NHL Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games (August 17)

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Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs roll on with four games on Monday, beginning with a 3 p.m. ET showdown between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning and wrapping up with a 10:30 p.m. ET puck drop between the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.

Here are our favorite bets for Monday’s action:

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Pete Truszkowski: Colorado Avalanche -1.5 (+150)

  • Odds available at bet365 [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 5:30 p.m.

Arizona may have won, but Game 3 was an assault by the Avalanche against the Coyotes. Colorado outshot Arizona, 51 to 23. The shot attempts were 73-30. Arizona did a good job at limiting the quality of the chances against them, but the ice was certainly tilted in this contest.

The talent disparity between these teams is drastic: The Avalanche have arguably the best or second best first line in the league with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. They have the likely Calder Trophy winner on defense in Cale Makar. Their lineup is littered with solid depth players like Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky.

Arizona has some solid pieces but the depth throughout the lineup is something they can only dream of.

Colorado has had the better of play throughout the series, dominating at times, but it still feels like the Avs haven’t reached their top level and their loss on Saturday could serve as a wake-up call.

In addition, Darcy Kuemper cannot keep facing 40 shots every night. Eventually, he will lay an egg. Kuemper is a very good goalie, but he’s faced at least 40 shots in five of his last seven games. This is a recipe for a disaster.

Colorado averaged 3.37 goals per game in the regular season which was good for fourth in the league. In this series, they’ve only scored eight goals in three games, well below their average.

The sample size is obviously small, but they aren’t putting the puck in the net at their normal pace and it’s only a matter of time if they put up 40 shots a night.

I think Colorado wins this game, but I’m not laying -195 on the moneyline. I think the Avalanche offense finally breaks through in this game and should be able to beat Kuemper a few times.

I don’t think Arizona has the ability to keep up offensively, so I like betting the Avalanche to cover the puck-line at +150.

It’s not the safest bet, but you’re getting plus money on the elite team who’s due for a scoring outburst facing off against a team that’s leaking shots and attempts towards their net.

[Bet the Colorado Avalanche now at bet365. NJ only.]

Michael Leboff: Boston Bruins (-124)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 8 p.m. ET

I’m happily befuddled by the Bruins’ price for Game 4, but I’ve been a bit mystified at the market for this entire series, to be honest.

After closing as short underdogs (-103), the Bruins put on a defensive clinic in Game 3, limiting the Hurricanes to just 0.93 expected goals and two high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5.

That’s a great performance against any team, but the Hurricanes were one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the NHL over the regular season so that type of effort speaks volumes of Boston’s ability to smother an opponent when the B’s are on song.

Boston will likely be without David Pastrnak again on Monday but the Bruins’ defensive acumen lessens that blow considerably. The B’s allowed 1.88 goals and 1.98 xG per hour at 5-on-5 during the regular season, leading the league in both categories.

I really don’t think there’s much of a downgrade going from Tuukka Rask to Jaroslav Halak and even if you want to ding the B’s a bit for Rask’s departure you’d surely still give Boston a decent edge in goaltending in this series.

The Hurricanes were already going to have a tough time generating offense at 5-on-5 in this series and their job got a lot harder when Andrei Svechnikov got hurt. Carolina was already struggling to control play so subtracting one of its best play-driving forwards is a big deal.

The Hurricanes are still dangerous but Boston has the edge in basically every area of this matchup. I’d happily bet Boston up to -130.

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

Sam Hitchcock: New York Islanders Conference Winner (+350)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]

At what point are people going to start taking the New York Islanders seriously? Okay, I may have taken the Washington Capitals against them in Game 3 – but consider me a late convert!

Observe: The Islanders decimated the Florida Panthers. They have made Washington look ossified and shiftless. They had suspect metrics during the regular season, but in the playoffs their numbers reveal a different story. The Islanders’ 5-on-5 shots against per hour are only bested by the Vegas Golden Knights. They are garnering shots at a very healthy 32.24 shots per 60 minutes. Even their expected goals rate is top three among teams still alive.

It makes sense. At forward they can beat teams with their skill – Mathew Barzal zooming past John Carlson for the overtime winner – or by outmuscling their opponents in the low slot. See Lee, Anders. They have admirable depth on offense, defense and goal.

Right now, the Tampa Bay Lightning are +250 to come out of the East. The Flyers (!) are +300. Boston, without Tuukka Rask, is +325. At +350, the Islanders may not be getting respect yet, but bettors would be wise to take note.

[Bet the New York islanders at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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