NHL Playoffs Best Bets

We’re down to the final four in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but I am going to solely focus on the Western Conference Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars for an NHL Best Bet. 

The Oilers escaped an epic collapse in Game Seven on Monday night in Vancouver as their 3-0 lead in the third period nearly slipped away. The Vancouver Canucks scored two goals in a 3:57 span to make the Oilers sweat it out just a little bit late in the final five minutes. 


The Stars took care of business against a powerful Colorado Avalanche team, slowing them down to only three goals in three games in Colorado. Jake Oettinger continues to impress, as well as their overall depth. 

Dallas has an edge when it comes to rest, at least recently, but this series has the makings to be a legendary battle. 

Edmonton at Dallas (-125)

The Edmonton Oilers will only have two days of rest in between their Game Seven against Vancouver and Game One of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas. There’s always the “Rest vs. Rust” conversation in scenarios like this, but I think the Dallas Stars will benefit a ton from having the four days of rest between their games. Dallas played a very grueling seven-game series in round one against the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Vegas Golden Knights, and hopefully, for them, that challenge will pay off a ton in the long run. 

One area where the Oilers have the clear-cut edge in this series is special teams. Edmonton is currently first in both power play (37.5%) and penalty kill percentages (91.4%), but the Stars did a strong job slowing down an incredibly talented Avalanche man advantage. Dallas killed off nine of 12 opportunities that the Avalanche had in the second round, and if they can tighten up their penalty kill, Edmonton will struggle. 

The biggest advantage in this series for Dallas is in goal. Jake Oettinger has been the much better goaltender as he is boasting a .918 save percentage with a 2.09 goals against average and a +5.2 goals saved above expected. After sitting on the bench as a backup, Stuart Skinner came into Games Six and Seven for the Oilers and did his job, but the numbers don’t look nearly as good. Skinner has a .881 save percentage with a 2.87 goals against average and a -2.1 goals saved above expected. Oettinger is a goalie you can rely on, Skinner is not.

To me, Dallas also has the stronger blue line. With guys like Miro Heiskanen and Chris Tanev, they have the perfect balance of skill and grit on their defensive end and it has shown throughout the playoffs. Out of the four teams remaining, the Stars have the best goals against average only giving up 2.38 goals per game. They also have the best high-danger chances against at 5v5, surrendering just 8.94 high-danger chances per 60 minutes. 

Edmonton has a ton of offensive weapons that can be scary, and they have actually made some history through the first two rounds. The Oilers are the first team in NHL history to have three 20+ point scorers through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Leon Draisaitl has 24, Connor McDavid with 21 and Evan Bouchard has notched 20. That said, if there is one team in the West that can slow these three down, it’s the Stars. 

It won’t be easy to take down McDavid and Draisaitl, but ultimately, this series will all come down to goaltending, and Oettinger is the guy you want. 

I think it will be the Dallas Stars representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. 

NHL Playoffs Best Bet(s): Dallas Stars to win the series -125 (play to -140) | Dallas Stars -1.5 games +170 (play to +150)