2021 NHL Playoff Picks

2021 NHL Playoff Picks

Check out our game picks for the start of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The NHL playoffs are officially in full swing after a difficult regular season, and the race toward the Stanley Cup has never been harder to discern. Sometimes, it's best to take the championship field game by game. That's what we're doing with this edition of our 2021 NHL playoff picks.

We'll be dropping predictions for all six games taking place between Tuesday, May 18, and Thursday, May 20. Here are the latest NHL betting odds for each of them, courtesy of Bovada:

Calgary Flames-135+115Vancouver Canucks
Pittsburgh Penguins-135+115New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning-130+110Florida Panthers
Vegas Golden Knights-165+145Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets-150+130Edmonton Oilers
Toronto Maple Leafs-210+175Montreal Canadiens

Though hockey lines don't typically move too much unless you're wagering on props, we still recommend double-checking these NFL playoff lines before deciding on any wagers

2021 NHL Playoff Betting Breakdown

Before we get started, here are the latest Stanley Cup odds. These come via BetOnline and are accurate entering games on Monday, May 17:

Stanley Cup PickBovada
Tampa Bay Lightning+180
Vegas Golden Knights+225
New York Islanders+550
Montreal Canadiens+950

On to the games!

Calgary Flames (-135) vs. Vancouver Canucks (+115) - May 18

Experts continue to have a tough time getting a handle on this series.

Both the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks enter the postseason fray with negative point differentials, having allowed more goals than they scored during the regular season on a per-game basis. That's usually a red flag.

But truth be told, if not for a spate of injuries, the Canucks would be favored pretty handedly here. We still think they have run away potential at the tap with Brandon Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Quinn Hughes, each of whom finished the regular season with at least 40 total points.

OSB Prediction: Vancouver Canucks (+115)

Vancouver Canucks To beat Calgary Flames

Pittsburgh Penguins (-135) vs. New York Islanders (+115) - May 18

The New York Islanders surprised everyone, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, by taking Game 1. But do they really have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh's offense again and win?

For Game 2 specifically, we're going to say no.

new york islanders betting odds

New York ranked 21st in goals scored per game and in power-play percentage during the regular season. They aren't built to drop four scores every single night. Eventually, they will have trouble keeping pace with the Penguins' first and second lines.

We're betting that happens now.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins (-135)

Pittsburgh Penguins To beat New York Islanders

Tampa Bay Lightning (-130) vs. Florida Panthers (+110) - May 18

Though the Florida Panthers put up a fight by scoring four goals in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, you're free to consider that a fluke.

For starters, Tampa Bay has one of the league's stingiest defenses both between the posts and away from the net. They aren't letting up four goals again—especially not to Florida's offense. 

And even if they do, they still won Game 1 by dropping in five goals of their own. The reigning 2020 champs remain the best two-way squad in the league and can win in a variety of ways. It wouldn't surprise us if this series ends up being a sweep.

OSB Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning (-130)

Tampa Bay Lightning To beat Florida Panthers

Vegas Golden Knights (-165) vs. Minnesota Wild (+145) - May 18

Don't pay attention to the Vegas Golden Knights getting upset in Game 1 by the Minnesota Wild. It's most likely not going to happen again.

Most metrics peg the Golden Knights as the NHL's best team in the league relative to their strength of schedule and point differential. Upsets happen all the time in hockey, but Minnesota is no more than a steppingstone for them.

In fact, you might even want to consider taking Vegas' spread at -1.5 for a payout of +165.

OSB Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights (-165)

Vegas Golden Knights To beat Minnesota Wild

Winnipeg Jets (-150) vs. Edmonton Oilers (+130) - May 19

The Edmonton Oilers continue to get undervalued at every turn. Sure, they might be top-heavy, but that's a great place to be when you have Conor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at your disposal. They remain two of the 10 best players in the entire league.

Combine their scoring talent with their ability to set up teammates, and you have a dangerous playoff cocktail. Let's also not forget Edmonton enters this series with the league's seventh-best offense and ranks first in power-play percentage.

edmond oilers betting odds

Oddsmakers don't see this being a problem for the Winnipeg Jets' defense. We do.

OSB Prediction: Edmonton Oilers (+130)

Edmonton Oilers To beat Winnipeg Jets

Toronto Maple Leafs (-210) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+175) - May 20

Imagine talking yourself into the Montreal Canadiens for this one.

Indeed, anything can happen in a single game. But the Toronto Maple Leafs are scary dominant. They are among the only squads that rank in the top eight of both goals scored and allowed, and it's tough to get down on a team that has Mitch Marner skating for it.

This will mark the opening game of a series that we don't expect to last particularly long. Don't hesitate to also take Toronto's -1.5 spread for a +135 return.

OSB Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs (-210)

Toronto Maple Leafs To beat Montreal Canadiens

Check out this list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one is right for all your NHL betting odds: