The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs odds have officially been released ahead of the first round. Let's have a look at the NHL Playoff 2021 picks!
The North Division will certainly attract a lot of attention as both series feature some of the league's top stars.
In the first series, the top-ranked Toronto Maple Leafs will square off against the fourth place Montreal Canadiens. Anyone familiar with this historic rivalry knows that games between these two squads are often intense, not to mention close.
The Leafs look to have the edge, but anything can happen. Toronto and Montreal haven't met in a playoff series in 42 years, and neither has had much recent success in the postseason. Every possible underlying motivator will be present.
On the other side of the card, the second-place Edmonton Oilers will take on the third place Winnipeg Jets. It's hard to bet against a team featuring both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but many seem to think the lack of depth beneath them could be the Oilers' Achilles heal. Again.
With that being said, the Jets have been ice cold in recent weeks. Their roster hasn't exactly been the gold standard of health and wellness, showcased by their 2-8-0 record over their last 10 games. Can Connor Hellebuyck return to Vezina form in time for the big show?
If you're new to betting please stay informed and check out our various sports betting guides before making any wagers. Now, let's make some predictions!
These odds were last updated on Thursday, May 13th, 2021:
It's the playoffs series both fanbases have waited an eternity for. After years of trash-talking and 'what-ifs', the buds will finally take on the bleu-blanc-et-rouge in a seven-game showdown.
Despite the neck-and-neck nature of the rivalry, there's a reason the Maple Leafs have much lower odds. They're a deeper, more talented team than the Habs, and their 7-2-1 season-series record against them is evidence of that.
Another key factor is momentum. Right now, Toronto is hot while Montreal is not. In fact, the Habs' inability to score goals almost cost them their playoff spot.
All that considered, the NHL playoffs have always been an unpredictable beast. The Canadiens are also expecting multiple key players to return from injury ahead of game one including Carey Price, Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, and Phillip Danault.
In fact, the momentum gained from the return of these players could very well gift Montreal with an unlikely game one victory on the road.
The Maple Leafs have also dealt with their fair share of injuries this year and will be getting some reinforcements of their own. Notably, Zach Hyman and Riley Nash are expected to be on the Leafs' active roster ahead of game one which will naturally provide a boost. Especially defensively.
Montreal was hoping to be more competitive this year, especially considering the gains they made following an unlikely route of the Pittsburgh Penguins during last year's play-in round. Unfortunately, several key players haven't built upon that success this season. There's a lot more on the line for Toronto, a team that absolutely cannot afford another first-round exit.
Pick the Canadiens to win game one, but pick the Maple Leafs to win the series.
After another disappointing performance during last year's play-in round, the Edmonton Oilers are essentially desperate for playoff success.
This team has only won a single playoff series in the Connor McDavid era, and that is simply not good enough. Defence and goaltending remain a concern, even though Mike Smith had a much better season than expected. At 39 years old, injury and/or regression can hit at any time, and Mikko Koskinen hasn't played near well enough to be trusted during a playoff run.
The Oilers will certainly benefit from home-ice advantage and will come out guns blazing for game one. With that being said, their ability to hang with a team as complete as the Jets is up for debate. Seven playoff games is a tall task, and winning is a job that requires more than two stars putting the team on their backs.
Edmonton may have more firepower up front, but Winnipeg isn't exactly short on snipers themselves. Additionally, Connor Hellebuyck has the pedigree to steal games at any time, and the Jets' blue line is also an area of strength in comparison to the Oilers. Do you think Edmonton misses Oscar Klefbom yet?
Both teams are relatively healthy at the moment, so there isn't much ground to be gained there. The loss of Klefbom hurts more than the loss of Bryan Little, but the return of a Nikolaj Ehlers who isn't exactly 100% helps to more or less offset any potential advantage.
The Oilers will likely get off to a hot start and seem like a lock to win game one at home, but the Jets have a defensively superior roster that's far more likely to withstand the grind of a playoff series.
Pick the Oilers to win game one, but pick the Jets to win the series.
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