We wanted to give you all some clarity and organize our series picks for you all in one spot for the NHL 2020 Return-to-Play Bracket. So, here they are:
3.0% wager on Vancouver to advance to the next round @ -121 odds (bet before series started)
3.0% wager on Winnipeg to advance to the next round @ +105 odds (bet before series started)
5.0% wager on Columbus to advance to the next round @ -136.5 odds (bet after game 1)
Now, we could add to these series bets, but this is what we have for right now. In the Vancouver series, we felt they had the goalie advantage in Markstrom, which is where we always start and end our bets; with the goalie. With having the better goalie, we also thought their young talent (Pettersson, Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Gaudette) we would be able to overcome the aging veterans of the Wild. We saw this series to be the proverbial passing of the torch in the West from Eric Staal, Zach Parise, and Ryan Suter to the Vancouver young guns. Some of the other reasons to like Vancouver:
Canucks had the 4th best PP% in the regular season.
They were 2nd in faceoff% in the regular season.
Top 10 in goals scored in the regular season.
Reasons to not like the Wild:
The Wild were 25th in PK% in the NHL in the regular season.
The Wild were 25th in shots per game in the regular season.
The Wild were 27th in faceoff% in the regular season.
In the end, we loved Markstrom in net against the Wild combined with the firepower of the Vancouver offense.
Winnipeg was the overwhelming favorite amongst the boys of Phull Plate; we loved their leaders in Sheifele, Laine, Connor, and Wheeler. Winnipeg has playoff size and clearly the better goaltender in Hellebuyck compared to his counterparts in Rittich and Talbot for the Calgary Flames. In conjunction with all of that, we were getting tremendous value with plus odds to take Winnipeg and that helped put our bet over the edge. Reasons to like Winnipeg:
Winnipeg finished 10th best in the league for goals against per game.
Winnipeg was 4th in the Western Conference in goal differential.
7 players with 37 points or more in the regular season.
Reasons to dislike Calgary:
They finished 20th in goals scored a game.
They averaged over 3.05 goals against a game.
They finished 22nd in faceoff% in the regular season.
Unfortunately, Scheifele and Laine have been injured since our bet in game one and have not returned since. We still feel confident in their ability to grind out wins as they did in game two behind a beautiful performance of the best goalie in the series, Hellebuyck.
Columbus, much like Winnipeg, is a bigger team than their opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and sports the better goaltender situation; we will take Korpisalo and Merzlikins over Frederik Andersen in this series. We absolutely love their defense as well, between the likes of Seth Jones, Zach Werenksi, and David Savard; that have one of the most capable D-cores in the league. Reasons to like Columbus:
Columbus finished 4th in goals against this season.
They finished 12th in PK% in the regular season.
Columbus finished 8th for shots per game.
The Blue Jackets finished 7th best for shots allowed per game.
Yes, the Maple Leafs have incredible offensive power between Marner, Matthews, Nylander, and Tavares; yet, it seems they have run into the prefect defense and goalie duo to quell their offensive pressure. Reasons to not like Toronto:
Maple Leafs finished with the 7th most goals against in the league.
Finished only 21st in PK%
Top heavy when it comes, with goal scoring dropping drastically from Matthews, Nylander, and Tavares.
We feel very confident in Columbus' defense to maintain Toronto's top half of their offense and shut the door with their better goaltending. as prolific as the scorers for the Maple Leafs can be, we feel that will not win a series.
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