Kent Tukeli | Wed 11/04/2018 - 14:17 EDT

NHL Picks & Pucklines Tonight: Playoffs 2018 Opening Games

NHL Picks & Pucklines Tonight: Playoffs 2018 Opening Games

Jets And Pens Big Favorites In NHL Playoff Opener

The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs begin with what should be the two most lopsided mismatches of the first round. Winnipeg draws Minnesota to begin the post season odyssey, a couple of weeks after the Wild’s top defenseman, Ryan Suter, broke a fibula. Pittsburgh meets Philadelphia for the latest edition of the Battle of Pennsylvania, but the Flyers will be unlikely to proceed because of inadequate goaltending. Neither Minny nor Philly appear likely to resist the Pens and the Jets world-class attack.

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round will be the Kings and the Golden Knights. Los Angeles boasts a playoff-tested lineup which rebounded from a difficult 2016-17 to earn a first-round pairing with the best expansion team in NHL history. Vegas will need to prove doubters wrong once against despite a stellar regular season. The Kings league-best defense and impressive Stanley Cup pedigree will present the steepest challenge of the Golden Knights inaugural campaign.

Oddsmakers appear tentative to begin the playoffs, giving big puckline payouts for the Jets and the Penguins. The Kings as moneyline underdogs also represents a superb opportunity to benefit from Los Angeles air-tight defense and Stanley Cup experience.


NHL Straight Up Picks & Puckline Predictions

  • Minnesota at Winnipeg: Bet Jets Puckline (-1.5, +155)
  • Philadelphia at Pittsburgh: Bet Penguins Puckline (-1.5, +155)
  • Los Angeles at Vegas: Bet Kings SU (+105)

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NHL Playoffs - Best Picks & Pucklines

Wild at Jets – Bet Winnipeg Puckline (-1.5, +155)

Minnesota face the impossible challenge of replacing more than 26 minutes of elite defense now that Ryan Suter’s out for the rest of the season. The Wild needed everybody playing at peak productivity to stand a chance at upsetting the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, and now they’ll need to lean on Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin to fend off Winnipeg’s elite attack without the steadying influence of Suter. The Jets won 78% of their home games this season, so there’s no reason to bet against Winnipeg tonight.

Flyers at Penguins – Bet Pittsburgh Puckline (-1.5, +155)

Philly has the second-worst goal differential of any NHL playoff team, highlighting the goaltending issues which prevents the Flyers from becoming an elite threat in the eastern conference. Stats show that the Penguins allowed seven more goals than Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh tightened up defensively in the second half after a horrible beginning to the 2017-18 season. The defending Stanley Cup champs should begin their post season with a puckline victory over Philadelphia, continuing their dominance over the Flyers. Philly’s dropped four straight against the Pens, including two puckline losses.

Kings at Golden Knights – Bet Los Angeles SU (+105)

Los Angeles earned a playoff spot with a superb stretch run in late February and March, finishing the regular season with the fewest goals allowed in the NHL. The Kings also enjoyed renaissance seasons from vital contributors, including Kopitar, Doughty, Brown and Quick, all of whom were responsible for a pair of Stanley Cup wins this decade. Vegas proved everyone wrong by winning the Pacific Division, but a defensive-minded, playoff-hardened Kings club will reduce the luster of the Golden Knights with a gritty start to the post season.

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