Welcome to our NHL Stanley Cup playoff picks page for Round 3 of the playoffs, the conference finals.
This page will list our recommended picks for both conference finals, along with the sportsbook that offers the best odds on each of those picks.
We enjoyed a fantastic Round 1 with our series bets, going 6-2 – including underdog winners on the Sharks (+150) and Islanders (+135) – for 3.7 units. We took a small step back in Round 2, going 1-2 for -1.1 units. So overall, we’re 7-4 on our series bets for +2.6 units.
And remember, these series picks aren’t necessarily based on who is more likely to win the series. They are simply based on the odds, and that’s a big difference.
If you’re looking for 2016 Stanley Cup odds, we have updated them on our Stanley Cup futures page. There, we’ve listed where to get the best Stanley Cup odds on all four teams still alive in the playoffs.
One more thing before we get started: These series prices can fluctuate greatly, so make sure to double-check the odds at all the sportsbooks we use (Pinnacle Sports, Bodog, Bet365, Sports Interaction and William Hill) before you make any bets of your own.
There can be a big difference on the series betting lines depending on which sportsbook you use. It’s just another example of why it pays to have accounts at several different NHL sportsbooks.
Alright, let’s take a look at some series bets. (Just FYI, we don’t track futures and props on our posted record.)
Odds below are at the time we made the pick. Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
Pittsburgh is a -200 favourite to win this series at every sportsbook we checked. That’s too rich for our blood, but we don’t want Tampa +180 either because we really like the Penguins in this series. So we’ll take them on the series handicap instead, which requires Pittsburgh to win this series 4-2, 4-1 or 4-0.
The Penguins have defeated the Rangers and Capitals to get here, no easy road for sure. Pittsburgh has gone 8-3 against those opponents, however, continuing a late-season surge with Matt Murray in net. We’ve seen teams in the past that ride a rookie goalie’s hot hand to a Stanley Cup (Canadiens with Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, Hurricanes with Cam Ward) and the Penguins just have that feel to them right now. They beat Washington without even getting much at all from Crosby and Malkin.
We’ve gone against Tampa in each of the first two series, and we were totally wrong to do that. The Lightning has been impressive with how it’s continued to roll without Stamkos. But let’s not forget they beat the Red Wings and the Islanders, two teams that you could hardly consider Stanley Cup contenders. They’re also without home-ice advantage in this series, and they’ve had a pretty long layoff since beating New York that could potentially hurt them in Game 1 tonight.
Bet365 had the best odds on this at +120. Pinnacle posted +109, and several other books had this at the even money range.
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We consider this series to be a pretty even matchup so we’ll grab plus money with San Jose. Not much separates these two teams in our opinions. They’ve both been serious Cup contenders in the past that have fallen short of expectations, and each seems capable of winning the Stanley Cup this year.
The Sharks were very impressive in taking down the Kings in Round 1, then struggled a bit to put away the Predators (but let’s not forget they had two OT losses in that series). San Jose was the league’s best road team during the regular season but people worried about their play at home. Funnily enough, the Sharks went 4-0 at home against Nashville and went 0-3 on the road. We like how San Jose has put things together on home ice (they won Game 5 and Game 7 by a combined score of 10-1) and feel that they’re still quite able to win on the road as well.
St. Louis is very similar to the Sharks. They took down a heavyweight in Round 1, beating the Blackhawks, and then had to go 7 games to win the second round against Dallas. The Blues won three road games versus the Stars but struggled at home, going 1-2. Home ice advantage doesn’t seem to be a big deal for St. Louis but the series price suggests that it is.
Again, this series could easily go either way. But on a coin flip proposition, as we think this one is, we’ve got to take +118 with San Jose.
A note on this pick: Most sportsbooks are listing San Jose at +400 odds to win the Stanley Cup. So you might want to take the Sharks on the Cup futures at +400 instead of +118 to win the West. If San Jose wins this series, you’d then have the Sharks at +400 to beat Pittsburgh or Tampa, or you could hedge by betting the other side at no worse than -200 on the Penguins.
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