2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs - What Early Odds to Take/Fade

With the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff format now in place, bookmakers have posted a variety of NHL betting options. SI Gambling insider Roy Larking provides some early predictions prior to the qualifying round.
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2020 NHL Playoff Betting Action is Now Available

After the regular season was cancelled on March 12, with 189 games remaining on the schedule, NHL action returns with five playoff games on Saturday, August 1, 2020. From first round qualifying series and individual game lines, to odds on the Conference and Stanley Cup winners, betting boards are loaded with playoff action. Odds below are via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Separated into Eastern and Western Conference bubble cities in Canada, Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, will host the first three rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton, Alberta, is the hub city for Western Conference teams plus the Conference and Stanley Cup Finals. The Maple Leafs and Oilers have the luxury of playing on home ice during the playoffs. 

While the start of the final three series may change - here are tentative start dates for the five NHL playoff rounds.

  • First Round Qualifying Series: Saturday, August 1
  • Conference Quarterfinal Series: Tuesday, August 11
  • Conference Semifinal Series: Tuesday, August 25
  • Conference Final Series: Tuesday, September 8
  • Stanley Cup Final: Tuesday, September 22

New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Metropolitan Division rivals clash when No. 6 seed Carolina battles No. 11 seed New York in the Eastern Conference qualifying round. The Hurricanes (38-25-5) finished two points ahead of the Rangers (37-28-5) in the regular season standings. New York has won five straight against Carolina and three of those wins were by at least two goals. The Rangers swept the four-game season series as they posted 5-3 and 3-2 wins at home plus 5-2 and 4-2 victories in Carolina. Back the underdog Blueshirts in this series.

Pick: New York Rangers (+112)

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Barely missing out as a top four qualifier, Edmonton (37-25-9) enters the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the West. The Oilers opening round best-of-five series is against No.12 Chicago (32-30-8) who qualified as the lowest seed in the West. Edmonton finished eleven points ahead of the Blackhawks in the final standings and these teams met three times during the regular season. Chicago won twice at home (3-1 and 4-3) and the Oilers won 5-3 in Edmonton. Playing on home ice gives the Oilers an advantage over the Hawks.

Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-164)

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

It will be strength vs. strength when No. 8 seed Toronto battles No. 9 seed Columbus. The Maple Leafs ranked third overall scoring 3.39 goals per game during the regular season. The Blue Jackets ranked third on defense allowing 2.61 goals per game. These teams split the season series as the Blue Jackets won 4-3 (OT) in Toronto and Maple Leafs won 4-1 in Columbus. Although fans won’t be in the stands, playing on home ice is an edge for Toronto. Bet on the Maple Leafs offense over the Blue Jackets defense.

Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (-166)

NHL Eastern Conference Championship Futures Odds

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Boston and Tampa Bay enter the playoffs as co-favorites to win the Eastern Conference Championship. The Bruins finished first overall in the final standings, with 100 points, and the Lightning were third with 92 points. Philadelphia was on a 9-1-0 run when the season was paused and the Flyers are the third favorite. Despite posting dismal results, prior to the pause, Washington and Pittsburgh round out the top five favorites. With lots of firepower, plus home ice advantage, Toronto leads the second tier chalk.

Eastern Conference Picks: Tampa Bay (+300) and Toronto (+1300)

NHL Western Conference Championship Futures Odds

Odds Via Fanduel Sportsbook

Odds Via Fanduel Sportsbook

Colorado, Vegas and defending Cup champion St. Louis lead the way as Western Conference favorites. All three teams were playing well as they each lost twice while posting a combined 23-6-1 record over the final ten games. Dallas leads the second tier favorites and were second overall with 2.52 GPG allowed on defense. A lack of scoring (2.58 GPG) is a red flag when considering the Stars. Leon Draisaitl (110) and Connor McDavid (97) led the NHL in scoring and Edmonton has home ice advantage as the fifth favorite.

Western Conference Picks: Colorado (+325) and Edmonton (+1000)

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