The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday night, and it’s shaping up to be yet another exciting postseason for hockey fans and bettors alike. The opening round features some intriguing matchups on the ice and in the sportsbooks. Every corner of the bracket features at least one series that draws my eye, especially in the Western Conference
The 2 vs 3 matchup in the Central Division features a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2018, the Winnipeg Jets, against a team that seems to have found its goalie of the present and the future in Jordan Binnington, that being the St. Louis Blues. Binnington’s 1.89 Goals Against Average in 2018-19 comes in 30starts and 32 appearances, though he’s never faced the Jets. The reigning Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights are an interesting pick at sportsbooks where the Sharks are favored, but that might be the most challenging series to call. As is the case at some other sportsbooks, this one might just be a toss-up.
In the East, keep an eye on the Islanders and Penguins series in the Metropolitan Division. New York is the higher seed in the bracket, but a slight betting underdog. Meanwhile, the team with the biggest offseason last summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs (who grabbed former Islander star John Tavares in free agency), are the 3 seed in their matchup with Boston. The only two Original 6 teams to qualify for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs should provide one of the most entertaining series of Round 1, and the Leafs finding themselves as the underdogs on the moneyline very well could provide one of the most intriguing betting options at the same time.
For an in-depth preview of all eight Round 1 series, check out the video on this page.