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2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Tips – Round 1

Jon and DerekWelcome to our NHL Stanley Cup playoff picks page for Round 1 of the playoffs.

This page will list our recommended picks for all 8 first-round series, along with the sportsbook that offers the best odds on each of those picks.

Note that 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 Kings have a better chance of advancing to Round 2 than the Sharks, simply because of home-ice advantage if nothing else. But at +150 odds, we think there’s tons of value on San Jose, so we’re taking them.

If you’re looking for 2016 Stanley Cup odds, you can view them on our Stanley Cup futures page. There, we’ve listed where to get the best Stanley Cup odds on every team in the playoffs.

One more thing before we get started: These series prices were current as of Monday evening. They 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 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.

Blackhawks Logo VS Pick Blues Logo
Series: Blackhawks @ Blues
Starts: Wednesday, April 13 @ 9:35PM ET
Pick: Blues +100 (William Hill)

Take the logos off each of these teams’ jerseys, and there’s no question St. Louis should be favoured in this series. The Blues have home-ice advantage, they won the season series (though all 3 of St. Louis’ wins came in OT or a shootout), they were the better team down the stretch, and Chicago’s playing the opening game without its top defenceman (Keith) and a rusty goalie (Crawford has played 1 game in the last month). The only reason not to take the Blues is because of their history of going out in the first round, and Chicago’s championship pedigree. But at even odds, we simply have to take St. Louis here.

Bet this game at William Hill – 100% free play bet to $100!

Rangers Logo VS Pick Penguins Logo
Series: Rangers @ Penguins
Starts: Wednesday, April 13 @ 8:05PM ET
Pick: Penguins -118 (William Hill)

We were looking back at the Stanley Cup futures odds from mid January and saw the Penguins paying nearly 30:1. Now they’re one of the Cup favourites, after closing the regular season on a huge run despite playing without Malkin and Fleury. The Rangers have been inconsistent all year, could be without McDonagh and have a banged-up Nash. It’s a little dicey riding a Penguins team with goaltending questions so this isn’t our favourite bet of Round 1, but getting close to even odds on Pittsburgh is enough to pull the trigger.

Bet this game at William Hill – 100% free play bet to $100!

Sharks Logo VS Pick Kings Logo
Series: Sharks @ Kings
Starts: Thursday, April 14 @ 10:35PM ET
Pick: Sharks +150 (William Hill)

Pure value play here. Like we said in the intro, LA deserves to be the favourite here and will likely win the series. But these odds suggest the Sharks have only a 40% chance of winning this series, and we think San Jose deserves better than that. They were only 4 points behind the Kings in the Pacific, and the Sharks also had a bad start before coming on in the second half. They should also be motivated to erase the memories of blowing a 3-0 series lead over the Kings 2 years ago.

Bet this game at William Hill – 100% free play bet to $100!

Red Wings Logo VS Pick Lightning Logo
Series: Red Wings @ Lightning
Starts: Wednesday, April 13 @ 7:05PM ET
Pick: Red Wings +142 (Pinnacle)

There’s something about Detroit at playoff time. The Red Wings stepped up their game in the final couple of weeks when they were in danger of missing the post-season, and a team with Datsyuk and Zetterberg is always dangerous when the chips are down. Tampa’s been decimated by injuries lately, especially the loss of Stamkos, which has to be devastating to the psyche of the team. We don’t see Detroit as a Cup threat, but they’re certainly a threat to win Round 1, and at +142 odds to boot.

Bet this game at Pinnacle – The best NHL odds online!

Flyers Logo VS Pick Capitals Logo
Series: Flyers @ Capitals
Starts: Thursday, April 14 @ 7:05PM ET
Pick: Capitals -265 (Pinnacle)

We were awfully, awfully close to taking the Flyers here. After all, Philadelphia was one of the NHL’s best teams down the stretch, while Washington was spinning its wheels. But we can’t forget how dominant the Capitals were before they locked up first in the NHL and basically put things in cruise control for the final month. We also question the Flyers’ ability to maintain such a high level (15-6-2 last 23 games) of play, considering they were basically a .500 team before that. Philly’s the sexy pick because they’re hot, the Caps have a long history of playoff chokejobs and because the Flyers pays huge odds, but Washington deserves the hefty price tag. If you want to reduce your risk, Pinnacle allows you to bet the Capitals -1.5 in the series (which means winning the series in 6 games or less) at -130 odds instead.

Bet this game at Pinnacle – The best NHL odds online!

Islanders Logo VS Pick Panthers Logo
Series: Islanders @ Panthers
Starts: Thursday, April 14 @ 8:05PM ET
Pick: Islanders +135 (BetOnline)

When we were comparing our Stanley Cup playoff picks for Round 1, this was the one series where we disagreed. Derek liked the Panthers up to -145, while Jon sees this as more of a toss-up and feels +135 on the Islanders is great value. We’re going with the Islanders as our official pick at a plus price, but really you could make arguments for both sides. The things to like about Florida is their veteran presence (Jagr, Luongo, etc.), home-ice advantage and the question marks for the Islanders in goal. New York, however, gained some great experience last year by taking the Capitals to a 7th game and appear poised to take the next step.

Bet this game at BetOnline – 25% Free Play to $1,000!

Wild Logo VS Pick Stars Logo
Series: Wild @ Stars
Starts: Thursday, April 14 @ 9:35PM ET
Pick: Stars -188 (William Hill)

We think Dallas’ goaltending will catch up to them eventually, but it should be good enough to get the Stars past Minnesota in Round 1. The Wild enters the playoffs in a serious tailspin, and we don’t think a few days off will get them out of it. Meanwhile, Dallas has played very strong hockey all year (except for a slump in January), especially at home. With the Stars armed with home-ice advantage and much more offensive firepower, we can see the potential for a short series and a comfortable Dallas win.

Bet this game at William Hill – 100% free play bet to $100!

 

Good luck!

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What do you think about Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs? Let us know!