NHL Playoff Odds, Second-Round Betting Lines & Series Picks
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The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs officially kicked off Saturday, as the New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of their MassMutual East Division series. These teams have not met in a playoff series since 1983, back when the Islanders were in dynasty mode.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning opened their series with a Game 1 victory over Carolina, as did the Colorado Avalanche, who thrashed the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1 in their Game 1 contest. Our final second-round matchup was set on Monday night, with Montreal upsetting Toronto in Game 7 to set up a series with the Winnipeg Jets.
Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for the latest NHL odds, tips and betting predictions. Here's how we see the series shaking out.
Latest Stanley Cup 2021 odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+400|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+900|
|New York Islanders||+1400|
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NHL Division Finals Odds & Matchups
Jets vs. Canadiens
The odds: Jets -118, Canadiens +102
Here is a matchup of teams with hot, veteran goalies. It should be a good one. Winnipeg has the defending Vezina Trophy winner in its net - Connor Hellebuyck. Montreal has a former Vezina (and Hart) Trophy winner in Carey Price. Winnipeg has had a long layoff since sweeping Edmonton, while the Habs just finished stunning the Toronto Maple Leafs with a seventh-game road victory.
In this case, I like the team with the most recent momentum. Montreal has the kind of depth to match the Jets, and with a rejuvenated Price, I like the Habs even more. It could be another seven-game series, but I think Montreal proved something with that courageous comeback against Toronto.
PREDICTION: Canadiens in 6 (Visit our William Hill sportsbook Review)
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Avalanche vs Vegas
The odds: Avalanche -200, Vegas +160
Many pundits believe these are the two best teams in the NHL right now. Unfortunately for one, it’ll be playing golf within two weeks.
The Avs have home-ice advantage, more speed and more skill. The Golden Knights have more size and toughness, and a veteran, playoff-tested goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury. It’s not like the Avs don’t have toughness, and it’s not like Vegas doesn’t have some high-end skill either.
That’s what makes this a very difficult series to predict. If it comes down to goaltending, Fleury probably gives Vegas a slight edge over Philipp Grubauer. If it comes down to A-list talent, Colorado probably has the edge with guys such as Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen.
The Avs have lost in the second round two straight years and have a reputation for not being able to stay healthy for long. I think Vegas’ size advantage will matter in this series. I’m going to go with the Golden Knights in a tough series.
PREDICTION: Golden Knights in 6 (Visit our FOX Bet sportsbook Review)
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Lightning vs Hurricanes
The odds: Lightning -135, Hurricanes +110
This should be a fun series to watch, just like both teams’ respective first rounds. The Carolina Hurricanes are fast and skilled, and they have home-ice advantage after winning the Central Division title. The Tampa Bay Lightning are pretty good, too. The returns of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos made a real difference in the first round against Florida for the Lightning, and goalie Andre Vasilevskiy had a .929 save percentage in the first round.
Carolina needs to get more out of their top forwards in this round than it did against Nashville. A guy such as Andre Svechnikov, for instance, must score more goals than the one he had in six games against the Predators. My heart wants to go with Carolina in this series, but the head is saying different. The Lightning have so much depth and look like they want to win a second straight Cup.
PREDICTION: Lightning in 6 (Visit our BetMGM Review)
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Check out the best NHL picks throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs, available from our team of handicappers at bookiesEdge.
Bruins vs Islanders
The odds: Bruins -225, Islanders +178
The New York Islanders seemed to be going the wrong way entering the playoffs, with questions in goal, some underperforming forwards, and several trade-deadline acquisitions who hadn’t done much to that point. Then, most everything changed in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York got back to its snarling, tough playoff style and beat the Penguins decisively.
The Boston Bruins, however, are a better team than the Penguins and they are favorites to win the series with NHL betting sites. They also have home-ice advantage in the series, which I think will mean something. Tuukka Rask played very well in the first round against Washington, and he gives Boston a slight edge.
Boston has a little more up front than the Islanders, especially with the additions of Taylor Hall and Mike Reilly. The Islanders might start to seriously feel the absence of captain Anders Lee, who is out for the rest of the season through injury. This series could go seven games, but I’ll take the Bruins.
PREDICTION: Bruins in 7 (Visit our FanDuel sportsbook Review)
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How Will The 2021 NHL Playoffs Work?
After the four division winners are set, the NHL will re-seed the winners of the four Division Finals based off of regular-season record to set the semifinal matchups. Here’s where the remaining teams rank based on their regular-season record, along with their odds from DraftKings to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
- Colorado Avalanche (-200 at DraftKings)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+450)
- Carolina Hurricanes (+600)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+120)
- Boston Bruins (+175)
- New York Islanders (+550)
- Winnipeg Jets (+700)
- Montreal Canadiens (+700)
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The winner of the Golden Knights-Avalanche series will be the top seed and face the fourth seed, which will be either the Canadiens or the Jets. That means the winner of the Hurricanes-Lightning series will be the second seed, and face one of the Bruins or Islanders.