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Makinen: Projecting first round of NHL playoffs

By Steve Makinen  (Point Spread Weekly editor) 

August 10, 2020 09:35 PM
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Up next for the Blackhawks: Vegas, baby
© Imagn

The NHL’s return to play format has been a blast so far, and a success from the eyes of this industry observer. Not only has the league been able to maintain a healthy virtually covid-free atmosphere at its hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, but the action over the past couple of weeks has been exhilarating and highly competitive. There were already several series upsets in the qualifying round of the playoffs, most notably, Montreal taking out Pittsburgh. It has been clear in watching that some teams have rallied around this unique set of circumstances, and have been far more galvanized than they were prior to the season getting suspended. Of course, there are other teams such as the Penguins that were affected in exactly the opposite way. Whatever the reasons behind it, it sure looks like we are going to be in for a thrilling postseason for the next couple of months.

Game 1’s are scheduled to start in half of the series on Tuesday, with the rest beginning Wednesday. Games are scattered throughout the day too, so hockey fans will get their money’s worth. Playoff hockey is one of the most exciting things we get to see every year. Being able to take advantage of the odds for each series at the start and throughout is a great opportunity for bettors.

Here is a look at each series that would be played in the first round, along with the projections for series win & exact numbers of games wins, formulated from my power ratings. I’ve also provided the regular season results in head-to-head games, and each team’s record since it returned to action a couple weeks ago. This could prove important as any new waves of momentum could have a bigger impact now than on any team’s full body of work. Consider this factor closely as you formulate your wagers.

NHL first-round matchups

Eastern Conference (Games played in Toronto – ScotiaBank Arena)

#1 Philadelphia vs. #8 Montreal – DraftKings Odds – Philadelphia -240 (Steve’s Odds: PHI -290)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Philadelphia 72.6%, Montreal 27.4%

Exact series odds

Philadelphia in four: 13.7%

Philadelphia in five: 21.4%

Philadelphia in six: 21%

Philadelphia in seven: 16.5%

Montreal in four: 2.4%

Montreal in five: 5.7%

Montreal in six: 8.7%

Montreal in seven: 10.6%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Philadelphia won h2h series 2-1, Favorites were 2-1

1/16/20: Montreal (+ 110) 4, PHILADELPHIA 1

11/30/19: Philadelphia (+ 110) 4, MONTREAL 3

11/7/19: PHILADELPHIA (-120) 3, Montreal 2

Records since 8/1 season return:

Philadelphia: 3-0 (GF-GA: 3.7-1.0)

Montreal: 3-1 (GF-GA: 2.5-2.0)

#2 Tampa Bay vs. #7 Columbus – Draft Kings Odds – Tampa Bay -225 (Steve’s Odds: TB -250)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Tampa Bay 69.7%, Columbus 30.3%

Exact series odds

Tampa Bay in four: 12.4%

Tampa Bay in five: 20.1%

Tampa Bay in six: 20.5%

Tampa Bay in seven: 16.7%

Columbus in four: 2.7%

Columbus in five: 6.5%

Columbus in six: 9.6%

Columbus in seven: 11.4%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Tampa Bay won h2h series 1-0, Favorite was 1-0

2/10/20: Tampa Bay (-155) 2, COLUMBUS 1

Records since 8/1 season return:

Tampa Bay: 2-1 (GF-GA: 2.3-2.7)

Columbus: 3-2 (GF-GA: 2.4-2.0)

#3 Washington vs. #6 NY Islanders – Draft Kings Odds – Washington -167 (Steve’s Odds: WAS -174)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Washington 62.1%, NY Islanders 37.9%

Exact series odds

Washington in four: 9.6%

Washington in five: 17.0%

Washington in six: 18.8%

Washington in seven: 16.7%

NY Islanders in four: 3.9%

NY Islanders in five: 8.6%

NY Islanders in six: 12.0%

NY Islanders in seven: 13.4%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): h2h series was split 2-2, Underdogs were 3-1

2/10/20: NY Islanders (+ 160) 5, WASHINGTON 3

1/18/20: Washington (-130) 6, NY ISLANDERS 4

12/31/19: NY Islanders (+ 165) 4, WASHINGTON 3

10/4/19: Washington (+ 105) 2, NY ISLANDERS 1

Records since 8/1 season return:

Washington: 1-2 (GF-GA: 1.7-2.3)

NY Islanders: 3-1 (GF-GA: 3.3-1.8)

