The 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs are underway and it's time to break down every second-round series from a betting perspective. The Colorado Avalanche were the betting favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup before the Vegas Golden Knights knocked them out.
Below are my thoughts on the conference finals matchups, along with several best bets.
Note: Series odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 3 New York Islanders (+ 220) vs. No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning (-265)
The Islanders will meet the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Playoff semifinals for the second straight season, and once again the former are sizable underdogs. The Lightning defeated the Islanders in six games as -185 series favorites last time around and this time they’re carrying even more chalk. DraftKings lists the Lightning as a -265 favorite with the Islanders coming back on the other side with + 220 odds, which suggests that the Lightning will win the series approximately 70% of the time; I don’t believe there’s much value in betting either of those lines. By my estimation, the Lightning will win the series about 74% of the time, which equates to odds of -285. There is some value in betting them to win the series, but shop around and try to find the best available odds.