Stanley Cup Playoffs: second-round preview and predictions

May 17, 2022 08:08 AM
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The first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs was wild, as we saw five matchups go the distance and play a Game 7. Now, just eight teams remain, and the winners of each series will advance to the Conference Final and get one step closer to competing for the Stanley cup. All recommended bets are tracked as one unit (bet to win one unit on favorite and risk one unit on underdog) unless stated otherwise. If you want, you can use the model projection to bet in proportion to its perceived edge. Let’s look at each series from a betting perspective.

Round 1 Recap (Series Bets)

Win - Lightning To Win Series + 100

Win - Blues To Win Series + 130

Loss - Flames Series Spread (-1.5) -140

Loss - Bruins To Win Series -105

Loss - Bruins To Win Series (Adjusted after Game 2) + 170 (half size)

Record: 2-3, -0.65 units

All stats via Evolving Hockey. Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tampa Bay Lightning (+ 150) at Florida Panthers (-170)

Florida was the best offensive team during the regular season, scoring over four goals per 60 minutes, but they couldn’t score at that rate against Washington in the first round. They didn’t dominate the Capitals, either, as their expected goals for percentage (even strength) sat at just 54 percent after six games, and things are going to get tougher in Round 2. Scoring goals on Andrei Vasilevskiy should be a lot more challenging than facing off against the likes of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. Alternatively, the Lightning should have a tougher time defending the Panthers than they did the Maple Leafs in Round 1. Toronto was the best offensive team that the Lightning had ever faced in the playoffs, until now. The Lightning have a big edge in goal, as Sergei Bobrovsky’s chances of stealing games in this series are slim, but the Panthers are a better team top to bottom, and Tampa Bay’s offense isn’t as potent as Florida’s is.

There’s also the issue of Brayden Point’s injury. Point has been a huge contributor to the Lightning, especially during their two Stanley Cup runs, and he’s doubtful to play in Game 1. His status for the rest of the series is up in the air but based on how he looked in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, there should be concern about his availability going forward. Without Point, the Lightning’s offense isn’t going to be as dangerous. The Lightning are the two-time defending champions, and they defeated the Panthers in the playoffs last season, but Florida will likely prevail this time around. According to my model, Florida has a 66 percent chance of winning the series, which means the series moneyline should be -195 in favor of the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

Pick:

Florida Panthers Series Winner -170

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