price on Nashville at the moment and where the Preds have closed in this series (-136, 141, -148) you’d probably get more value on the +215 than you would on creating an open parlay with Nashville in its next two games.
Pick: Arizona Coyotes +120 or better
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
The betting history for this series has been pretty stable. The Habs have closed in the +140/145 range at most sportsbooks each game with the Pens coming back as a -165/-170 favorite.
I wouldn’t expect anything different for Game 4, though I would expect Pittsburgh to take most of the action since bettors will have a tough time believing that the Penguins could be ousted not with a bang, but a whimper.
|Montreal Canadiens||Pittsburgh Penguins|
Odds via DraftKings
I’ve got no issues going back to the well with Montreal again at this price. The Habs are good enough at 5-on-5 to keep this game close and if Price stays on song, there’s no reason to believe this series can’t end on Friday afternoon.
I’d try your best to get the best number possible on the Habs and that may mean waiting until closer to puck drop but anything in the +140 range is a solid bet in my opinion.
Pick: Montreal Canadiens +140 or better
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
6:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Despite being outscored, 9-7, Edmonton has generally been the better 5-on-5 team through the first three games. The Oilers arguably deserve to be ahead in this series, especially after their performance in Game 3 on Wednesday night.
According to MoneyPuck’s expected goals model, Edmonton won the xG battle 5.58 to 2.3 overall and 2.15 to 1.09 in 5-on-5. That’s a game Edmonton should win, especially since the Oilers were up 2-1 with six minutes to go. But, their suspect defense is not trustworthy.
The Blackhawks hung above +125 for a while before Game 1 but eventually closed between +112 and +125 for the series opener. Since then, it’s become clear how the betting market views this matchup.
|Chicago Blackhawks||Edmonton Oilers|
Odds via DraftKings.
The current odds look about right around the market, as no sportsbook lists Chicago above +115. At the current prices I’d lean towards Chicago, but I’m going to wait to see if a +120 pops on the Hawks. I doubt that it’ll happen, but if a ton of Chicago money shows up in the market and pushes Edmonton to -120, I’d back the Oilers.
And if you’re looking for a fun prop, I still like Kirby Dach’s value at 24-1 (DraftKings) to be the first goal-scorer. Dach came tantalizingly close to cashing this prop in Game 3 and I’ll keep backing him so long as he’s slated to center Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.
If you want an Oilers player to balance the sheet, I’d think about Kailer Yamamoto at 16-1 if plays with Leon Draisaitl.
Pick: Chicago Blackhawks +120 or better
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
8 p.m. ET, NHL Network
Over the long-term Toronto’s talent and ability to drive play would win out, but we’re not talking about the long-term right now. We’re just trying to find betting value in a single game.
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Toronto Maple Leafs|
Odds via DraftKings
After closing north of +140 in the first two games, the price on the Jackets came down to +130 for Game 3. Part of that movement has to do with the absence of Jake Muzzin, Toronto’s most trustworthy defenseman. Muzzin is out for the series.
I’m not surprised that oddsmakers opened Columbus at an even shorter price for Game 4 but I don’t expect the Jackets to close there. We’ve been seeing some betting support for the Jackets in the +135 range, but I doubt we’d see a ton of money come in on the dogs at the current price.
So I’m going to be patient and wait to see where Columbus ends up around the market. I’d like something over +130 on the Jackets to jump back in and I’m hopeful we’ll get there.
Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets +130 or better
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
10:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN
The Canucks are the more talented team and have the better goaltender, so it’s imperative that the Wild separate themselves at 5-on-5. Vancouver’s got plenty of high-quality finishers and a great goaltender — Jacob Markstrom has been sensational — so the Canucks will naturally make good on a better percentage of their scoring chances than the Wild will.
Vancouver can survive getting bullied at 5-on-5. Minnesota likely won’t unless they start doing some bullying.
|Minnesota Wild||Vancouver Canucks|
Odds via DraftKings
The Canucks opened as favorites to win this series but by the time the puck dropped it was virtually a pick ’em. That kind of market movement has been a trend for each game as the line has moved towards the Wild before each contest. I wouldn’t be surprised if that trend reverses for Game 4 with the Canucks coming off a two-game winning streak.
The line will almost certainly move towards Vancouver if the Wild are without Ryan Suter, who left Game 3 with just about seven minutes to go.
Even with Markstrom playing well and the Canucks hanging with Minnesota at 5-on-5, I am closer to a bet on the Wild (again) for Game 4, assuming Suter plays. Perhaps I am too high on Minnesota and have been all season, but I can’t quit a team that posts the kind of defensive metrics that Minnesota does.The other bet I am considering is a play on Minnesota to win the series at +250 (bet365).
If Suter is unable to play, I’d look for a +105 or better on the Wild.
Pick: Minnesota Wild to win the Series +250