NHL Playoff Betting Guide: Picks for Best Props and Totals Bets for Thursday, May 5
Via Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Guentzel.
With four NHL Playoff games on Thursday night and no NBA games, our NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin has three props and one total bet for you to take advantage of. Read on for his analysis and picks below.
Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames, Under 5.5 (-110)
In Game 1, we saw the kind of playoff contest we should expect from Darryl Sutter’s Flames against Rick Bowness’ Stars in a 1-0 Stars win.
The Stars have far less offensive talent than the Flames and gave themselves a fighting chance with the locked down gameplay against a better opponent.
I have been surprised with the higher-scoring nature and lesser defensive play from this Stars group for much of the back-half of this season. What we saw in Game 1 is the way the Stars will look to hang around with this Flames team compared to that higher-scoring style.
This series has the chance to get some of the first over/unders set at five on the NHL board in a while, and I am happy to look for a similarly low-scoring contest as Game 1 here. Back Under 5.5 at -110 and play this at 5.5 down to -120.
Jake Guentzel (Penguins vs. Rangers), Over 3.5 Shots On Goal (+135)
Jake Guentzel is a perfect example of how being an elite playoff performer does not mean you need a hulking physical presence.
When the games get tighter in the postseason, Guentzel has found free pockets of space and has an amazing anticipation to set himself up for scoring opportunities, which is why he’s a perfect complement alongside Sidney Crosby.
The trio of Crosby, Bryan Rust, and Guentzel gave the Rangers nightmares in Game 1. They played to an 84.5 xGF%, with 44 shot attempts for, including 12 shot attempts for Guentzel, of which he managed eight on net.
That game went just over five periods of play, but Guentzel still hit our line needed inside of regulation. At +135, I’ll look for a similar effort from the Penguins’ top unit.
Vitek Vanecek (Capitals vs. Panthers), Over 30.5 Saves -115:
Save props can be a great way to try and find some value backing a side that is perhaps too heavily juiced looking at the regular lines.
The Panthers are -275 to win this game after playing a let-down contest in Game 1. -275 is a pretty frightening price on any NHL playoff contest where the other side has shown some playoff level fight, which the Capitals certainly did in Game 1.
Florida generated a league-leading shot attempts per/60 rate at home this season, and in a poor Game 1 effort, still got 32 Shots On Goal with Vanecek making 30 saves.
I love our chances that the Panthers will get 35+ shots tonight and play a sharper game. The main concern with this play would be Vanecek getting pulled from the contest, which is a real possibility.
Nonetheless, I believe this play is +EV long term at -115 and would back Over 30.5 Saves down to -125.
Anthony Mantha (Capitals vs Panthers), Over 2.5 Shots On Goal (+125)
Anthony Mantha had a massive Game 1 performance in which he generated five Shots On Goal with an assist and 10 hits.
Mantha has a very heavy shot and rightfully owns a shooter’s mentality. Playing just third-line minutes with power-play-two time isn’t ideal, but he has hit this number in 9/16 games, which is very profitable at +125.
He has managed an average of 4.66 attempts per game over the last 10, and lots of the lower-attempt nights came against teams that effectively suppressed shot attempts per/60 down the stretch.
Even in a spot where I expect the Panthers to control more of the play than we saw in Game 1, the Capitals should play near their standard shot-attempt rates with games in Sunrise continuing at a blistering pace with a high number of events.