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NHL Odds, Best Bets for Game 1: Top Picks for Wild vs. Stars, Kings vs. Oilers (Monday, April 17)

NHL Odds, Best Bets for Game 1: Top Picks for Wild vs. Stars, Kings vs. Oilers (Monday, April 17) article feature image

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Edmonton Oilers players Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid

  • Our NHL Game 1 best bets cover part of tonight's four-game slate as the hockey postseason kicks off.
  • Our experts are targeting picks for the Wild vs. Stars and Oilers vs. Kings games.
  • Check out their analysis, including a +370 bet for the nightcap, below.

Check out our NHL Game 1 best bets from our crew of hockey experts for Monday, April 17.

The 2022-23 NHL postseason officially kicks off with tonight’s four-game slate on ESPN and ESPN2.

Below, check out our hockey crew’s top picks, including a player prop and a money, for the playoff games.

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Wild vs. Stars Bet Moneyline

Stars (-143)
Puck Drop
9:30 p.m. ET

Tony Sartori: Game 1 is set to get underway in this Western Conference matchup, with the Dallas Stars hosting the Minnesota Wild. The second half of Minnesota’s season was plagued with injuries, and while many players are making the effort to return for this playoff push, John Klingberg and Joel Eriksson Ek are both questionable for Game 1.

While Klingberg missing the game does not really move the needle for me, Ek is a massive loss for this club as he does all the dirty work in front of the net and is probably the best defensive forward they have among their top six. Meanwhile, the Stars ended the season in dominant form as they enter the playoffs amid a six-game winning streak and went 16-6 over their last 22 games.

At this point in the year, both teams’ identities are relatively firmly established. Dallas is an average offense with an elite first line that is backed by a suffocating blue line and one of the best netminders in the league in Jake Oettinger.

Minnesota features a relatively similar build, though depth is a far greater concern. The Wild possess a below-average offense that is carried heavily by the presence of Kirill Kaprizov while the blue line is solid but typically looks better than it is due to the goaltending tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson.

With that said, Dallas possesses the better offense, defense and goaltender. Minnesota can keep this series close, but the Stars are a superior team built for a deeper run in these playoffs, and I like them to take care of business on home ice in Game 1.

We’ll back the Stars moneyline at -143 and take it down to -150.

Oilers vs. Kings Player Prop

Leon Draisaitl Over 1.5 points (+122)
Puck Drop
10 p.m. ET

Ryan Dadoun: I’m not saying that the Edmonton Oilers are destined to win their series opener against the Los Angeles Kings, but they should do well offensively, and I expect Leon Draisaitl to be a key part of that.

Why am I recommending Draisaitl over Connor McDavid? The simple answer is the potential payout: Oddsmakers are offering a significantly better reward for betting on Draisaitl than McDavid, which I believe is an indicator that Draisaitl is being overlooked a bit due to the overwhelming presence of his star teammate.

Draisaitl had an amazing season in his own right, scoring 52 goals and 128 points in 80 contests. On top of that, he’s been hotter than
McDavid recently, providing eight goals and 27 points in his last 13 appearances. McDavid had seven goals and 22 points over the same 13-game span.

Had you bet on Draisaitl to record at least 1.5 points in each of those contests, you would have been right 69% of the time. He was also amazing during the 2022 playoffs, contributing seven goals and 32 points in 16 outings.

So, believing that he can provide two or more points against the Kings on Monday isn’t unrealistic.

Pick: Leon Draisaitl Over 1.5 points (+122)

Oilers vs. Kings 3-way Bet 

Oilers vs. Kings 3-way Tie (+370)
Puck Drop
10 p.m. ET

Nicholas Martin: Edmonton is taking on a ton of steam as the outright favorite in the West. And for good reason. The Oilers enters the playoffs on a 19-2-1 tear since the addition of Mattias Ekholm while displaying a far more well-rounded team game than in years previous.

What is not being respected enough by many is that Los Angeles is still an elite team that often plays an extremely sharp defensive game in front of goal. The Kings are capable of hanging in with the high-powered Oilers.

Over the last 15 games, LA has played to a fourth-best 2.67 xGA/60 rating, which is consistent with its play dating back to last year when it gave the Oilers troubles in the first round of the playoffs.

If the Oilers can avoid letting Edmonton’s historically strong power play have too many opportunities to work, they have a great chance of keeping this game tight based on comparable even-strength play.

I do not think the Kings will go away easily in this game – or in this series – by any means. Their style of play makes me believe this game is more likely to hold close scorelines throughout the series than the odds are currently suggesting, and I think that taking a shot on the 3-way tie at +370 has value as a result.

Pick: Oilers vs. Kings Tie in Regulation (+370)

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