After a few days of darkness in the Stanley Cup playoffs (the first round was great, but didn’t it kinda suck not to have any Game 7s?), the action resumes once again tonight with both Western Conference semifinal series getting underway.
Nashville visits St. Louis and Anaheim hosts Edmonton in what oddsmakers suggest will be a pair of tight, low-scoring games. Both favourites in those games are -130 or less (Nashville and St. Louis is basically a pick ’em) and the Over/Under for each game is set at 5.
It’s always a little tricky getting involved in Game 1 of series, especially when teams have been off for an extended period of time. The Ducks and Predators both haven’t played in approximately a week after sweeping their first-round opponents, and who knows what impact that will have on their momentum and intensity levels.
But it’s also fun to bet on the action, so we’ve got a couple of recreational wagers for this evening that we’ve listed below. (We won’t be including these on our record, but just wanted to put a couple of opinions out there after a few days without hockey.)
Good luck if you’re betting on the games!
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.
Oddsmakers opened this line at St. Louis -135 and the money has come in on the Predators, driving the Blues down to nearly a pick ’em price at home. That looks like a pretty decent bargain when you consider the Blues’ record over the past two months, their home record for this year (25-13-5) and the Preds’ road record this season (19-20-4).
Nashville’s the flavour of the week after sweeping the Blackhawks, and full credit to the Preds for that. But we can’t discount how well St. Louis played in its first-round win over the Wild, especially the play of Jake Allen in net. The bookies had a few days to set the line for Game 1, and we don’t think they were 25 cents off. We’ll take the extra value on the Blues moneyline at -111 at 5Dimes (if you’re Canadian, you can even get -105 at Sports Interaction).
Going to cheer for some goals tonight in Anaheim. First games of series can be a bit of a letdown defensively for teams coming off lengthy series against rivals (like the Oilers did against San Jose), and the Ducks may let down a bit in their own end after not playing a game for the past week.
Anaheim’s offence has been firing for the past month, scoring 3 goals or more in 9 of its last 10 games. There’s the potential for them to be rusty, of course, but they’ve been practicing since their sweep of the Flames, not just sitting around. Edmonton averaged nearly 3 goals per game on the road this year and scored 3+ goals in each of its 4 meetings with the Ducks this year as well. Hopefully each team bags a couple tonight to guarantee a push in the worst-case scenario, and one of these teams can get to 4 to cash the Over 5 at -111 odds (we got this line at Pinnacle, but most sportsbooks are offering the Over in this price range).
If you’re feeling adventurous or just don’t want to stay up late to watch the entire game, the First Period Over 1.5 is an attractive +129 at Pinnacle. We’ll probably sprinkle a little bit on that as well.
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