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