NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Best Bets - Tuesday, August 11th

Roy Larking

Following nine days of thrilling qualifying action, which featured 24 teams, there are 16 squads left in the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup playoff race. There are four best-of-seven rounds remaining on the NHL postseason schedule and four of the eight quarterfinal series begin today. Having hub cities in Edmonton and Toronto makes things easy from a scheduling standpoint. Teams are scheduled to play on back-to-back days just once during the quarterfinal playoff round.

Columbus vs. Tampa Bay - 3:00 PM ET Scotiabank Arena

Tampa Bay is the No. 2 seed and the designated home team versus No. 7 seed Columbus in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The Lightning defeated Washington (3-2 SO) and Boston (3-2) before losing to Philadelphia (4-1) during the East round-robin tournament. Columbus traded leads with Toronto before posting a 3-2 series win in the qualifying round.

Columbus and Tampa Bay played just one regular season game and the Lightning won 2-1 in overtime on the road. The Blue Jackets shocked Tampa Bay with a 4-0 sweep during the opening round of the playoffs last season. Steve Stamkos and Victor Hedman are questionable for the Lightning. Bet on Columbus scoring a Game 1 upset victory versus the Lightning.

Game 1 Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)

Calgary vs. Dallas - 5:30 PM ET Roger Place Arena

Kicking off the 2020 Western quarterfinal playoffs - Dallas is the No. 3 seed and designated home team in Game 1 versus No. 6 seed Calgary. The Stars lost to Vegas (5-3) and Colorado (4-0) before defeating St. Louis (2-1 SO) in the West round-robin series. Outscoring the injury-riddled Jets, by a 16-6 margin, the Flames defeated Winnipeg 3-1 in the West qualifying round.

Calgary took two of three regular season meetings as they won 3-2 (SO) and 5-1 in Dallas. In between those two contests - the Stars posted a 3-1 victory in Calgary. Prior to this season, the Stars were riding a six-game winning streak against the Fames. I am betting on the Calgary offense being better than the Dallas defence during Game 1 of this West quarterfinal series.

Game 1 Pick: Calgary Flames (+100)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Carolina vs. Boston - 8:00 PM ET Scotiabank Arena

Game 1 of the second Eastern Conference quarterfinal series features No. 4 seed Boston as the designated home team versus No. 5 seed Carolina. The Bruins went 0-3 during the East round-robin series as they lost to Philadelphia (4-1), Tampa Bay (3-2) and Washington (2-1). Carolina recorded the only qualifying round sweep with a 3-0 series win over the NY Rangers.

Scheduled to play three times, these teams met once during the regular season and Boston posted a 2-0 win at home against Carolina. Prior to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, the Bruins swept the Hurricanes 4-0 during the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins are 10-1 over the last eleven meetings against Carolina. Bet on the Hurricanes posting a Game 1 upset victory.

Game 1 Pick: Carolina Hurricanes (+115)

Chicago vs Vegas - 10:30 PM ET Rogers Place Arena

Game 1 of the second Western Conference quarterfinal series has No. 1 seed Vegas as the designated home team versus No. 8 seed Chicago. The Golden Knights went 3-0 in the West round-robin series as they defeated Dallas (5-3), St. Louis (6-4) and Colorado (4-3 OT). Chicago outscored Edmonton 16-15 and the Blackhawks upset the Oilers 3-1 in the qualifying round.

Vegas posted a 2-1 shootout victory on the road and a 5-1 win at home against Chicago during the regular season. In between those contests, the Blackhawks won 5-3 in Las Vegas. Now in their third NHL season, the Golden Knights are 8-1 all-time against Chicago. Leaning towards Chicago, as the Game 1 upset winner, I am betting on the game total going OVER in this contest.

Game 1 Pick: OVER 6.5 goals (+100)