NHL Betting Guide: Digging for semifinal treasure

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Alex Pietrangelo (7). (John Locher/AP)

The Montreal Canadiens now lead their conference final series 3-2. They are one game away from the Stanley Cup Final and have once again silenced the doubters. Meanwhile, across the way, the Tampa Bay Lightning are on the brink of another finals appearance as well. With a maximum of only two games left in each series, there are still some decent paying bets out there, but you’ll have to dig.

The Montreal Margin

Most Canadians would like to see the Habs move on. It’s not because they’re necessarily a fan of the team, but because their patriotism outranks their personal preference at this point. A Canadian team through to the next round hasn’t happened in some time, so it’d be a nice novelty in 2021. If that describes you – great! If that’s not you and you’ve got no skin in the game whatsoever, even better! Listen up.

The further we get into a seven-game series, the more the odds generally decrease. That’s just the way it is. However, if you go off the board and look toward the more obscure betting sections, you’ll find that there are still some gems out there to be had. Case in point, the team-win margins.

Let’s not get too crazy here, folks. Sure, there are some better-paying bets, but these ones are ideal because they don’t require too much homework. You can select Montreal or Vegas to win by as many as 5+ goals and the payouts vary as such. Montreal’s odds go from +325 all the way up to +2695, while Vegas’ stretch from +285 for a single goal win to +1645.

Aside from a pair of 4-1 wins in this series, 60 per cent of the games have been won by a goal. The Habs currently lead 12-10 in total goals and each team has surrendered two or more goals in at least 60 per cent of the games thus far. In other words, the odds are in the favour of this one being another tight affair.

If you look at this betting style comparatively as well, there are better payouts in this section than in the money line, puck line, OVER/UNDER and most in-game and or player props. That, and given the series history as mentioned, you could have a leg up on the rest come puck drop, too.

Fishing with no bait

This is essentially what you’re doing if you’re pulling for the N-Y-I in Game 6 – or potentially Game 7. After an 8-0 blowout loss to Tampa Bay in game five, all science, analytics, advanced stats and common sense have gone out the window and all we’re left with is hope. Is that enough to base your bet on? Probably not, but people do it every day so let’s take a closer look at what’s out there for you.

Currently, at the time of this article’s posting, there is a 51 per cent-49 per cent split on money-line bets for this game. Most bettors are taking Tampa Bay (-155), which is the smart money call, while slightly fewer people have jumped on New York (+135) because they still pay alright and a seventh game may still be in the cards.

If you’re a Bolt backer, you’re probably not going to find substantial odds out there for this game (or series), but their championship Futures bet is as high as it will ever be at this very moment. So, there’s that. If you’re pulling for the Islanders, a few nice alternative bets to look at can be found in the Goal Prediction, Requested Special and or Period Prop sections.

NHL summer props aplenty

It seems Sports Interaction and Bodog have already begun planning ahead of the Stanley Cup. They are now each listing NHL Awards props for the Vezina, Calder and James Norris trophies. Then, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll also find an extensive list of ‘Where will this player be’ and ‘Next coach’ props too.

Of course, the closer we get to draft time as well, more team and player props will hit the board too. You’ll be able to select which player will go where and what position a certain team will be drafting for. Then, if that’s not enough, you’ll also be able to lay down your first ever Seattle Kraken bets as soon as the draft and free agency windows hit as well.

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