The Second Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs gets underway tonight, and both Western Conference series’ have some massive favourites in the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. Both took their first-round series’ in five games and appear to be on a collision course to the Western Conference Finals.
That’s unless the high-flying Vancouver Canucks, or under-the-radar Dallas Stars have anything to say about it. It’s been an NHL postseason filled with upsets, and it’s tough to believe at least one of these two underdogs won’t spoil the party.
Western Conference Second Round Betting Odds
Vancouver Canucks (6) vs Vegas Golden Knights (1)
In unsurprising fashion, the Golden Knights advanced to the Second Round in five games. Vegas took it to the Chicago Blackhawks for pretty much the entire series, a series that should’ve been a sweep if not for an outstanding 48-save Game 4 from Corey Crawford.
The Canucks, on the other hand, shocked most of the hockey world (but not me). There will be a new Stanley Cup champion after Vancouver’s 4-2 series win over the reigning winners, the St. Louis Blues.
Going into Game 1 Sunday, the Golden Knights are a huge favourite to win at -345. Right off the bat, Vegas is 8-0-2 in their last 10 versus Vancouver. The two teams played once this year, Vegas winning 6-3. Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty had four points in the win.
Both teams have goalies who can steal games in Robin Lehner (Vegas) and Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver). In the First Round, it was Markstrom who stood out with a .929 save percentage, Lehner’s a pedestrian .904.
The Golden Knights are a well-balanced time with offensive weapons on multiple lines. They have the experience too with most of their core still intact from the inaugural-season cup run. But, the Canucks looked better against their opponent in the First Round. Vegas didn’t crush Chicago on the scoreboard, and in all honesty, could’ve played better.
The Canucks are the entertaining, Cinderella club this postseason on a 7-3 run. If there’s an advantage for Vancouver, it’s special teams. The Canucks have a 26.2 power-play percentage, the second-best among non-eliminated teams. Vancouver has a solid chance of carrying over that magic and taking out the top-seed in the west. Plus their value is great — Canucks in seven is the official pick.
Official bet: Canucks to win +245
Dallas Stars (3) vs Colorado Avalanche (2)
The Stars offence came through in their 4-2 series win over the Calgary Flames last week. Dallas is on a roll too, winning three straight including a 7-3 thumping to eliminate the Flames. Miro Heiskanen now leads all NHL too with 12 postseason points in nine games.
Fresh off back-to-back 7-1 wins, the Avalanche are on fire. The Arizona Coyotes stood no chance to Colorado in their five-game series. Colorado forward Nazem Kadri had a series-high five goals and is the perfect compliment to the Avs’ top line.
Colorado enters Game 1 as a -268 favourite, which might be a tad high. The Avalanche should be the favourite, but the Stars bring a veteran group who can put the puck in the net too. If there’s a trend to watch in this series, it actually goes against what most would think: nine of these two teams’ last 10 meetings have gone under the total. Dallas has won of their last five games too.
It’s still hard to go against the Avs here. Ben Bishop appears to still be unit to play in Dallas’ net, which makes a huge difference. Colorado should be able to score on Anton Khudobin, granted I’m not sure who could stop the Avalanche offence right now.
Colorado’s power play is clicking at 30.6 percent this postseason, and they’re the highest-scoring postseason teams with 3.88 goals per game. The Avs also have three double-digit point scorers already in Kadri, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen.
Unless Dallas can keep putting five or more goals in a game, Colorado wins and easily. Colorado in five as the official prediction.
Official play: Colorado to win -268, Colorado 4-1 +330, and Colorado 4-2 +350
Western Conference Winner Betting Odds
Lastly, with the Second Round here there are updated odds on the Western Conference winner among the four remaining teams. The safe pick is definitely the Avalanche at +175, who should have an easier time this round and match up well against both Vegas and Vancouver. According to my above predictions, the value is with Vancouver. At +400, the Canucks are a nice investment considering the goal-scoring punch they bring and goaltending at the other end.
That said, the West is Colorado’s to lose and +175 is still a good price. Take the Avs.
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.