The Stanley Cup Final is finally upon us, with the Tampa Bay Lightning trying to win their third consecutive title. The Colorado Avalanche are trying to erase more than two decades of heartache, as they chase their first title since 2001. This betting guide gives some of the best plays for the series opener.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+135) vs Colorado Avalanche (-160)
The Colorado Avalanche have been the hottest team in the playoffs, sweeping through two of their first three opponents and going 12-2 in this postseason. They’ve been devastating in Game 1s, scoring 18 goals while going 3-0 in series openers. Colorado had five first-period goals against the Nashville Predators in the first round and took a 3-2 overtime win against St. Louis in the second round. Against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final, the Avs outlasted the Oilers 8-6.
Tampa Bay hasn’t gotten out of the gates as quickly, winning just two of three Game 1s, while getting outscored 11-2 in those losses. The slow starts haven’t hurt them, though, as they have won their last two playoff series cracking off four straight victories. Colorado’s favored in the series, and the home-ice advantage should play a role. Ball Arena should be rocking in Denver, so take the Avs (-160) to grab the opener.
Over/Under: Under 6 (-105)
As deadly as the Avalanche have been, they are running into a different defensive animal in Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the best goaltender they’ve faced this postseason, and it’s not even close. He’s chasing another Conn Smythe Trophy, and he’s locked in right now. In Tampa’s 10 games over the last two rounds, the total has gone over six goals just once, and Vasilevskiy has allowed more than one goal just three times in the last 11 games.
Get the latest odds, lines, props, picks & futures in your inbox everyday. Signup for our daily newsletter
Colorado has made some headlines with their penchant to put up big numbers, but those games haven’t been as prevalent in the playoffs as one might think. Over the past two rounds, the total has eclipsed six goals just as often as it hasn’t, hitting that number in five of the 10 contests. This should be a much tighter series than Colorado had when they were facing the likes of netminders Connor Ingram, Ville Husso, and Mike Smith. Expect a lower-scoring game and lean towards the under (U6, -105).
Prop Bet: Under 1.5 First Period Goals (+100)
Throughout the playoffs, the first period has been pretty uneventful for Tampa Bay. In the first periods of the Lightning’s 17 games this postseason, more than one goal has been scored just six times, and three of those were in their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tampa has really locked in since then, and there should be a tight start between these two teams in Game 1.
Colorado is coming off a long layoff after sweeping Edmonton, and they might be a little slower out of the gates. The Avs showed some rust after getting a week off following their first-round sweep of the Predators, needing overtime in the series opener against the Blues. Of course, the Avs could erupt at any time, but this is good value for there to be less than two goals scored in the first period of the series opener (+100).
Odds via BetMGM
The Hockey Writers & THWBets promotes responsible gaming, and provides this content as opinion and analysis with no guarantees or assurances.
For more information about responsible gambling, including help for problem gambling behaviour, please visit these great resource pages:
If you’re in Canada, Rogers Sports & Media has put together a great information and resources page.
If you’re in the United States, MGMResorts has a great page for gambling problem resources.