NHL playoffs: Revisiting the four series that opened Monday night

May 3, 2022 08:27 PM

All eight first-round matchups are underway in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and updated series prices are available to bettors looking to bet on a team that lost Game 1. All odds come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tampa Bay Lightning ( 175) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (-210)

As I mentioned in the playoff preview, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Maple Leafs win the series, as my model suggested they had about a 45% chance of doing so. I still ended up with a bet on the Lightning to win the series at even money, though, because a 55 percent chance translated to a decent edge at that price. Unfortunately for me, the Lightning lost the series opener (I also bet on them to win that game) and if I’m basing my opinion on that game alone, the defending champs aren’t Stanley Cup material. The Maple Leafs dominated every facet of the game and won 5-0 in front of a raucous Toronto crowd. According to Evolving Hockey, the shots were basically even by the end of the game, but the home team’s expected goals percentage was 64. Of course, it’s early in the series, and counting out the Lightning would be foolish. However, if Game 2 plays out in a similar fashion, I’ll be a lot less optimistic. Regardless, I’m not going to double down with a series wager, as my model estimates that the Maple Leafs will win the series approximately 63.7% of the time. That converts to a fair line of -175, and, therefore, there’s no value betting on the Lightning to get back in the series.

Boston Bruins ( 170) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (-200)

Before the start of this series, I estimated that the Bruins would win about 56% of the time, and in a perfect world, Boston would have cashed in on its chances and won Game 1. Carolina generated only 2.4 expected goals, according to Evolving Hockey, but scored five goals. Boston managed only one goal late in the game, despite generating 3.5 expected goals. I would recommend betting on the Bruins to win Game 2 to even the series, but there’s a big question that still needs to be answered. Carolina’s starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen, was never going to start Game 1, but there’s a possibility that he will be between the pipes in Game 2. I don’t think it’s very likely, but I don’t have intimate knowledge of the situation, either. According to my model, Carolina’s adjusted series price should be -150, so there could be value betting on Boston to win the series at 170, but my advice would be to wait until more is known about Andersen’s availability.

St. Louis Blues (-190) vs. Minnesota Wild ( 160)

St. Louis was the only team that won me any money on the opening night of the playoffs, but don’t let the final score (4-0) fool you. Minnesota played a good game, owning 55% of the shot attempts, and the Blues had only a 52.5% edge in expected goals. Still, that’s a solid performance from an underdog, and I’m thankful that I bet them to win the series at 130. As far as the adjusted price goes, the Blues are priced a little short, but I have a decent bet down already and don’t want any exposure at -190. According to my model, the adjusted series price should be around -205 in favor of the Blues, but the Wild won’t go down easy. I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Louis sweeps the series, but I would be surprised if there are any more decisive victories like we saw in Game 1. This should be a close series, and both teams are still very much in it.

Los Angeles Kings (-105) at Edmonton Oilers (-115)

The Kings were at their best on Monday, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead and hanging on for a 4-3 win in regulation. Jonathan Quick (.923 save percentage) was outstanding, Mike Smith (.886 save percentage) was not. The Oilers are not out of this series, though, and while I was never confident in Smith’s ability to be the goaltender the Oilers desperately need him to be, I’m not very optimistic about the Kings’ chances of beating Edmonton on the scoreboard. Los Angeles is a well-structured group, but it’s also the lowest-scoring team in the playoffs, and the Oilers ranked fifth on offense between Feb. 1 and the end of the regular season. Edmonton was a -250 series favorite before Game 1, and DraftKings Sportsbook has adjusted that price to -115. My model agreed with the pre-series odds and is in line with the new price. The Oilers should win the series close to 55% of the time, so their odds should be around -120.

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