I closed out the NHL regular season on Friday night’s two game slate with a sweep, going 4-0 to win 4.5 units. Huge month to end the regular season! Tonight we have the first four playoff games of the year, let’s fucking go!!
Game 1: Hurricanes vs. Islanders (7:00)
I’m expecting a fantastic defensive battle for this first round series between the Metro Division leading Carolina Hurricanes and the first Wild Card in the East New York Islanders. Earlier today I broke down this series in depth. From earlier this season, I have a future on the Hurricanes to win the Stanley Cup (along with the other two top teams in the Metro), essentially as a hedge for the Bruins for the Eastern Conference Finals. I don’t really see the Canes actually winning the Cup but I like the hedge equity on them, and I definitely don’t see the Islanders winning it either. I’ll let that future ride on this series. That being said, I expect this to be a pretty solid, competitive series. I’d still expect Carolina to win this series in six or seven games with a pretty big offensive edge but these teams should match up pretty evenly and grind out low-scoring games. I don’t see any value in the Canes to win the series at -200, and actually see some value in the Isles to advance at +170 or even their series +1.5 line at -139, but still don’t think it’s worth betting either side of this series. The play I like on this series is for it to go at least six games, which I’ll take for 1.5 units. What I’ll really be targeting in this series is unders with two top-five defenses going at it. I’ll start that off with a unit on the under tonight in Game 1. I also expect the Hurricanes to win Game 1 at home, which I’ll take for a unit.
Game 1: Bruins vs. Panthers (7:30)
Although I don’t expect this to be the greatest series in the East between the President’s Trophy winning Bruins, who set records as the best regular season team in NHL history this year and the second Wild Card team, the Florida Panthers, I do expect some really fun hockey in this matchup. I wrote a blog previewing this whole series that I published this morning. Deservingly so, the Bruins are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year, going into the playoffs at +280. I don’t see any value in betting that at this point, even though I do think they win the Cup, but at that price you’re better off betting them just game by game. I have some incredible value on futures on this team from earlier in the year, with a unit on them at +1000 and another 1.5 units on them at +1100. I love that value and I’m so glad I locked them in so earlier, although as a Sabres fan I hate ‘em. I won’t be hedging that at all and I’m going to ride out the B’s to lift Lord Stanley. This team has experience in the playoffs with three appearances in the Cup Finals since 2011. The only two concerns anyone could have with this roster and they way they’ve run through the regular season is the history of historic record-breaking teams with the Red Wings in the 90s losing in the first round and Tampa getting swept in the first round by the Blue Jackets in 2019 after tying Detroit’s record (before going on to win the Cup back to back in 2020 and 2021, and going to three straight Cup Finals) and the lack of experience in the playoffs for Ullmark and Swayman. Obviously, expecting Boston to win the Cup, of course they should win this series and have the far better defense than the Panthers do. The books made this series so expensive to bet through that it’s tough to take the Bruins here. The -375 line is way too expensive for me and even the Bruins to win it in six or less games is a bit pricey at -177, but I will take that for a unit. With how dominant the Bruins have been, especially at home, I expect them to win Game 1 for the first of the 16 games I expect them to win in these playoffs on their way to lifting the Stanley Cup and will take them in regulation for a unit. I expect the games in this series to trend over just like the over hit in all four regular season games between these teams with two top-tier offenses facing off and I’ll take the over for a unit in Game 1.
Game 1: Stars vs. Wild (9:30)
I’m expecting a very exciting and competitive series in the Central Division for this first-round matchup between the #2 seed Dallas Stars and the #3 seed Minnesota Wild, who are quite evenly matched in this series. Like I said in my blog previewing and breaking down the series in depth, I think this ends up being a coin flip of a series, but I’d give a slight edge to the Stars to win it. I already have two small futures on the Wild, half a unit on them to win the Cup and a unit on them to win the Western Conference, with plenty of value to both. Although I don’t think either of these teams actually wins the Cup, I like that value on Minnesota. Not enough to completely let it ride though, so I will hedge on it with 1.5 units on the Stars to win the series. The play I love on this series though is for it to go at least six games and I will take the series to go over 5.5 games for 2.5 units along with half a unit on it to go to seven games. I would slightly lean the Stars win Game 1 at home but not enough to bet it. The over/under is interesting to me in this series and I’d lean the games in this series trend under, but with both teams trending over late in the series and the under 5.5 juiced up to -120, I’ll stay off it in Game 1 and re-evaluate. I’m staying off Game 1 entirely.
Game 1: Oilers vs. Kings (10:00)
I broke this series down in depth yesterday. As I said in that blog previewing the series, I think the Oilers are the superior team in this series and I actually see them being the team to win the Western Conference after they came up short on that last season. I will add a 2 unit future on them to raise Lord Stanley. Of course with that, I expect them to beat the Kings in likely six games in the first round. I think the series price at -225 is a bit steep but will take the Oilers to win the series in six games or less for 1.5 units. I’d also lean the series to go over 5.5 games, but not enough to bet it. Expecting Edmonton to win the series, I’ll take the Oilers to win Game 1 at home for a unit, with a majority of teams that win Game 1 going on to win the series. Edmonton was the hottest team going into the playoffs in the league and I expect that to continue. I’d lean the games in this series trend over with two very good offenses and inconsistent defensive play but with three of the four games between these teams in the regular season hitting the under, I’ll stay off it Game 1 and re-evaluate the total in Game 2.
1u Hurricanes ML (-170)
1u Hurricanes/Islanders under 5.5 (-130)
1u Bruins in regulation (-130)
1u Bruins/Panthers over 6 (-124)
1u Oilers ML (-186)
1.5u Hurricanes/Islanders over 5.5 games (-162)
1u Bruins to win series in six games or less (-177)
1.5u Stars to win series (-150)
2.5u Stars/Wild over 5.5 games (-167)
.5u Stars/Wild over 6.5 games (+220)
1.5u Oilers to win series in six games or less (-112)
1u Boston Bruins – Stanley Cup Champions (+1000)
1.5u Boston Bruins – Stanley Cup Champions (+1100)
2u Vegas Golden Knights – Stanley Cup Champions (+1200)
1.5u Carolina Hurricanes – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New York Rangers – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New Jersey Devils – Stanley Cup Champions (+1600)
.5u Minnesota Wild – Stanley Cup Champions (+2000)
1u Minnesota Wild – Western Conference Champions (+800)
2u Edmonton Oilers – Stanley Cup Champions (+800)
Record: 733-567-29 (-22.96 units)
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