When it comes to the NHL picks, the Tampa Bay Lightning is still viewed as the cream of the crop. The oddsmakers appear fairly confident that the Lightning will be back in the final in 2021 to defend their Stanley Cup title. In a series of Stanley Cup final exact matchup wagers, Tampa is included in the top two favoured wagers, as well as in four of the eight best bets.
Who are the two teams that will make it to the Stanley Cup Final?
Which 2021 Stanley Cup final exact matchup are you going to within your NHL picks? Will it be the Tampa Bay Lighting facing the Colorado Avalanche, or perhaps you think that the Lightning is destined to face the Vegas Golden Knights.
Both matchups are given co-favourite status at 19.00, just ahead of 21.00 odds being offered on either the Golden Knights or Avalanche squaring off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
|Colorado vs Tampa Bay|
|Vegas vs Tampa Bay|
|Colorado vs Toronto|
|Vegas vs Toronto|
|Colorado vs Boston|
|Vegas vs Boston|
|Tampa Bay vs Toronto|
|Tampa Bay vs Boston|
Bettors can go for a mid-range selection such as the Washington Capitals vs the Montreal Canadiens at 76.00, of they could play the intriguing possibility of a Connor McDavid-Sidney Crosby showdown in an Edmonton Oilers-Pittsburgh Penguins matchup. Surprisingly, a meeting of these two superstars is among the longest shots on the board a 176.00.
New Playoff Format
The NHL regular season was adjusted to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, with realignment, intra-divisional play only and a shortened 56-game campaign. The playoffs are also taking on a new format for this unique season.
Teams will continue to play within their divisions for the first two rounds until there are four division winners left standing. There won’t be conference finals as in past seasons. Instead, the four surviving teams will be seeded 1-4 based on regular-season performance. The top seed will play the fourth-seeded team in one semi-final series, with two and three clashing for the other spot in the Stanley Cup final.
Look For Value
As last year’s return to play Stanley Cup playoff competition displayed, betting favorites in such a unique format isn’t always the most prudent approach. While most hockey prognosticators had the Lightning pencilled in as a Cup finalist, not even the most optimistic Dallas Stars fan had their club reaching the final series in the Stanley Cup odds.
Likewise, the upstart Vancouver Canucks weren’t pegged as getting to Game 7 of the second round, nor where the New York Islanders viewed as a potential final four squad.
With another unusual format in place this season, don’t be afraid to expect the unexpected when it comes to your NHL playoff picks. It’s already a certainty that the Cup final won’t be a rematch. The NHL alignment resulted in the Stars and Lightning both being slotted into the Central Division.
Historically, the Stars aren’t a good bet to get back to the final. Since 1984, just one losing finalist – the 2008-09 Penguins – returned to the final the following season.
The Avalanche Won’t Fall
As was the case with the Lightning’s win last season, the Avalanche have been steadily building toward a title for the past few seasons. They’ve gone one step further in the playoffs each year, and look poised to go all the way in 2021.
Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon established in last year’s playoffs that his name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Hart Trophy winners McDavid and Crosby. The Avs are deep at forward, and talented on defense. Management has done a fine job of building depth and providing the team with a mix of players who’ve experienced long Stanley Cup runs with other clubs.
Maple Leafs Ready To Make Believers Of Us All
So much talent, so little playoff success. The Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004. However, with the likes of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, eventually their time must come. And that time looks to be now.
Placed in the all-Canadian North Division, Toronto doesn’t figure to run up against a relentless checking team built like Boston, Washington, or Columbus, three clubs that pushed Toronto out of the postseason in recent playoff years.
The Leafs should emerge from that division. Then they’ll be one series win away from their appointed destiny against the Avalanche.
Where To Bet On The NHL
There are a number of leading online sports betting sites that will provide bettors the chance to place a wager on the NHL. The best bet you can make is to shop around in advance and seek out the right deal before joining one of these sportsbooks. Check out Sports Interaction and Bet365 as examples.
The signup bonus offers that are in place at all of these recommended sites will prove advantageous to the bettor. And since you’ll get a good deal wherever you go, why not shop around and find the best fit for your needs?
Do you want a risk-free first bet as a signup bonus? Perhaps you find a no-deposit bonus to be enticing. Or maybe you simply like the feel of cold, hard cash in your account and you want to go for a matching first deposit bonus. Whatever option you choose, you’re already a winner.
Remember that new players and returning customers are eligible for better bonuses when they deposit using Bitcoin. As well, take advantage of the betting advice offered at these sites to help newcomers acclimatize to sports betting.
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: