NHL Playoffs Betting Review: Conference Finals

The NHL Conference Finals are well underway and we’ve seen some highly entertaining action as the final four teams jockey for a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. These series have been pretty evenly matched as the Eastern Conference Finals are all square at two games apiece entering Wednesday, May 29, with Game 5 coming from Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars own a 2-1 series edge over the Edmonton Oilers heading into Game 4 at Rogers Place on Wednesday night. Let’s take a look at where things stand right now and how they might unfold going forward.

Eastern Conference Finals: Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

Current Status: Series tied 2-2.

Previous Results: Game 1 @ Rangers: Panthers 3-0, Game 2 @ Rangers: Rangers 2-1 (OT), Game 3 @ Panthers: Rangers 5-4 (OT), Game 4 @ Panthers 3-2 (OT)

Remaining Games: Game 5 @ Rangers May 30, Game 6 @ Panthers June 1, Game 7 @ Rangers (if necessary) June 3

Current Odds to Win Series: Panthers -140, Rangers +120

There hasn’t been much fluctuation in the odds since the series started, even with the Rangers holding their own in the first four games. Florida entered the series as a -150 or so favorite while the Rangers went off as a +130 dog: those lines have only shifted 10 cents on the dollar at this point of things. Where things have shifted massively at this stage comes in the length of the series. Last week when we talked about our top conference finals props, this series going 7 games had odds of +210. As of May 29, that number is all the way down to -115 at DraftKings. By the same token, our play of the Rangers winning the series 4-3 opened at +475 but is now down to +300.

As far as our plays for top goal scorer in the series, we took Carter Verhaeghe of the Panthers at +600. He enters Game 5 tied for the top scorer with teammate Sam Reinhart along with Barclay Goodrow and Alexis Lafreniere of the Rangers as all four players have three goals on the board. His odds have dropped to +220 and leaves him with the second-best odds behind Reinhart, who enters Game 5 at +190. For the top point-getter in the series, we backed Vincent Trocheck of the Rangers, who went off at +750 before the series began. He has five points (two goals, three assists), which leads the Rangers and is tied for second in the series with Matthew Tkachuk, one point behind Verhaeghe (three goals, three assists) for the top spot.

In what has been a tightly contested series with three straight games going to overtime, obviously, Game 5 is a fulcrum for both teams. The winner heads to Florida for Game 6 with a chance to eliminate the other. We’ve seen only 20 total goals in the series with the Panthers holding an 11-9 edge. Nine of those goals came in Game 3 and the teams returned to form in Game 4 as they combined for only five goals. Florida owns a 130-100 advantage in shots on goal in the series so it may well come down to which goaltender cracks in a critical moment. The Rangers still hold home-ice advantage in the series: will the Panthers find a way to steal another game in the world’s most famous barn?

Western Conference Finals: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars

Current Status: Stars lead series, two games to one.

Previous Results: Game 1 @ Stars: Oilers 3-2 (2 OT), Game 2 @ Stars: Stars 3-1, Game 3 @ Oilers: Stars 5-3

Remaining Games: Game 4 @ Oilers May 29, Game 5 @ Stars May 31, Game 6 @ Oilers June 2 (if necessary), Game 7 @ Stars June 4 (if necessary)

Current Odds to Win Series: Stars -250, Oilers +210

Even though it’s only three games, the odds have shifted dramatically in relation to who the books are looking at to win the series. Now, entering Wednesday’s Game 4, the Stars are now a massive -250 favorite while the Oilers are

going at +210 to rally to win and advance. Last week, when we projected the Stars to win in five games, the odds were +600 for the series result (Dallas 4-1) and +275 (for the total number of games) at the books. Entering Wednesday night, both of those results are going off at +270, so while there is only a nickel difference on the number of games, the value on the Stars winning in that five-game window has been sliced in half.

In relation to the props that we projected last week, our top play for the top goal scorer in the series was Zach Hyman of the Oilers, who went off at +350. He currently is second in the series as far as goals scored with a pair, leaving him tied with Connor McDavid. Jason Robertson of the Stars currently leads the series with three goals, as he posted a hat trick in Game 3 after being invisible in the first two games. Hyman still has the second-best odds to lead the series in goals at +270 with Robertson (+190) currently the odds-on favorite. For the top point-getter in the series, we went with Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers, who has been handcuffed by Dallas in the first three games. He has just one goal and no assists in the three games, leaving him tied for fifth on the Oilers and tied for 13th in the series overall. His odds have plummeted to +1800 so unless he gets hot in a hurry along with the rest of the Edmonton offense, the chances of him cashing are slim.

Edmonton has been strong in the opening period of the games in this series. Three of their seven goals in the series entering Wednesday’s Game 4 came in the opening period. Therein lies the problem for the Oilers: they have three goals in the opening period and three goals in the second period, but their offense dries up after that. Edmonton has been blitzed to the tune of 5-0 in the third period in this series and only McDavid’s double overtime goal in Game 1 has lit the lamp after the second intermission in the first three games. The Oilers own a 97-78 advantage in shots on goal in the first three games but Jake Oettinger (.928 save %) has outplayed Stuart Skinner (.897 save %) so far in the series. If Edmonton doesn’t find a way to solve Oettinger, it will be the end of the McDavid run in the postseason.

The playoffs roll on and we’ll find out who hoists the Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell Trophies to have a chance to battle for Lord Stanley’s chalice. We’ll see you back here next week!

Author Profile
Chris King

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.