#4 Boston vs. #5 Carolina – Draft Kings Odds – Boston -137 (Steve’s Odds: BOS -178)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Boston 69.7%, Carolina 30.3%

Exact series odds

Boston in four: 9.8%

Boston in five: 17.2%

Boston in six: 19.0%

Boston in seven: 16.7%

Carolina in four: 3.8%

Carolina in five: 8.5%

Carolina in six: 11.8%

Carolina in seven: 13.2%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Boston won h2h series 1-0, Favorite was 1-0

12/3/19: BOSTON (-150) 2, Carolina 0

Records since 8/1 season return:

Boston: 0-3 (GF-GA: 1.3-3.0)

Carolina: 3-0 (GF-GA: 3.7-1.3)

Western Conference (Games played in Edmonton – Rogers Place)

#1 Vegas vs. #8 Chicago – DraftKings Odds – Vegas -278 (Steve’s Odds: VEG -291)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Vegas 72.7%, Chicago 27.3%

Exact series odds

Vegas in four: 13.8%

Vegas in five: 21.5%

Vegas in six: 21.0%

Vegas in seven: 16.4%

Chicago in four: 2.3%

Chicago in five: 5.7%

Chicago in six: 8.7%

Chicago in seven: 10.6%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Vegas won h2h series 2-1, Favorites were 2-1

12/10/19: VEGAS (-235) 5, Chicago 1

11/13/19: Chicago (+ 230) 5, VEGAS 3

10/22/19: Vegas (-120) 2, CHICAGO 1

Records since 8/1 season return:

Vegas: 3-0 (GF-GA: 5.0-3.3)

Chicago: 3-1 (GF-GA: 4.0-3.8)

#2 Colorado vs. #7 Arizona – DraftKings Odds – Colorado -250 (Steve’s Odds: COL -165)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Colorado 60.6%, Arizona 39.4%

Exact series odds

Colorado in four: 9.1%

Colorado in five: 16.4%

Colorado in six: 18.5%

Colorado in seven: 16.7%

Arizona in four: 4.1%

Arizona in five: 9.1%

Arizona in six: 12.5%

Arizona in seven: 13.7%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): h2h series was split 1-1-, Favorites were 2-0

11/2/19: ARIZONA (-145) 3, Colorado 0

10/12/19: COLORADO (-150) 3, Arizona 2

Records since 8/1 season return:

Colorado: 2-1 (GF-GA: 3.0-1.7)

Arizona: 3-1 (GF-GA: 3.5-2.8)

#3 Dallas vs. #6 Calgary – DraftKings Odds – Dallas -118 (Steve’s Odds: CAL -121)

Overall Series Win Percentage: Calgary 52.6%, Dallas 47.4%

Exact series odds

Dallas in four: 5.7%

Dallas in five: 11.6%

Dallas in six: 14.9%

Dallas in seven: 15.2%

Calgary in four: 6.9%

Calgary in five: 13.4%

Calgary in six: 16.4%

Calgary in seven: 16.0%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Calgary won h2h series 2-1, Underdogs were 3-0

12/22/19: Calgary (+ 125) 5, DALLAS 1

11/13/19: Dallas (+ 120) 3, CALGARY 1

10/10/19: Calgary (-105) 3, DALLAS 2

Records since 8/1 season return:

Dallas: 1-2 (GF-GA: 1.7-3.3)

Calgary: 3-1 (GF-GA: 4.0-1.5)

#4 St Louis vs. #5 Vancouver – DraftKings Odds – St Louis -200 (Steve’s Odds: STL -192)

Overall Series Win Percentage: St Louis 64.0%, Vancouver 36.0%

Exact series odds

St Louis in four: 10.2%

St Louis in five: 17.7%

St Louis in six: 19.3%

St Louis in seven: 16.8%

Vancouver in four: 3.6%

Vancouver in five: 8.1%

Vancouver in six: 11.4%

Vancouver in seven: 12.9%

Regular season head-to-head results (HOME TEAM in caps): Vancouver won h2h series 2-1, Underdogs were 3-0

1/27/20: VANCOUVER (+ 115) 3, St Louis 1

11/5/19: St Louis (+ 110) 2, VANCOUVER 1

10/17/19: Vancouver (+ 180) 4, ST LOUIS 3

Records since 8/1 season return:

St Louis: 0-3 (GF-GA: 2.0-3.7)

Vancouver: 3-1 (GF-GA: 3.0-2.5)

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