2016 NHL Playoff Round 1 Betting PicksJosh Bailey
Round 1 in the NHL Playoffs is like no other Round 1 in any other sport. It’s a whole new season and a hot No. 8 seed can easily ride the Big Mo and win a seven game series. It’s all about line changes, goalie play, and small matchups that most hockey handicappers don’t take into consideration.
Hockey is a tough sport. Betting on it is even tougher! Keep reading for top 3 NHL Playoff Round 1 betting picks that I feel comfortable picking winners for. There is no such thing as a sure thing in the NHL Playoffs but these 3 first round matchups are close from my point of view.
A Closer Look At My NHL First Round Betting Picks
Philadelphia Flyers vs Washington Capitals
The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t just going to lie down to the Stanley Cup favorites in Round 1. The Flyers match up very well with Washington. That’s why Philly went 2 and 2 with the Caps during the regular season.
But Washington appears dialed in. The Capitals have their best chance at winning the Stanley Cup since star Alex Ovechkin started playing in the NHL in the 2005-2006 season. Ovechkin scored50 goals, he dished 21 assists and garnered a total of 71 points. 71 points is a lot. What makes Washington so tough is that Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the Caps with 77 points.
Philadelphia will put up a fight but in the end, Washington takes this. Washington beats Philadelphia in 6 games.
San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings
San Jose went 3 and 2 versus the L.A. Kings during the regular season. That should give Shark fans hope that they’ll be able to stick with the 2-time in the past 4 years Stanley Cup winning Kings in the First Round.
Although San Jose’s fans might be sure, I’m not. I like the Kings in this matchup. Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick allows 2.2 goals per game. He has the benefit of having been the Kings’ top goalie during both of their Stanley Cup runs. The same can’t be said for Martin Jones who backed up Quick during those Stanley Cup runs and is the main goalie for the Sharks.
I just think that the differences in goalies will give the edge to the Kings in this Round 1 matchup. I like the Kings to take it in 6.
Chicago Blackhawks vs St. Louis Blues
The Blackhawks offense has been stellar this season. Chicago averages 2.9 goals per game. That ranks 6th in NHL. They’re second in power play percentage at 22.6%. The Blackhawks take 30.5 shots per game. Defensively, the Blackhawks aren’t that great.
That could be a problem facing the St. Louis Blues in Round 1. The Blues have put forth a concerted effort to score more goals this season. It’s helped. St. Louis is ranked 15th in goals per game at 2.7 and 13th in shots on goal per game at 30.2.
The defense is still great. It allows 2.4 goals on average per game. That ranks 4th in NHL. The D also provided 10 shut outs during the regular season. That ranks first in NHL. I think St. Louis sends the defending champs packing for the off-season in 7 games.