NHL Betting: Top Picks for First Round Series Bets

Many look to individual games for betting, but there is also a lot of value in choosing the series winner before the puck drops. This betting guide delivers some value picks for series betting on four first-round series. These odds will fluctuate throughout each series, as well, giving bettors the truest odds before the first game is played.

Pittsburgh Penguins (-122) vs New York Rangers (+100)

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin has also been as difficult for the Penguins to solve as 1,000 Rubik’s Cubes. Shesterkin is 3-1 against Pittsburgh this season, and the lone loss was a 1-0 defeat on Feb. 26. He’s stopped 97 of 101 shots against the Penguins, boasting a 1.01 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage. That gives the Rangers a lot of value.

Igor Shesterkin New York Rangers
Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The odds for this series are close, but getting even money for the New York Rangers is too good to pass up. Pittsburgh managed just four goals against the Rangers in the four games, and that doesn’t look like the recipe for success in the postseason. New York has won just one of its last four games, but these are favorable odds for the Rangers in this matchup and won’t be this good for long.

St. Louis Blues (+120) vs Minnesota Wild (-148)

This series features some of the closest odds in the first round, but maybe it shouldn’t. The St. Louis Blues are the underdogs here, and this number has maybe the most value out of any in the first round. St. Louis won all three regular-season games against the Wild and are actually 12-1-1 against Minnesota over the past three seasons.

The Blues were just four points behind the Wild in the final standings, and they’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL entering the playoffs at 14-2-2 since March 28. This series will likely be tight, and there are decent odds on the series going six or seven games (both +194).

Carolina Hurricanes (-128) vs. Boston Bruins (+104)

To say the Carolina Hurricanes dominated the Boston Bruins this season would not be fair. They crushed Boston in every sense of the word. Carolina won all three games in the season series, recording two shutouts and outscoring the Bruins by a combined 16-1. Boston’s only goal was a power-play tally from Patrice Bergeron in the middle of a five-goal first period by Carolina on Jan. 18. The Canes won that game 7-1.

Frederik Andersen Carolina Hurricanes
Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boston hasn’t scored more than two goals against the Hurricanes since the 2019 Playoffs. Carolina has also won six in a row heading into the postseason, and they look primed for a long run. The Hurricanes should be much heavier favorites against the Bruins in this first-round matchup, making their opening odds of -128 in this series pretty attractive.

Colorado Avalanche (-430) vs. Nashville Predators (+320)

This might sound crazy, but there is some value in the Nashville Predators here. This is clearly the longest shot out of the four picks, but it is worth looking at, considering Nashville’s success against the Colorado Avalanche this season. Nashville won three of the four games, allowing just eight goals in the process. Four of those Avs goals came in their last meeting, a 5-4 shootout win for Nashville on April 28.

Clearly, the Avalanche are heavy favorites based on their regular season and are currently the odds on favorites to lift the Stanley Cup. However, this series should be close. Getting better than 3-to-1 odds on a team that won three of four in the regular season isn’t bad. If picking the Predators to win the series outright is too risky, check out the odds for the series to go six (+225) or seven games (+250).

Odds via FanDuel

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