NHL Stanley Cup playoffs first round best bets

The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffsThe NHL's final regular-season games are over. There are still 16 NHL teams in the hunt for the ultimate trophy in sports. Bettors will be asking immediate questions about what will happen, how it will happen, and who will win it.

We asked our NHL insiders to answer these questions. They also provided betting advice.

All odds available at Caesars Sportsbook

Back-to-back Stanley Cups have been won by the Lightning. Is it possible for them to win a third straight Stanley Cup? Or are you playing against a different team?

Greg Wyshynski (senior NHL writer, Daily Wager contributor): Some slippage occurred at 5-on-5 play, but this was not the fault of the players. Tampa Bay LightningIn the regular season. This is to be expected when you have won back-to-back Stanley Cups. (Coincidentally a shootout loss was to the Montreal Canadiens.) Now it's tournament time and the Lightning are back with the same cast of characters… except for one important change. Their previous championship runs' checking line was dispersed to all four winds. Yanni Gourde (Seattle Kraken), Barclay Goodrow (New York Rangers) and Blake Coleman (Calgary Flames) are no longer there to be a defensive stopper who also scores critical goals.

However, the Lightning could have discovered Version 2.0: Holdover Pat MaroonPlaying with offseason pickups Corey PerryAnd Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. It was the second best line at 5-on-5 in regular season for lines less than 500 minutes. The Lightning at +1100 seems like a good bet. However, they have a difficult road ahead of themselves. Toronto Maple Leafs(+1000) and then most likely the Florida Panthers(+550), who are my pick for the win… provided they don’t get Bolt’d.

Kristen Shilton, senior NHL writer: Tampa Bay is certain to win the third Stanley Cup. In Tampa Bay, there is a Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender. Andrei VasilevskiyThey are deep down the center and have brilliant wingers, a solid defense base, and a creative coach behind their bench in Jon Cooper. In an attempt to win three consecutive games, Tampa Bay will be up against stiff competition. The Colorado AvalancheThis might be the favorite to win hockey's cup. The Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple LeafsAnd Carolina HurricanesThey are right behind them. The Lightning are able to boast something that the rest of the pack don't: recent Cup-winning experiences.

Arda Öcal, host of The Drop and In The Crease: Yeah, I'm with Kristen. Tampa Bay certainly could three-peat. Will they? I feel like the confidence level among the hockey community isn't as high as it could be, but it also wouldn't be a complete surprise. It feels justifiable either way. Colorado and Florida seem like the favorites in each conference and with good reason: They are stacked. But I wouldn't say Tampa Bay is a bad look by any stretch.

Sachin Dave Chandan, Sports Betting editor: I want to say no, since winning 12 playoff series' in a row is brutally difficult. However, when looking at playoff picks, I think highly of teams that are hot at the right time and have an experienced veteran core. Over the past two weeks, the Lightning have a 48% power play conversion rate, second best in the NHL,And they also are entering May with a healthy Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Although I didn't choose Tampa Bay to raise Cup, I think you get strong value at +1100.

The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs will begin Monday night on ESPN. You can catch all of the action starting now and ending when Lord Stanley's Cup has been raised. right here.

Playoff Central | Complete Stanley Cup playoff schedule | Playoff Hockey Pick'em

While the Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first, it was a favorite. They haven't won a postseason series since 1996's Year of the Rat run to the Cup Final. You can see how far they have come.

Shilton:My gut tells me that Florida is headed for failure. Yes, the Panthers are able to score at will and take over any team offensively. But playoffs are more than that. A team needs reliable goaltending and a defense with a committee. These are two areas Florida has struggled in the last few weeks. The Panthers cannot expect to be able to go down early and then score four to five goals to win it. If that is the strategy, I don’t see them winning more rounds.

Öcal:It all boils down to goaltending. If you are interested in this, please let me know. Spencer KnightContinues the stellar April performance. We get elite regular season level Sergei BobrovskyThis team will be a force in the playoffs. I believe it's obvious that goaltending, which can either win or lose you games, is the most important position in hockey. Can you name any goalies from history that won a Cup, a series, or made it to the Cup Final? Even as a young goaltender or rookie? Matt Murray, Jordan Binnington, Patrick Roy, Cam Ward. This is what I am focusing on when it comes to the Cats.

Wyshynski:As I have stated before, the Panthers this year are my team. They were the best team in 5-on-5 goals against, despite their poor football scores. Their goaltending is not inspiring, but Arda pointed out that it doesn't seem to be costing them a series. I am enchanted with the depth of the scoring. It's unbelievable, and it just makes the rich richer. Claude GirouxHe has 23 points in 18 games since he joined the Flyers. They should win the Cup. However, if you want immediate returns, they can be at -2.5 against Washington in round one (+140).

Chandan:Greg is right. I too chose the Panthers for the Cup this season. It took me a while to think about it before I wrote that. The Panthers haven't won a playoff series since the first “Mission Impossible” movie. Is Florida's mission impossible to accomplish? They will be able to defeat the Capitals in round one (-350 favorites); and, if they win the Maple Leafs-Lightning series they can win the Eastern Conference (+240), and raise the Cup (+550).

