Welcome to our NHL Stanley Cup playoff picks page for Round 2 of the playoffs.
This page will list our recommended picks for all 4 second-round series, 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.
And remember, these 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.
For example, the Penguins are playing the Capitals. At even odds, we’d like the Capitals because they should be the favourite. But if the Penguins were +200, we’d like the Penguins because they shouldn’t be that big of an underdog.
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 every team 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.
We took the Islanders last series against Florida because it was the first taste of the playoffs for many of the Panthers’ young players, while New York’s core had the experience of taking Washington to 7 games in the first round last year.
The Lightning obviously doesn’t suffer from the same playoff inexperience as the Panthers, having gone to the Cup final last year. But it seems the Islanders are finally over the hump of winning a playoff series, and we think they can continue that momentum in Round 2.
New York went 2-1 on the road last series, so not having home-ice advantage may not be that big of a deal here. The Islanders also won all three OT games in the series and rallied in the final minute to tie Game 6, showing an ability to come through when the game is on the line. And Tavares is playing out of his mind right now. If New York’s second and third lines can start producing as well, this team will be tough to beat – especially if Greiss keeps playing the way he has.
Tampa made short work of Detroit in Round 1, but beating the Red Wings doesn’t quite mean what it used to. The longer the Lightning plays without Stamkos (he has started skating with the team, but is still unlikely to return for Round 2), the more they’ll feel his absence. It’s easier to ‘step up’ for a missing teammate in the short term, but it’s asking a lot to do it each and every night for a couple of months.
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This pick is based purely on value. You can argue the Penguins are the hotter team (and they are). But before Washington may have lost a bit of motivation and focus in the last 2 months because they basically had first place in the NHL already clinched, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the league. We feel they deserve to be a bigger favourite in this series than they are.
The Caps had just 6 regulation losses before Christmas. They had a 12-game winning streak at home. They were 49-13-4 before shutting things down a bit down the stretch.
Pittsburgh went 3-2 against Washington during the regular season (the Caps were 2-2-1) and closed the regular season on a 14-2 run, then easily took care of the Rangers in Round 1. They’re an easy team to like with Crosby, Malkin, Letang and a hot rookie netminder in Matt Murray.
But this line is basically giving Washington a slight edge because of home-ice advantage, and suggesting the teams are pretty much equal. We think the Caps should be favoured by more (-140 range) based on their entire body of work.
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If the Islanders got over a hump by winning their first-round series, the Blues got over a mountain. There was talk that if St. Louis lost Monday night and blew a 3-1 series lead over the Blackhawks, the whole organization would have been blown up, from coaches to star players. Now the Blues can breathe a collective sigh of relief and play a bit more loose and confidently.
Dallas has been a really fun team to watch all season and we love their offensive-minded style. But our concern about the Stars all year has been about their defence – particularly their goaltending – and we think this is where St. Louis holds a major advantage.
The Blues pay the same odds as Dallas in this series despite not having home-ice advantage. We don’t think that’s a mistake by the oddsmakers. It wouldn’t surprise us to see St. Louis start this series slowly, maybe with a bit of a hangover from the Chicago series, but the Blues should pick up steam as Round 2 goes along and we expect them to take care of the Stars.
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We planned to take the Sharks in this series and badly wanted to, but the oddsmakers have priced us out of a bet here. San Jose is a -175 favourite at BetOnline, while the Predators are +155. If you bet the Sharks at this number, they’d have to win the series 63.6% of the time just in order for you to break even.
We really like what we’ve seen out of San Jose, but the Predators deserve more respect for what they accomplished as well. They won 3 of 4 games in Anaheim and overcame the mental challenge of blowing a 2-0 series lead and having to win their final 2 games to avoid elimination.
Again, we like the Sharks here, but not at this price. We’ll wait to see how the first game or two goes to see if we can get a better line (if Nashville wins Game 1 or splits in San Jose, that’ll happen). Or you can take the Sharks -1.5 in the series (to win in 6 games or less) at +111 odds at Pinnacle Sports.
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