NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Previews: Will the Blues Finish the Jets?
Jeff Curry, USA Today Sports.
- There are three Stanley Cup Playoff games on Saturday: Dallas (+132) at Nashville (-145), Winnipeg (+130) at St. Louis (-140) and Carolina (+125) at Washington (-135).
- Michael Leboff breaks down all three games and provides two bets that could offer value.
The Colorado Avalanche became the third series underdog to punch their ticket to the second round, winning 5-1 in Calgary, to oust the No. 1 seed Flames in five games.
Prior to the postseason you would have thought this result would be shocking, but given how poorly the Flames played and how well the Avs executed, it felt like a foregone conclusion by Game 3.
The Avalanche will now have a few days off and will await the winner of the Golden Knights-Sharks series, which resumes tomorrow.
Elsewhere, there was some controversy in Boston as the Bruins fell to the Leafs, 2-1.
The game was scoreless for two-and-a-half periods before Auston Matthews beat Tuukka Rask with 8:27 left in the third period. The goal probably shouldn’t have counted as it seemed pretty clear that Zach Hyman interfered with Rask, but the NHL deemed the play inconclusive and they stuck with the call on the ice.
The Bruins struggled to generate anything offensively and now need a win on Sunday afternoon in Toronto to keep their season alive.
There are three games on Saturday including an elimination game between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues.
Dallas Stars (+132) at Nashville Predators (-145)
3 p.m. ET on NBC
The Stars and Predators have split the first four games of this series with each team winning one game on home ice and on one on the road.
Dallas is one of the best teams in the league at limiting scoring chances and they seem to be growing into this series with each passing game. In Games 1 and 2 the Predators were able to generate 33 total shots from the slot, but managed just 10 when the series shifted to Dallas for Games 3 and 4, per The Point.
The Stars did get the benefit of having the second change on home ice, but that is a pretty big improvement and the 5-on-5 heatmap (courtesy of Natural Stat Trick) shows that the Predators are struggling to get into the high-danger areas consistently.
Nashville is the better team in this game and are at home, but I still think this game is closer than the odds suggest. At the listed odds, the Predators have an implied probability of 57.9% which is just a little too high considering that Dallas has a real knack for turning games into coin flips, and even if the Stars are out-played, Ben Bishop has been a rock in net this season.
In Games 1 and 2, the Stars closed at +140 and +145, respectively. I thought there was value on Dallas in both of those games and still think they are worth considering for this game.
I’d play Dallas down to +130, but I don’t think there’s any harm in waiting until closer to puck drop to see if you can get longer odds on the Stars.
Winnipeg Jets (+130) at St. Louis Blues (-140)
7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
In terms of watchability, this is probably the best game of the slate.
There’s very little between these two teams and either one of them could make a sound argument that it should be the one ahead in the series. But it’s the Blues holding the 3-2 lead heading into Game 6.
St. Louis will look to join Colorado, Columbus and the Islanders in Round 2 with a win at home, but home-ice advantage has mattered naught in this series, as the road team is 5-0.
In Games 3 and 4, the Blues were listed at -155, so there’s been an adjustment here as the Jets have found their game after trending down in the second half of the season. A lot of that has to do with the presence of Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey on defense as the Jets were without them for a while down the stretch.
I’m not playing this game at the current price, but if the odds on the Jets drift to +135 or higher I’d play them.
Carolina Hurricanes (+125) at Washington Capitals (-135)
8 p.m. ET on NBC
The Hurricanes and Capitals each won both games on home ice and now the series shifts back to D.C. for Game 5.
Injuries have played a big role in this fixture as the Capitals lost one of their best forwards, T.J. Oshie, to an upper-body injury late in Game 4. Oshie is a likely out for the series while the Hurricanes will be without top-six forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland as well as checking-line mainstay Jordan Martinook for at least Game 5.
Even though this series is tied, 2-2, the Hurricanes have been the better team by a wide margin at 5-on-5 in terms of shot share and expected goals (xG). Carolina has also benefited from terrific goaltending from Petr Mrazek.
- Shot Share: Carolina 61.1%
- Expected Goals Share: Carolina 60.7%
- High-Danger Scoring Chance Share: Carolina 61.2%
The Hurricanes were always going to be the better 5-on-5 team, it’s kind of their M.O. and Washington relies more on shot quality and talent than driving play, but those numbers are stark.
Even though they are on the road and banged up, I’m happy to take a shot on the team that should have more of the puck and generate more scoring chances at plus money. I’d play the Hurricanes at +120 or above.