NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Best Bets: Islanders and Lightning Face Off in Eastern Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Final action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins today as the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning meet in Game 1. SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking previews the action with his best bets.
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Dallas and Vegas opened the 2020 NHL Western Conference Finals on Sunday. The Stars posted a 1-0 win over the Golden Knights. Game 1 was a hard-hitting affair as the total hits were 49-47 in favor of Dallas. It will be interesting to see if either offense can bounce back during Game 2 on Tuesday. Following three playoff rounds in the East bubble, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, New York and Tampa Bay are now in the West bubble at Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton. Game time for the Islanders vs Lightning Game 1 clash is at 8:00 PM ET.

Prior to previewing Game 1, and NHL East Final championship futures odds, here is look at some trends from the quarterfinal and semifinal series. 

Scoring went up from 5.42 goals per game, during 53 first round matches, to 6.04 GPG over 26 second round contests. UNDER has a 38-31 edge on OVER on game total wagers. Underdogs are being crushed 42-27 by moneyline chalk that went 16-10 in the semifinals to earn a +300.97 profit. Puck line pups are up 50-19 but spread favorites went 11-1 in the second round and paid a +191.65 return.

2020 NHL Eastern Conference Finals Schedule

· Game 1: New York at Tampa Bay on Monday, September 7 at 8:00 PM ET 

· Game 2: New York at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, September 9 at 8:00 PM ET

· Game 3: Tampa Bay at New York on Friday, September 11 at 8:00 PM ET

· Game 4: Tampa Bay at New York on Sunday, September 13 at 3:00 PM ET

· Game 5: New York at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, September 15 at 8:00 PM ET*

· Game 6: Tampa Bay at New York on Thursday, September 17 at 8:00 PM ET*

· Game 7: New York at Tampa Bay on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 PM ET*

* If Necessary - All Games at Rogers Place, Edmonton

The Hockey News: Dallas Defenseman John Klingberg Is Unsung Hero in Game 1

NHL Eastern Conference Final Picks - Monday, September 7

New York at Tampa Bay – 8:00 PM ET Rogers Place Arena

Tampa Bay (43-21-6) finished second in the Atlantic Division regular season standings. The Lightning entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the East. Tampa Bay retained their ranking for the final four playoff rounds after posting a 2-1 record in the qualifying series. Tampa Bay drew bitter rival No. 7 seed Columbus in the quarterfinal round and eliminated the Blue Jackets by a 4-1 count. After losing Game 1 to Boston, the Lightning won four straight contests to eliminate the Bruins 4-1 during the semifinals for the second year in a row.

Running hot and cold, at various times during the regular season, New York (35-23-10) finished sixth overall in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division. The Islanders began the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and moved up to the No. 6 seed after defeating Florida 3-1 in their best-of-five qualifying series. New York won the first three games and then finished off Washington by a 4-1 count in the quarterfinal round. Meeting No. 1 seed Philadelphia, in the East semifinals, New York won a hard fought series 4-3 to eliminate the Flyers.

Eastern Conference Final Game 1 Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (-150)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - Game Time 8:00 PM ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - Game Time 8:00 PM ET

Islanders vs Lightning 2020 NHL Eastern Conference Final Future Odds

New York returns to the NHL “Frozen Four” round for the first time since losing 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens way back during the 1993 East Finals. Regular contenders recently, Tampa Bay is playing in the East Finals for the fourth time over the last six seasons. The Lightning won 4-3 against the NY Rangers in 2015 prior to losing 4-3 to Pittsburgh in 2016 and 4-3 to Washington in 2018. The Islanders won two regular season contests (5-2 and 5-1) before the Lightning posted a 3-1 win in the final meeting back on February 8. 2020.

2020 NHL Eastern Conference Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 (+415)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

For more NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Coverage, check out our new partnership with The Hockey News.

SI NHL gambling analyst Roy Larking has been posting game day playoff picks since August 3rd, 2020. His overall record is 40-34 (+930.35) through Sunday, September 7, 2020. While all picks are carefully researched – predicting the future is not always easy. Bettors are encouraged to explore a variety of NHL information prior to placing any wagers. Bet smart and good luck!

Dallas and Vegas opened the 2020 NHL Western Conference Finals on Sunday. The Stars posted a 1-0 win over the Golden Knights. Game 1 was a hard-hitting affair as the total hits were 49-47 in favor of Dallas. It will be interesting to see if either offense can bounce back during Game 2 on Tuesday. Following three playoff rounds in the East bubble, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, New York and Tampa Bay are now in the West bubble at Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton. Game time for the Islanders vs Lightning Game 1 clash is at 8:00 PM ET.

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