NHL Playoff Series Odds, Preview

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on May 2, 2022
NHL playoffs

The NHL regular season has ended at long last, bringing the Stanley Cup playoffs to the fore. Each of the first-round series in the NHL playoffs brings not only its own series odds, but its own storyline.

Let’s run through each first-round series through the lens of a burning question that may determine the outcome. Use the tables below to get the best odds on the NHL playoffs series prices that you’re interested in betting.

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(A1) Florida vs. (WC2) Washington

Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals Series Price

Florida
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-340
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-330
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-350
Washington
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+260
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+260
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+260

Key Question: Can Ovechkin Put Washington On His Back?

The Panthers are easily the better team in this old Southeastern Division matchup, with the aging Capitals are the worst of the eight East playoff teams. The Capitals have the experience of a core that won the Cup, but that happened four years ago. Since then, they’ve failed to win a round. Even without Aaron Ekblad for the start of the series, Florida losing would require Ovi to put Washington on his back. His age suggests that’s too much to expect.

(A2) Toronto vs. (A3) Tampa Bay

Toronto vs Tampa Bay Series Price

Toronto
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-120
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-115
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-120
Tampa Bay
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+100
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-104
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+100

Key Question: Will The Leafs Go Full Leafs Again?

The Leafs, on paper, should easily win this series, even against the two-time defending champions. The Leafs have played much better down the stretch than Tampa. They fixed their defensive disasters mid-season, and their offense is clicking better than any time in the Shanahan era. The problem is, whenever you say the Leafs should win, you have to expect potential disaster. They were supposed to crush Montreal last year before they blew a 3-1 series lead. If this team were called the Toronto Tweetybirds, they’d be clear and obvious favorites. Because it’s the Leafs, they’re just better than a coin flip.

(M1) Carolina v (WC1) Boston

Carolina vs Boston Series Price

Key Question: When Is Freddie Coming Back?

The Hurricanes face the obvious consequence of signing two goalies with questionable injury histories now, with Freddie Andersen out for at least the start of this series. If he remains out for the whole thing, the Bruins – who have won at least a round in four straight seasons and are better suited to the vagaries of playoff hockey – should easily roll. Even a healthy Andersen hasn’t exactly played great against the Bruins, losing to them twice in the playoffs as a Leaf. But if he stays hurt, the Hurricanes find themselves in real danger.

(M2) New York vs. (M3) Pittsburgh

New York vs Pittsburgh Series Price

New York
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-115
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-115
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-110
Pittsburgh
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-105
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-104
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-110

Key Question: Why Are The Penguins Getting So Much Respect?

The Penguins have looked a disaster going into the playoffs. Their aging core faded hard down the stretch, yet they remain favored in this series mostly on the basis of name recognition and “experience.” Remember, though, they missed the bubble playoffs and lost in the first round in 2021. The Rangers play solid defense and boast the likely Vezina winner in Igor Shesterkin. They’re underdogs? Make it make sense.

(C1) Colorado vs. (WC2) Nashville

Colorado vs Nashville Series Price

Colorado
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-650
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-650
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-600
Nashville
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+450
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+460
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+425

Key Question: Is Juuse Saros Healthy?

If Saros, the Preds’ starting goalie, hasn’t gotten healthy, this series might not last five games. Colorado worked the outmatched Blues in last year’s opening round this could look similar. If Saros is healthy, the Western Conference Champion Avalanche have legitimate upset risk. At his best, Saros can steal a series. If he can grab a couple of early games – and Darcy Kuemper continues his hit or miss history – Nashville has a path to victory.

(C2) Minnesota vs. (C3) St. Louis

Minnesota St. Louis Series Price

Minnesota
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-150
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-138
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-165
St. Louis
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+130
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+115
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+135

Key Question: Who Gets Better Goaltending?

With the acquisition of Marc-Andre Fleury in March and the strong play of Cam Talbot, Minnesota has a goalie controversy. That may hold the key to them winning the series. If they make the wrong call, and the Game 1 starter plays poorly, the Blues could steal home ice. At least, if rookie sensation Ville Husso doesn’t falter, and create a chorus for Jordan Binnington’s return. Whichever team can get better-than-good goaltending will likely win. Of the four goalies, who has the best chance to provide that?

(P1) Calgary vs. (WC1) Dallas

Calgary vs Dallas Series Price

Key Question: Will The Real Dallas Stars Please Stand Up?

“Are the Dallas Stars good?” has been a viable question since 2014, when they traded for Jason Spezza to add to their core of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Since then, they’ve made one deep run in the 2020 bubble. They missed the 2021 playoffs. Are the Stars a talented-but-flawed group that Calgary steamrolls, or can they repeat their 2020 run?

(P2) Edmonton vs. (P3) Los Angeles

Edmonton vs Los Angeles Series Price

Key Question: Will McDavid Finally Get Penalty Calls?

In the last eight playoff games across two seasons in which Connor McDavid played, the Oilers superstar has drawn zero penalties from opposing players. That rates as a scandal in a league where refereeing frequently stinks. The notion that McDavid – known for his generational speed – has caused no player to illegally infringe his movement in eight playoff games is absurd. That lack of power plays explains why Edmonton lost in 2020 and 2021. If McDavid calling this out fixes this crisis, and Edmonton can feast on the power play, this series will end early.

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