NHL Betting Guide: Monday 5/2/22

The playoffs are finally here. It means fewer games to wager on, but the matchups are more fun, and we can see patterns develop over the course of a series that we can potentially capitalize on when betting.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers

Under 6.5 (-120) 3-Star Rating Out of 5

It can be tricky taking unders in the highest-scoring regular season since 1996. It remains to be seen how that will carry over to the playoffs, which is when checking becomes tighter and refs tend to give fewer power plays.

There are other reasons to like the under in this game, too.

The Edmonton Oilers get the headlines for their star offensive players, but what really turned around in their game was their defensive play. Since March 1st, they have allowed the fifth-fewest goals per game in the NHL. They've done this through their much-maligned goaltending duo, which has actually combined for the best team save percentage during that span.

The Los Angeles Kings won two Stanley Cups in the early 2010s partly because of how different playoff hockey is to regular season hockey. This year's version isn't too dissimilar to those teams, as they are the second-lowest scoring team to make the playoffs. There have been concerns about how the defense would hold up without Drew Doughty, and it has been able to perform reasonably. They are 10th in goals against per game in that period, and at five-on-five, they have allowed the 11th-fewest expected goals per game.

Another thing that happens more in the playoffs is line matching. Kings coach Todd McLellan will likely try to put Phillip Danault against Connor McDavid every chance he gets. Danault was instrumental in slowing down several star players last year during the Montreal Canadiens' run to the Stanley Cup Final. He probably won't be able to shut down McDavid completely, but limiting him would go a long way to winning this bet.

There were only 24 goals scored in the four meetings between the teams during the regular season. If the defensive play shores up in the playoffs, we should be able to win this under. Our model also likes this bet, giving it a three-star rating.