Last year, the Montreal Canadiens stunned everyone by reaching the Stanley Cup Final in a completely different format. Is there an underdog team this year?

Öcal: You can follow me here because this is not an easy answer for everyone. Please be patient with me. The Toronto Maple Leafs – not in the lineup, but overall story. They are an amazing team. A roster like that is clear proof of their excellence. ShouldYou can challenge for a Stanley Cup. Ask any Leafs fan and you will learn a few things about Toronto, the playoffs and 2022. First, the Buds will not make it to the second round. As each round progresses, the demons that plagued 1967, including not winning any series since 2004, and all of the other painful first-round exits in the past several years, will be forgotten. “It was 4-1,” and everything else you can think about will become the ultimate monstrosity. They will remain underdogs on the ice, at least for Toronto sports fans. This is something that few people will believe, but it will be seen by hockey fans in blue and white, from London to Belleville to Lakeshore, Barrie, and the others.

Shilton: Although I don't know whether Boston would be considered an “underdog”, per se, they are a wild-card team that I wouldn't count out. No matter how old their core may be.

Wyshynski: It is a terrible travesty to see the Minnesota Wild(second in West) & the St. Louis BluesThe fourth team must play in the first round of this playoff format. One-and-done for a really, really great team. While I believe the Wild (+1600) will win, I have been singing the praises for the Blues (+2000). I believe either team can knock out the other. Colorado AvalancheIn the second round. Who knows what happens after that? If you're looking for a longer shot then the Blues are it.

Are you looking for a series in the first round that offers betting value?

Öcal: I think the Blues at +120 are a great value, especially if one believes that past success against one team can translate to the postseason. St. Louis is currently 9-0-1 against Minnesota. The Blues won the series. Most people will say that this is a good indicator of what's to come in the postseason. It's not. The Wild is a favorite of mine. They have depth, I believe. They are very deep. Marc-Andre FleuryThe trade deadline allows them to pick up a Stanley Cup-caliber hockey goalie. It is possible that some people are sleeping on St. Louis during this series. Minnesota will not be able to make it up.

Wyshynski: The Los Angeles KingsAt +200 against Edmonton OilersIt's an interesting number. The Oilers are my default choice, as they have trended well under Jay Woodcroft and have had a hot goalie in. Mike SmithYou can name a couple of men Connor McDavidAnd Leon DraisaitlThey are now facing a Kings team without an injured defenseman Drew Doughty. The Kings are not a fluke. They have some playoff-worthy players in their ranks, and their underlying numbers have been strong throughout the season. Anze KopitarAnd Phillip Danault. If you are unable to locate the Jonathan QuickRevival Tour now extends to the first round series. Here, the Kings might pull a stunning win. My goodness, I feel like I've just done a shoot. Too bad my picks were locked.

Chandan: The New York RangersYou have -120 favorite against the Pittsburgh PenguinsThis is largely due the likely Vezina Trophy Winner Igor ShesterkinRangers are 3-1 in regular season, with a shutout in April's meeting. However, this series could be close. Here's where I would consider betting it to be decided within six games (+200), and then doubling down by selecting Rangers to win four of the two games (+500 exact series result).

Are you confident that you can predict the playoff winners after reading this far? Compete against the fans and hosts to test your NHL pick skills. The Point, Daily Wager, First TakeYou can find out more here, when you play our free Playoff Hockey Pick'em game.

Which series is perfect for a sweep?

Öcal: The Avalanche has a clear advantage over the Predators. Juuse SarosBeing out of the Nashville lineup could be because Colorado may have too many up front for Nashville. The Predators may win one at-home, just like New Jersey against Tampa Bay. Taylor HallIn 2018, Colorado won the Hart Trophy, but that may not be it. Colorado has something to prove in 2018.

Wyshynski: I have the Flames set to sweep watch in the face of the Dallas Stars. The Flames are a balanced hockey team with three goal scorers of 40 goals and a goalie. Jacob MarkstromThe Stars were able to record a league-best nine shutouts in this season's campaign. Stars are basically a one-line team with a strong goaltender. Jake Oettinger. This one line is amazing. Jason Robertson, Joe PavelskiAnd Roope HintzThe Flames do have several forward groups that can both counter them defensively as well as counterpunch offensively. The Flames could win this one quickly if they throw in their home ice. The Flames sweep is +475.

Chandan: The Panthers win the Super Bowl Washington CapitalsIt is priced at +500 which isn’t a price I like, but it is the only Eastern Conference series that I would be willing bet. A series of four games is available at +400 so I would also grab that bet.

Which person do you see winning Conn Smythe Trophy in your lifetime?

Öcal: Auston Matthews(+1600). Jack Campbell (+4000).

Wyshynski: I see the Panthers winning Stanley Cup. Please let me know if this happens. Aleksander Barkov (+1200).

Chandan:The Conn Smythe Trophy may not always go the team's top scorer. However, Florida winning is something I enjoy. Jonathan Huberdeau+1200 for your chances

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