NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: 4 Player Props for Shesterkin, Gaudreau, More (May 18)
Derek Leung/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Gaudreau.
NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down his four favorite plays for tonight’s pair of Game 1s.
7 p.m. ET: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 1
Igor Shesterkin Over 31.5 Saves (Play to -135)
For the sake of getting this piece out, I’m estimating the number oddsmakers will post this prop at. Should we see a markedly higher number than -120, which is what I’m anticipating, this unfortunately becomes a pass.
It’s possible we see New York manage another resilient game, finding a way to be clinical in front of goal and riding behind their elite netminder. To me, this holds more value than Carolina at -170 by a decent margin.
I expect Carolina to carry play against the Rangers, so this is a perfect spot to use a prop that will back the Canes to get shots on goal. Igor Shesterkin will always be given a notably long leash in games and will always make the vast majority of saves that he should.
Shesterkin’s struggles against the Penguins were highly overrated by many who looked only upon the goals against numbers and underrated how much shot quality matters. The Russian will save shots he should save.
New York allowed 40.03 shots on goal per 60 minutes against the Penguins, and Shesterkin cashed this line five times, averaging 36 saves.
The Hurricanes shooting averages dipped to 30.12 per 60 minutes in the first round, but that was against an elite shot-suppression team in the Bruins.
New York may find a way to get a foothold in this series with the power play or through more excellent Shesterkin performances, but what would be most surprising is if the Rangers controlled more of the play altogether.
Andrei Svechnikov Over 2.5 Shots on Goal (-140)
As you would expect with my belief that Carolina should get a lot of pucks on the net tonight, I see some value backing specific players’ shot totals.
Andrei Svechnikov is as close as the Hurricanes have to a pure goal scorer. We should see the Canes top trio of him, Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis generate more attempts against New York than Boston.
Svechnikov averaged 6.14 attempts on goal per game against the Bruins, with 2.71 hitting the target. I believe we will see a significantly higher average in this series, and I’ll start backing that in Game 1.
I’ll note that Jarvis is another guy who I see some value with, but his lines tend to be more difficult to find. Should you find over 2.5 at a long number, which does exist, I like a play there, as well.
9:30 p.m. ET: Oilers vs. Flames, Game 1
Andrew Mangiapane Over 0.5 Points (+125)
Mangiapane registered just two points in the entire series against the Stars, and both of those came in the same game, so this might look like somewhat of a suspect play. However, that was obviously a shockingly low-scoring series, which made every relevant scorer’s numbers look quite poor.
Mangiapane looked really dangerous at times in that series, including his two crucial points in the Flames’ 3-1 Game 5 win.
My belief is that Calgary’s team totals will rise significantly in this series against Mike Smith and the Oilers, and I think Mangiapane is going to be skating in some matchups that he and the Flames’ second unit should thrive in.
Johnny Gaudreau Over 3.5 Shots on Goal (+135)
Gaudreau was the Flames’ clear-cut best forward in the first round, doing an excellent job of creating opportunities for his teammates while putting a ton of pucks on goal himself.
He cashed this long number in 4-of-6 games in that series while averaging 3.57 shots per game. He’s not a shoot-first player by any means, but he’ll always have a ton of touches and surely shouldn’t be afraid to fire after scoring a Game 7 overtime winner.
Calgary’s top trio should still control play at a very strong rate against the Oilers, so I see value with this big number.
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