Game 2 is set to get underway in four different series on Thursday night with some great betting angles to attack. Below, I give out my two best bets for Thursday’s games.
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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Dallas Stars (+190) @ Calgary Flames (-240), o/u 5.5 (-115/-105)
The Calgary Flames won Game 1 narrowly with a 1-0 regulation win over the Dallas Stars, and I expect to see a similar result in Game 2. Calgary is a better team than Dallas in every single aspect of the game, and I would be shocked if Dallas even keeps Game 2 as close.
This season, Calgary ranks higher than Dallas in five-on-five expected goals per 60 minutes (xGF) and five-on-five expected goals against 60 minutes (xGA). Additionally, the Flames have the better goaltender as Jacob Markstrom is set to patrol the crease once again.
Markstrom has been excellent this season with a 0.922 save percentage and ranks 10th amongst starting goaltenders in five-on-five goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx). Meanwhile, Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger has been good as well but not on that level.
Oettinger possesses a 0.914 save percentage this season and ranks 18th amongst starting goaltenders in five-on-five GSAx. In Game 1, the Flames had a higher xGF, and Markstrom had a higher GSAx than Oettinger.
Dallas barely limped into the playoffs, and if they even get one win in this series, I just do not see them doing It in Calgary. Including Game 1, all three of Dallas’ losses to Calgary this year have been in regulation.
Best Bet: Calgary Flames 3-Way ML (-130)
Washington Capitals (+200) @ Florida Panthers (-240), o/u 6.5 (-130/+100)
The Atlantic Division’s Florida Panthers host the Metropolitan Division’s Washington Capitals in Game 2 of this First Round series. Washington walked away with the 4-2 win on the road in Game 1, and I think they can find success yet again in Game 2.
Game 1 was not a fluke for the Capitals as they controlled the game from beginning to end, regardless of not holding the lead the entire time. According to MoneyPuck.com, the Capitals would have won that game 70.6% of the time after 1000 game simulations.
The big difference in the game was the high-danger scoring chances generated by each team, as the Capitals had 4.11 expected goals for (xGF) while the Panthers had just 2.21 xGF. Looking at the shot chart, the Capitals did a tremendous job in not allowing the Panthers to get any shots off from in front of the net.
Florida only had two good looks all game, which should be a big cause of concern for them moving forward. One of those looks was a juicy rebound for Claude Giroux, on which he scored, and Huberdeau/Barkov’s 2-on-1 following a Washington turnover midway through the third period.
Almost all of the Panthers’ shots came from low-danger scoring areas outside of those two chances. Sam Bennett’s first goal of the game is a shot that the Capitals will let them take 10 times out of 10 as it was a wrister from just inside the blue line, a shot that had just a 1.5% chance of scoring per MoneyPuck.com.
Meanwhile, the Capitals were getting a ton of looks in front of the net all game. This trend is not surprising as Florida’s defense has been suspect all season as they entered the playoffs, ranking just 17th in the league in five-on-five expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA).
Additionally, Washington controlled the majority of the game without one of their top players. After just a couple of shifts, Tom Wilson left the game with a lower-body injury. If they get Wilson back, there is no reason to believe the Capitals can not at least keep this game close again.
Best Bet: Washington Capitals +1.5 (-120)
Best of luck!
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