Stanley Cup Finals Odds, Picks: The Series Bets We’re Making Now for Panthers vs. Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Finals Odds, Picks: The Series Bets We’re Making Now for Panthers vs. Golden Knights article feature image

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers

Check out our Stanley Cup Finals best bets as our hockey writers share their favorite series picks ahead of the start of the Florida Panthers vs. Vegas Golden Knights.

The Stanley Cup Final kicks off this Saturday, June 3, with Game 1 of the series (8 p.m. ET, TNT). And our NHL experts have already identified multiple series wagers with value.

Below, check out our hockey crew's top picks, including the series goal leader and an outright winner in six games, for the championship series.

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Jack Eichel – Leading Goal Scorer in Series (+700)

Nicholas Martin: The Golden Knights will face their toughest test yet in a matchup with Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. They have terrorized three quality netminders this postseason in Connor Hellebuyck, Jake Oettinger and Stuart Skinner, however, and it's possible that their offense simply continues to roll in the Final.

Florida has allowed 3.61 expected goals against per 60, which is the worst mark of any playoff team. That rate is not necessarily surprising, as the Panthers were the ninth-worst defensive team in the regular season and the worst of all playoff teams.

Therefore, it makes sense to target the Knights in this market since I believe they're more likely to win a short series and own a higher % of the overall goals than the Panthers.

Jack Eichel was brilliant versus Dallas and generated a ton of quality attempts on goal. In terms of actual goals, he was snake-bitten, but the case was clear that he was creating quality chances. He finished with the top goals-per-game in the regular season of any Knight, with 27 in 67 games played.

If he continues to generate chances like he did versus Dallas, a big offensive breakthrough might be on the horizon. That's why I'm backing him to be the Stanley Cup Final series leading scorer with +700 odds (at FanDuel).

If Eichel and the Knights do have a quiet series, it will likely be due to another spectacular performance from Bobrovsky. It's hard to see Vegas not creating a wealth of quality looks. Therefore, I have to agree with my colleague Ryan Dadoun (see below) that backing Bobrovsky to win the Conn Smythe is the smart way to back Florida at +200. He already has a clear lead on the field, and if the Panthers come out of this series victorious, it will likely be due to a number of dominant goaltending performances.

There could also be some versions of things in which Bobrovsky even claims the award on the losing end of things, in a similar fashion to Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere in 2003.

Pick: Jack Eichel – Leading Goal Scorer in Series (+700)

Jonathan Marchessault – Leading Goal Scorer in Series (+750)

Tony Sartori: For my best bet, I am taking a look at the player props market and going with Vegas' Jonathan Marchessault to lead all skaters in goals scored.

After a quiet opening series against the Winnipeg Jets, Marchessault has exploded over the past two rounds, potting nine goals over the past 10 games. Obviously, that puts him in front of any other skater from either team over that span in the goal-scoring department.

One of the more underrated pure goal scorers in the NHL, Marchessault has hovered around the 30-goal mark in each of the past seven seasons. With a relentless tenacity to shoot the puck and find high-danger scoring chances, he has recorded an average of 3.9 shots on goal per contest over the recent 10-game hot streak, and he leads the Knights in expected goals per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at five-on-five this postseason.

The Barbeshev-Eichel-Marchessault line has been – by far – the most dominating line for Vegas this postseason, with all due respect to the fourth line (Carrier-Roy-Kolesar) that has played extremely well in its own right. That aforementioned first line has generated an xGoals% of 60.5% this postseason, producing an excellent 3.45 xGF/60.

Eichel has served as the primary playmaker and facilitator on this line, logging 12 assists over 17 games. Meanwhile, Barbashev does a lot of the dirty work by getting in net-front and screening the goalie or cleaning up the garbage. That leaves Marchessault, who is the primary triggerman and will get more than his fair share of chances to bury the puck.

The biggest concern in backing this prop is Sergei Bobrovsky, but Florida is not going to have an easy time either going against a better Vegas blue line and a hot Adin Hill. Goals will likely be difficult to come by in either direction, but in my opinion, the most likely individual to break through in the goal-scoring department is Marchessault.

