With the NHL returning on August 1, the action is starting to pick up on gambling sites around the world. Lines are going up on who is going to win, in how many games, and so forth. Sports Interaction has added some juice to the gambling component. Along with the series prices and props, all eight series’ have top point scorer bets as well as head-to-head matchups with a wager of “who will score more points in the series? Player A or player B.” We here at Last Word on Hockey will be looking at all eight qualifying round matchups from a gambling perspective. Today we will be looking at the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames and where you can make your money.
Qualifying Round Matchup: Winnipeg Jets v. Calgary Flames
Just like with NCAA March Madness, the eight vs. nine seed is always the toughest to pick. As we see here, the ninth-seeded Jets are a slight favourite over the eighth-seeded Flames. However, in most eyes, this is a pick’em series. But with no Travis Hamonic for the Flames and Connor Hellebuyck in net for the Jets, this is the Jets series to lose at -117. And with these teams so close, take the Jets in five at +299.
Offensively, the Jets have more depth than the Flames. Calgary gets the slight edge on defence, but with goaltending determining this series, who better to have than a guy like Hellebuyck. Winnipeg has more experience than the Flames, even though Calgary will be looking to prove something after their first-round exit at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche last year. It will take a lot for Calgary to match the physical style the Jets play.
Top Point Scorer
Coming into the series Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele are the favourites, each at +400. Both candidates have the ability to lead this entire qualifying round in scoring. With Connor and Scheifele only getting better, these guys will be good plays in this series. After that, we find Johnny Gaudreau at +450 and Patrik Laine +550. But realistically, you will want to play more Jets than Flames in this series.
Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele +400
It is not always wise to go with the favourites, but in this case, it is a smart money move. Connor and Scheifele are the two best players in the series and over the past two playoff seasons have carried the Jets offensively. Look for them to do the same this year if the Winnipeg Jets are going to have a deep run in the playoffs.
Matthew Tkachuk +550
For the Flames, the player with the most value is Matthew Tkachuk. He was the most consistent player for the Flames this past regular season tallying led the Flames with 61 points. Last year in five playoff games he posted three points. There is a good shot Tkachuk can lead the Flames in playoff points this year and the series as well.
Blake Wheeler +600
Blake Wheeler is a sneaky good play at +600. Wheeler gets lost in the shuffle with guys like Connor, Scheifele, and Patrik Laine. But Wheeler has proven to be a playoff performer for the Jets. During Winnipeg’s run to the Western Conference Final in 2018, Wheeler led the team in scoring and can do it again. Watch out for him.
Not So Fast
Johnny Gaudreau +450
As much as everyone loves Gaudreau, this is a player you should stay away from. While he puts up great regular-season points, he disappears in the playoffs. You have to wonder with what has happened during training camp, will Johnny Hockey’s head be in the game?
Nikolaj Ehlers +1000
While the number looks appetizing, stay away from Nikolaj Ehlers at +1000. He is a great depth player to have on the team, but with so many options ahead of him, this will be like throwing away money — even though we all like long shots.
Patrik Laine +550
Another player to stay away from right now is Laine at +550. In a normal season, Laine would have been a solid pick. But he has admitted he does not think he will be ready and in-game form right away. If Jets get past the qualifying round, then look to play Laine.
Mikael Backlund over Nikolaj Ehlers +170
One of only a few underdogs in this series that is worth making a bet on is Mikael Backlund over Nikolaj Ehlers. For some, it will be a tough pill to swallow, but in reality, Backlund has outperformed Ehlers. When the Flames got swept in 2017, Backlund had three points in four games. In 2019, when the Flames lost in five games, Backlund also had three points. Backlund is a safe play, especially if you are looking at an underdog.
Mark Scheifele over Johnny Gaudreau +120
As previously mentioned Scheifele is a playoff performer and Gaudreau isn’t. Now things could change but in a short series, the money is with Scheifele to outperform Gaudreau.
The eight verses nine matchups are always a tough draw. Both teams are close, the edge going to the Jets. As for official plays (all half of unit), I like the Winnipeg Jets to win the series at -117 but do it in five games at +299. Also, I got Mark Scheifele to lead the series in scoring at +400, as well as outscore Johnny Gaudreau at +120 odds. And for a sneaky good play, place .25 of a unit on Blake Wheeler at +600 to lead the series in scoring.
The choice is yours and yours alone. But we are here to guide through this difficult process. Again this is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing guaranteed, and please enjoy responsibly.
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