Kent Tukeli | Wed 11/04/2018 - 18:52 EDT

2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference First Round Betting Preview

2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference First Round Betting Preview

NHL Eastern Conference First Round Playoff Preview

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins 

Series Winner

Toronto: +111

Boston: -130

Series Prediction

Boston Defeats Toronto In Six (+454)

Most Series Points

Auston Matthews (+105) vs Brad Marchand (+105)

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t defeated the Boston Bruins in the playoffs since 1959, with their most recent post season meeting resulting in an infamous game-seven, third period comeback victory for the Bruins. Both clubs have changed drastically since 2013, but Boston’s advantage remains the same. Toronto’s defense hasn’t progressed significantly since last season, while Boston protects their net with fervor. The Leafs won’t wilt, but Boston’s a tougher matchup than the Capitals last year, likely to win in six or seven games.

New Jersey Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Series Winner

New Jersey: +275

Tampa Bay: -356

Series Prediction

Tampa Bay Defeats New Jersey In Four (+551)

Most Series Points

Taylor Hall (+120) vs Nikita Kucherov (-111)

Taylor Hall should be the runaway winner of the Hart Trophy, dragging the Devils to a playoff spot with 93 points in 76 games. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s next best scoring threat was Nico Hischier with 52 points, a 41-point dropoff. Tampa’s far too deep to drop this series, deploying seven 50-point players and six 20-goal scorers. New Jersey might sneak away with a victory, but wagering on Tampa in four games features a superb payout of +551. 

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Washington Capitals

Series Winner

Columbus: +105

Washington: -125

Series Prediction

Columbus Defeats Washington In Seven (+566)

Most Series Points

Artemi Panerin (+120) vs Alex Ovechkin (-111)

One of the best candidates for a first round upset would be the Columbus Blue Jackets, who played themselves into the playoffs with a ten-game win streak in late March. The Capitals enter the post season with a goalie controversy, starting Philipp Grubauer over Vezina winner Braden Holtby. This could also turn into the first positive playoff experience for Sergei Bobrovsky, the best NHL goalie without a series win. Expect Bobrovsky to steal a couple of games in a grueling, seven-game series.

Philadelphia Flyers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Series Winner

Philadelphia: +195

Pittsburgh: -239

Series Prediction

Pittsburgh Defeats Philadelphia In Five (+331)

Most Series Points

Claude Giroux (+114) vs Sidney Crosby (-105)

A revolving door of goaltenders nearly derailed the Flyers return to the playoffs, requiring 102 points from Claude Giroux to clinch during the last week. Brian Elliot doesn’t have a terrific post season record, especially after Calgary’s collapse in the first round last year. Pittsburgh coasted into Stanley Cup tournament with a strong second half, and the trio of Crosby, Malkin and Kessel should produce tons of offense against Philly. A gentleman’s sweep for the Penguins seems like the most likely outcome.

Best Pick To Win The Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins (+375)

Boston and Tampa will tear each other apart for the right to face the Penguins in the conference finals, while Pittsburgh’s bracket in the Metro will present less of a challenge compared to last year. Pittsburgh superstars and their incredible firepower overshadow the sheer resilience of the club. Barring an injury to Murray or their big three, Pittsburgh should be considered the favorites to make it out of the east.

Best Dark Horse – Eastern Conference

Columbus Blue Jackets (+1200)

The Blue Jackets have been a streaky club over the past couple of years. When they enter a strong winning trend, Columbus becomes extremely difficult to beat, making them a potential threat in a relatively soft Metro bracket. If Bobrovsky sheds his playoff drought, he could steal a couple of series on his own, similar to Giguere and the Ducks during the early 2000s.

Category : NHL

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