Pick: Jonathan Marchessault – Leading Goal Scorer in Series (+750)

Mark Stone – Leading Goal Scorer in Series (+1100)

Grant White: Most NHL teams don't make multiple Stanley Cup Finals appearances over a six-year period, let alone an expansion franchise. Yet, here we are rooting for the Vegas Golden Knights to become the youngest franchise to win a Stanley Cup in league history.

Balanced scoring has been their MO since Day 1, and Mark Stone has been a predominant part of their success. We expect him to shine on the biggest stage, leading the Stanley Cup Finals in scoring.

Analytically, Stone remains a pillar of the Golden Knights' success. Across all strengths, the three-time Selke Trophy runner-up ranks fourth among forwards in high-danger chances and third in scoring opportunities. Moreover, Stone has 50.0% relative ratings or better in both categories despite being a primary penalty killer.

Recognizing his offensive prowess, the Knights give Stone every chance to assert himself offensively. The former All-Rookie forward starts 64.4% of his shifts in the attacking zone, rewarding his teammates with the third-most points this postseason and an 18.2% shooting percentage.

Stone has been held pointless in four straight outings. That's contributing to a lower +1100 price (at BetMGM) as the Stanley Cup Finals leading scorer, but it makes him the perfect buy-low candidate on the futures market.

Sergei Bobrovsky – to Win Conn Smythe Trophy (+200)

Ryan Dadoun: The Panthers adding toughness with the acquisition of Matthew Tkachuk over the summer has been credited with making Florida a more playoff-ready team. While Tkachuk has certainly played a big role in the Panthers’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals, he hasn’t been the single biggest factor.

Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t anything special during the regular season, but the two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender has carried Florida during the playoffs with his 11-2 record, 2.21 GAA and .935 save percentage in 14 outings. He’s gotten only better as the postseason has progressed, holding Toronto to just 10 goals over five contests in the second round and Carolina to six tallies over the Panthers’ four-game Eastern Conference Final sweep.

The Maple Leafs also ranked ninth offensively during the regular season (3.39 goals per game), which is an improvement over the Golden Knights (3.26), so if Bobrovsky could contain Toronto, then Vegas has its work cut out for it.

The biggest X-factor is if the long layoff (the goaltender last played May 24) will serve to cool him off. Bobrovsky did have a six-game gap between the Toronto and Carolina series, though, and still proceeded to stop 63 of 65 shots in a quadruple-overtime victory, so the last time he had too much time off, it didn’t disrupt his rhythm.

All that leads me to see Bobrovsky as the best bet available for the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Cup finals in general.

Pick: Sergei Bobrovsky – to Win Conn Smythe Trophy (+200)

Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup 4-2 (+450)

Greg Liodice: The Florida Panthers have run through the Eastern Conference’s most deadly teams. They weren’t even supposed to be in the playoffs, just sneaking in on the regular season’s final game. It was the hardest road for a team in a stacked conference. They stunned the hockey world by beating the Boston Bruins, who had the best regular-season record in NHL history.

What made the Panthers struggle so much during the season was their goaltending. Statistically, they were a top-10 team, but goaltending was so average that they just snuck by. Now that Sergei Bobrovsky is playing like the goalie it envisioned, Florida has been unstoppable. The Panthers match the intensity of every team they play while led by Matthew Tkachuk, who is averaging 1.3 points per game, and the potential Conn Smythe winner.

The Vegas Golden Knights are formidable opponents, no doubt. But in a series like this, I don’t see them being better than any of the teams Florida beat to get to this position. Looking at the numbers throughout the playoffs, Vegas has a significant advantage in even-strength expected goals and xGA/60. However, the Panthers have a much stronger power play at 28%, whereas Vegas’ penalty kill has struggled all postseason at 63%. This series could bank on what happens on special teams.

I do expect this to be a fairly close series, but I don’t see it going the distance. I think Vegas takes Game 1 but then Florida goes on a tear to win it all in Game 6.

Pick: Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup 4-2 (+450)

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