The final four teams in the NHL playoffs are surprising only to broadcasters acknowledging the NHL postseason again features lower-seeded teams again thumped the high-flying stars thought to be the best. Nope, instead, the commonalities of the remaining playoff teams are as consistent as they are heavy. The final four also offer more than a few opportunities for NHL betting.
Yes, the final four teams are heavy. And, on paper, mismatches. But you and I know the NHL playoffs rarely have mismatches, and smarter players can take advantage of the silly money in NHL betting trends.
How to Bet on the NHL Playoffs–Semi-Finals:
New York Islanders (+225) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (-275)
Tampa Bay is the defending Stanley Cup champion and a heavy favorite in the series.
The New York Islanders are the unbreakable scavengers who survive, thrive, and upset every purebred put before them. The scrappy, physical, and never out-of-position New York Saints are the least penalized team in the NHL which will serve them well against the ridiculously talented Tampa Bay Lightning in their Round Three series.
Tampa Bay is 15-for-36 on the power play in the playoffs, so the Islanders’ ability to create obstruction but not take penalties will be paramount.
Tampa Bay can do anything the Islanders can do, which is why we like Tampa Bay in the series, but the 2020 Eastern Conference Final gives us a good window into the 2021 rematch.
The Islanders pushed Tampa Bay to six games in the 2020 ECF. They didn’t make it easy on Tampa Bay, either. If you want a longshot bet, take the Islanders. They have a chance. It’s not a great one, but they have a puncher’s chance. Otherwise, betting on Tampa Bay doesn’t pay enough.
However, MGM has a few good side bets that we really like.
If one game in the series goes to OT, MGM is paying +145. Yes, please! If you’re really a gambler, two games reaching OT pays +280.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning wins the series in Game 6, MGM pays +400. We’ll take that every day. And we’ll buy insurance on that bet with a second bet. If the series goes six games, regardless of the winner, MGM pays +210.
So, our NHL bets for the series are Tampa Bay in six, with one OT game. A $10 bet on each, $30 total, would pay out $75.
MGM is also offering new players up to a $600 guaranteed bet. We’ll take that, too:
Vegas Golden Knights (-500) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+375)
If you thought Tampa Bay was a favorite on the NHL betting lines, Vegas is an outright don’t touch at -500. Bet $10 to win $2–What fun is that? The line is also moving hard to Vegas.
We were up close and personal for the Vegas-Colorado Avalanche series. Vegas is pretty, pretty good. They overwhelmed Colorado in the last five games of the series.
Fox Bet is offering up to $1000 in your money back.
Montreal cut through the buttery soft North Division, but an inexperienced coach Dominique Ducharme and a roster that doesn’t hold a candle to Vegas mean we’re looking for prop and side bets here. I mean, sure, flop a few bucks on Montreal for fun because $10 pays $37.50 but consider that the price for entertainment, not a good bet.
Montreal has one chance: Crouch into a defensive shell and pray that Carey Price can steal a few games.
Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury admitted after his Game 6 win in Round Two that his legs were heavy. The 36-year-old goalie wasn’t sharp, and that’s a concern, but only for those who want to bet on Fleury to win the Conn Smyth. Behind Fleury is Robin Lehner waiting in the wings, so Vegas will be OK in net.
But that may be where Montreal extends the series–a clunker from Marc-Andre.
We like this series to be over in Game 5, which pays +275. So, a $10 bet there goes a long way and nets you $27.50. If you’re really a gambler, don’t bet on VGK to sweep (+400), instead bet on the series to end in four games (+425).
The other bet we like is for Jonathan Marchessault to be the top scorer in the series (+450). Montreal does have a good top-line that knows how to defend, just as does the Vegas Golden Knights. However, depth is where Vegas pulls away. We’ll take another Marchy outburst and take advantage of the NHL betting crowd fawning over Max Pacioretty’s homecoming.
Pacioretty was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens until he was dealt to Vegas last offseason.
Those are the NHL bets we like. Browse our partners. There are plenty of promotions and free money available, especially for new players. MGM is the easiest, but FanDuel and Fox Bets are solid.
And, if you want to get a jump on Stanley Cup betting, now is the best time to grab Vegas (+115) or Tampa Bay (+160), or wait to see if either lose a game or two and bettors panic. But we’d move now.
The firsr puck drops between Tampa Bay and New York in Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon.