NHL Odds, Picks, Best Bets: 4 Stanley Cup Playoff Props (May 4)
Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Evander Kane.
- Wednesday's NHL slate features four games with plenty of props to bet.
- Nick Martin sees value on four player props for Wednesday, including picks for Auston Matthews, Taylor Hall and Evander Kane.
- Check out all four of his top bets and breakdown for Wednesday's Stanley Cup playoff games below.
With four exciting Stanley Cup playoff games on tap, let’s dive into my favorite props for Wednesday’s slate.
When we look at the NHL playoffs, player props can be a very profitable market. It’s a set environment inside a series, and coaches are often doing their best to hard-match lines in head-to-head matchups when possible.
Certain players will be either in a position to thrive, or we can see some of the games’ absolute best entirely shut down by the right game plan from the opposition. We see this year in and year out in the postseason, with almost all of the games’ biggest stars (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau) having been a complete non-factor in one series or another.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at players I don’t think will be stopped often — even in series against elite teams.
Auston Matthews Over 4.5 Shots On Goal (Play to -120)
A great strategy to begin the playoffs can be to ride the big names, as they will always play increased minutes in the right spots.
Matthews is simply on another level right now. It’s very hard to skate with him and even harder to battle with him on the walls.
The Leafs’ power play is in tremendous form right now and will make it hard for the Lightning to simply key in on the top dog with a plethora of looks.
Matthews will generate his chances, as we saw in Game 1 when he produced six shots on net from nine attempts. He’s averaging 6.09 shots on goal over his last 11 games while hitting our mark needed here in seven of those contests.
Tampa is going to play better tonight. We know that almost as a fact.
But a closer game is perfectly fine, as Matthews will play bigger minutes in that case. And that sample of 11 games included a lot of nights with lower time-on-ice than we need to see here given the game scripts.
And lastly, Michael Bunting’s return to his regular spot on the top trip helps us as well.
Taylor Hall Over 2.5 Shots on Goal (Play to -110)
Hall has been very strong in regard to shot production of late, hitting the three-plus needed here in six of his last seven games while averaging 4.14 shots per game.
A huge part of effectively playing shot props is avoiding potentially tough defensive matchups and slower tempo games, where a player may get fewer attempts than usual.
I would normally say the Hurricanes are one of those opponents.
However, Hall was absolutely flying in Game 1 and was probably the Bruins’ best skater. His mark of four SOGs didn’t count his near game-tying look off the post at 2-1, and I think we will see him follow up that strong performance Wednesday.
Hall remained on the second line with David Pastrnak and Erik Haula at practice Tuesday, and that bodes well for us here.
Evander Kane Over 3.5 Shots on Goal (Play to +105)
If there’s a player who’s on here simply because of his shooting mentality and the company he keeps, it’s Kane.
However, on top of that, Kane has been playing like a man possessed the last stretch — or like a man who really needs a big contract. Either way, he has put some tough situations behind him and is playing excellent hockey.
The Kings attempting to hard-match the Phillip Danault line on Connor McDavid and Kane’s unit isn’t ideal, but that mainly just seemed to suppress some of McDavid’s attempts in Game 1.
Kane has hit this mark in seven of his last eight contests while managing an average of 5.42 shots on goal.
William Nylander Anytime Goalscorer (+205 | Play to +195)
Nylander managed an amazing series against Montreal in 2021 and was excellent in Game 1 of this series.
He’s the best player in the bottom six from either side in this series and will simply be a handful head-to-head in many of the matchups he will draw.
However, Nylander also plays a huge role on the Leafs’ ridiculous top power-play unit.
I do think Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning will play better tonight, but I’m still playing this for a half-unit. It will be a strong play throughout the series at this number, so I’d rather stay on it tonight than worry about Vasilevskiy’s historical playoff dominance after a loss.