Wednesday NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Previews: Hurricanes vs. Islanders, Stars vs. Blues

Wednesday NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Previews: Hurricanes vs. Islanders, Stars vs. Blues article feature image
Credit:

Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports.

  • There are a pair of NHL Playoff games on Wednesday: Islanders at Hurricanes (-130) and Blues at Stars (-119).
  • There's a lot of volatility and uncertainty in the Isles-Canes game, but Michael Leboff thinks the second game of the night is worth a look for bettors.

The first two games of the series between the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes should serve as a warning about betting hockey: In the end, randomness and luck trump all.

The Hurricanes unexpectedly took both games at Barclays Center, winning 1-0 in overtime in Game 1 and 2-1 in Game 2 despite being outplayed. The Hurricanes deserve a lot of credit for grinding out the two wins, as they were on very little rest after a seven-game series against the Capitals and lost three players — including starting goalie Petr Mrazek — to injury during Game 2. But in the end, the Canes were very lucky.

The Isles not only ran into hot goaltending last weekend, but they also had two goals disallowed, hit several posts and had two golden chances whistled dead for no reason. One Carolina player called Game 2 a “Horseshoe-up-the-ass game.”

There’s no hard-and-fast rule that bad bounces need to even out, and New York’s margin for error has evaporated, but if the Isles can continue their strong 5-on-5 play, this series could still end up being pretty tight.

According to The Action Network’s consensus odds, the Hurricanes are -130 favorites for Game 3, with the Islanders coming back at +118. Those odds imply the Canes have a 55.2% chance to win on Wednesday night.

There is a lot of volatility to unpack here, as the Canes lost Mrazek, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Saku Maenalanen, all of whom played in Games 1 and 2, in addition to Micheal Ferland. Rod Brind’Amour noted that Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Martinook are both game-time decisions.

The Isles will not have Cal Clutterbuck in the lineup and will slot Michael Dal Colle next to Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey on the second line. That swap could end up being a boost as the second line has been the Isles’ weakest this series and Dal Colle has proven to be a great play-driver in his short NHL career.

With all of this uncertainty, I’m happy to pass and just root for my beloved Islanders.

I am interested in betting the other game on Wednesday night.

Game 4 Betting Odds: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars

  • Blues odds: +108
  • Stars odds: -119
  • Over/Under: Under 5
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBCSN

After splitting the first two games of this series, St. Louis was rewarded for being the better team in Monday night’s Game 3 with a chaotic 4-3 win in Dallas. The contest probably shouldn’t have been that close — the Blues created 3.38 expected goals at 5-on-5 compared to 2.33 by the Stars — but when the dust settled, the right team was on top.

Game 3 was St. Louis’ best performance of the series and the first time the Blues ended up with more expected goals and high-danger scoring chances than Dallas.

Monday night aside, there has been a lot to like from the Stars in this series, and over their last 25 or so games. The Stars closed the regular season strong — posting a 54% expected goals percentage at 5-on-5 over their last 18 games — and came out of the gates flying in the postseason.

One of Dallas’ biggest strengths all season long has been its goaltending, but Ben Bishop has been surprisingly Jekyll-and-Hyde in this series. The 6-foot-7 netminder allowed some weak goals in Game 1, played well in Game 2, but then faltered in Game 3. It’s not surprising that the Stars — a team that relies heavily on good goaltending — lost the two games where Bishop stumbled.

A bounce-back game for Bishop should give the Stars a decent chance to even this series and as hard as goaltending is to project, I’m happy to back Bishop tonight.

The market for Game 3 closed with Dallas as a -117 favorite with St. Louis coming back at +106. The odds for Game 4 are pretty much in the same range. The consensus odds have the Stars at -119 with the Blues posted at +108. That implies Dallas has a 53.1% chance of winning, which I think is a little short.

The Pick: I’d be happy betting the Stars up to -120.