Panthers vs Golden Knights Game 1 Odds: Stanley Cup Final Pick, Prediction

Panthers vs Golden Knights Game 1 Odds: Stanley Cup Final Pick, Prediction article feature image

Pictured: Shea Theodore #27 and Adin Hill #33 of the Vegas Golden Knights.

  • The Vegas Golden Knights host the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
  • Vegas is favored, but our NHL expert is targeting the total instead of a side.
  • Ryan Dadoun offers up his best bet for Panthers vs. Golden Knights Game 1 below.

Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Panthers vs. Golden Knights Odds

Panthers Odds+112
Golden Knights Odds-134
Over/Under5.5 (-118 / -104)
Time8 p.m. ET
Stanley Cup Final Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights are each in the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history. Both are also looking for their first championship.

While the narrative is the same, not much else unites these squads going into Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. Check out the tale of the tape for Panthers vs. Golden Knights below and see how I'm betting the Stanley Cup Final Game 1.

Florida Panthers

The Panthers won the Presidents' Trophy in 2021-22 but were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. After that, Florida made the bold move to trade its leading scorer, Jonathan Huberdeau, as part of a package to get Matthew Tkachuk. They also replaced rookie head coach Andrew Brunette with one of the most experienced bench bosses in the league, Paul Maurice.

With the luxury of hindsight, those moves look like visionary strokes designed to transition this squad into one made for playoff hockey, but had things gone even slightly differently, no one would be talking about the success of the Panthers. They just barely made the postseason and were down 3-1 in their first-round series against Boston. If things had gone even slightly differently …

Still, the fact remains that Tkachuk has lived up to, and exceeded, expectations. He was amazing in the regular season, supplying 40 goals and 109 points in 79 contests, and he's come through in the playoffs with nine goals and 21 points in 16 outings. There's no question that he represents one of Florida's biggest hopes in the Stanley Cup Final.

However, if there's one element that seems to bind most lower-seed teams that enjoy deep playoff runs, it's a goaltender who gets hot at just the right time. Florida checks that box with Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 8-1 with a 1.51 GAA and a .954 save percentage over the last two series. Vegas might be able to overcome Tkachuk playing at his best, but if Bobrovsky keeps this up, then that alone might define the Stanley Cup Final.

To make matters worse, the teams Bobrovsky just powered through — the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes — weren't lacking in offensive weapons. Still, Vegas has players who are well positioned to challenge the goaltender.

Vegas Golden Knights

One of the biggest threats to Sergei Bobrovsky is the one Florida let slip away. Jonathan Marchessault had 30 goals and 51 points in 75 contests with the Panthers in 2015-16, but they didn't protect him in the expansion draft and Vegas scooped him up. He's become an important part of the Golden Knights' offensive core, and the 32-year-old is entering the finals with nine goals and 15 points over his past 10 outings.

What a story it would be if Marchessault is the one who solves Bobrovsky. However, he's far from the only candidate. Jack Eichel has been making the most of his first playoff run, providing Vegas with six goals and 18 points in 17 appearances. Meanwhile, Ivan Barbashev has been a pleasant surprise, going from 45 points in 82 regular-season games to six goals and 15 points in 17 playoff outings. Rounding out the Golden Knights' forward core is William Karlsson (10 playoff goals), Mark Stone (15 postseason points) and Chandler Stephenson (14 playoff points).

Vegas isn't short of scoring threats on a roll, but if this turns out to be a goaltending duel, Adin Hill might be up to the task. On the surface, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner in Bobrovsky facing Hill, a journeyman who has never played in more than 27 regular-season contests in a single campaign, seems like a gross mismatch.

However, Hill has been playing some of his best hockey with a 5-2 record, a 1.99 GAA and a .941 save percentage in his past seven contests.

Panthers vs. Golden Knights Pick

Vegas is being treated as a mild favorite on the moneyline, and given where Florida was entering the playoffs, the relatively minor gap being offered by oddsmakers shows the Panthers have earned some respect during their run.

Rather than pick a winner for Game 1, I'm most interested in taking the under of 5.5 goals. Between the nerves of two teams entering the Stanley Cup Final and the fact that these squads don't have a lot of history, I expect there to be a feeling out process in this game, during which players will act conservatively. Combine that with the hot netminders, and this should be a low-scoring affair.

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