The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here with the 16 teams set to play for the ultimate prize. The qualifying round wrapped up on Sunday evening and with the first round set to begin Tuesday night, Sports Interaction has new lines are going up for which teams are going to win, in how many games, and so forth. We here at Last Word on Hockey will be looking at all first-round matchups in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from a betting perspective. Today we will be looking at the Eastern Conference First Round betting odds with the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets heavy underdogs.
Eastern Conference First Round Betting Odds
8) Montreal Canadiens vs. 1) Philadelphia Flyers
After being an underdog in the qualifying round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Montreal Canadiens were able to pull the upset and move on to the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now they are even a greater underdog against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens enter the series as a +180 underdog against the Flyers, who are a -222 favourite. Considering the Flyers went from fourth to first in the round-robin in convincing fashion, the Canadiens have their hands full.
But with Carey Price in between the pipes, anything is possible. Nobody is giving them a chance, but with +180 number there will be action on the underdog Canadiens. And why not, who does not love an underdog? The Canadiens are playing with house money, while the Flyers have all the pressure.
Official bet: Flyers -222 to win the series.
7) Columbus Blue Jackets vs. 2) Tampa Bay Lightning
The matchup everyone is looking forward to is the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning. Most remember what happened last year between the Lightning and Blue Jackets, so you know Tampa Bay is out for revenge. But yet the oddsmakers are not giving any love to the Blue Jackets, who just beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to advance to the playoffs. Oddsmakers have the Blue Jackets at +190 underdog. We know what Columbus can do and they will make life miserable for Tampa Bay. The Lightning are a -233 favourite despite injuries to Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. Just like the previous series, it will come down to goaltending, but the style the Blue Jackets play helps their goaltenders.
If the Lightning have the Blue Jackets on the ropes they have to finish the job. As we know the Blue Jackets can stick around in games. It is never wise to bet on two heavy favourites because the underdogs will always come through. Just like last year, Columbus has the momentum coming into the series.
Official bet: Take the Blue Jackets +190 to pull the upset again.
6) New York Islanders vs. 3) Washington Capitals
The New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals is an intriguing matchup, to say the least. Barry Trotz is going up against his former team, whom he won a Stanley Cup with. These two Metropolitan Division rivals have played some historic playoff classics in the past. One team is more defensively minded, while the other is more offensively minded. It will be a real contrast in styles. The Capitals are a slight favourite at -156, while the Islanders come into the series a +135 underdog. Washington found their mojo a bit toward the end of the round-robin series, but do not sleep on this Islanders team. They are playing a style that can frustrate teams, and once they have a lead it will be hard for them to give it up.
This is a tough series to pick because these two teams know each other so well. In this series all the action will be on the Islanders. That is why you go the other way and bet the Capitals to win the series. Washington just has the experience to win in these situations, but the bet should be a small one.
Official bet: Too Close To Call, but go with the Capitals at -156.
5) Carolina Hurricanes vs. 4) Boston Bruins
The final first-round Eastern Conference matchup is the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins. Carolina comes into this series with a lot to prove after the Bruins swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. The Hurricanes are up for the task and want revenge. But as always the Hurricanes get no respect despite having one of the best lines in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are a +134 underdog but realistically they should be a favourite against a team that is struggling to find their identity. This is a great number for those who love to bet the underdog.
Despite not playing well in the round-robin, the Bruins are a -155 favourite. This number has to do with their play in the regular season and the fact they are the defending Eastern Conference Champions. Even with the talent on the Bruins, not taking the round-robin series seriously may not have been the smartest thing. But then again maybe this is the kind of team the Bruins need to play to get their game going. But you know Carolina will be ready to play come puck drop on Tuesday night.
Official bet: Carolina +134 to win the series.
Eastern Conference Winner Betting Odds
Lastly, if you are looking for some real value plays, take a look at the favourites to come out of the Eastern Conference. The Flyers (+250) are a solid choice because of recent history. But if you really want to earn some bang for your buck look at some of the underdogs like the Hurricanes (+650). And if you really want to throw some money around take those sneaky Blue Jackets (+1500). If they keep winning you will be smiling all the way to the finals.
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.
Embed from Getty Images