NHL Odds, Best Bets for Game 1: Top Picks for Rangers vs Devils, Kraken vs Avalanche, More
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning
- Our hockey experts have a slate of NHL best bets for the second night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- Tonight's NHL picks includes two player props, as well as some team-specific bets.
- Check out all of the Game 1 bets, including a pick for the total in the nightcap, below.
Check out our NHL Game 1 best bets from our crew of hockey experts for Tuesday night as the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue.
The 2022-23 NHL postseason kicked off on Monday night with four games, and we get another four tonight on TBS, ESPN and ESPN2.
What are the best bets for Rangers vs. Devils (7 p.m. ET), Lightning vs. Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET) and Kraken vs. Avalanche (10 p.m. ET)?
Below, check out our hockey crew’s top picks, including some player props and a three-way bet, for tonight’s playoff games.
Rangers vs. Devils Player Prop
Nicholas Martin: Igor Shesterkin’s line for his saves prop just opened at the time of this writing, and we have value to back an angle that I am really high on.
It’s possible that a very strong Rangers team wins this series because of their elite goaltending and opportunistic scoring ability. What I believe is far less likely is the Rangers holding the Devils to modest shooting totals on a nightly basis, which is why this is my favorite way to back Jersey tonight.
The Devils are excellent at generating offense both in transition and with sustained offensive zone time. They have generated 35.25 shots per game in four previous matchups against the Rangers this season.
I believe New Jersey will generate shots on goal at a similar clip this series, and if that is the case, betting Shesterkin over 30.5 saves should have a lot of value.
Pick: Igor Shesterkin over 30.5 saves (-122)
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs 3-way Bet
Ryan Dadoun: Tampa Bay narrowly won its first-round series against Toronto last year, but the scales seem to have tipped in the Maple Leafs’ favor.
Since that series, the Lightning have lost a valuable top-four defenseman in Ryan McDonagh and Ondrej Palat, who was a standout performer in the 2022 playoffs with 11 goals and 21 points in 23 contests.
The Lightning looked far more human during the regular season too, posting a 46-30-6 record compared to their 51-23-8 dominance in 2021-22. Of course, Tampa Bay is still a tough team, but in addition to the Lightning taking a step back, Toronto is looking pretty strong.
Offensively, things aren’t too different for the Leafs. They’re still led by their big four forward group of Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Auston Matthews and John Tavares. But Toronto did add another wrinkle with its acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly from St. Louis. That not only provides the Leafs with a solid two-way center, but he’s also a veteran presence who importantly won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019.
Toronto also has a strong defense and a good starting goaltender in Ilya Samsonov. The Maple Leafs might be known for that offensive core, but Toronto limited the competition to 2.68 goals per game during the regular season, compared to the Lightning’s 3.07. That’s in contrast to last year when Tampa Bay was the better defensive team.
Combine that with Game 1 being in Toronto, and I think the Leafs will take an early series lead. I’ll back Toronto to win in regulation/on the three-way line.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Player Prop
Greg Liodice: Brayden Point has solidified himself as a premier playoff performer. In the 76 games he’s played in the Spring Classic, Point is averaging more than a point per game, including 38 goals (.5 goals per game).
He’s been a big reason why the Tampa Bay Lightning have had success the past three years, and had he not been injured, maybe they would’ve secured a three-peat.
In the last three weeks of the season, Point has been one of the more potent players on the Bolts. Along with his career-high 51 goals, he was fifth with a 54.59 SCF% (Scoring Chances For) and first in high-danger chances created.
The Lightning come into tonight against a very motivated Toronto Maple Leafs team – looking to get out of the first round for the first time since 2004. Toronto has done a great job this season at shutting down opposition and addressing its most pressing need: goaltending. The Leafs also have shut down Point for the most part. Point hasn’t registered a goal in his last seven games against Toronto.
One would think he’s due.
FanDuel has Point as an anytime goal scorer at +175 – which is more than fair given his past playoff success. Tampa may be an underdog in this series, but you can never be so sure against the Bolts doing some damage.
Pick: Brayden Point anytime goal scorer (+175)
Kraken vs. Avalanche Total
Tony Sartori: The Seattle Kraken host the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of this NHL Western Conference series on Tuesday night. There have now been five or fewer total goals scored in each of the last four meetings between these two clubs, a trend that is likely to continue in this contest.
Boasting perhaps the deepest blue line in hockey, Colorado finished the regular season ranking third in the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5. While superstar and reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar certainly needs no introduction, guys like Devon Toews and Samuel Girard continue to fly under the radar in terms of their impact, with each guy boasting an on-ice expected goals percentage north of 52%.
Colorado fans may get mad at me for throwing Girard into that sentence, particularly because he is prone to making brutal decisions that make fans furious. However, zooming out, he is still a huge presence for this team and logs big minutes.
While the defense continues to dominate, the Avs’ offense is due for regression. Since the Christmas break at 5-on-5, Colorado ranks third in the league in goals for per 60 minutes (GF/60) but 16th in xGF/60.
This regression could come to fruition against the Kraken and its severely underrated defense. Over that same stretch, Seattle ranks second in the league in xGA/60 at 5-on-5.
Boasting a deep blue line with a bunch of guys who play their roles excellently, every single defenseman finished the regular season with an on-ice expected goals percentage of 50% or higher. Goaltending is certainly a concern for the Kraken, but that is why we can grab this total at 6.5.
Pick: Kraken vs. Avalanche under 6.5 (-130)
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