After months of speculation, playoff hockey in August is coming. One of the wrinkles (aside from summer hockey) in 2020’s competition for Lord Stanley is a Stanley Cup Qualifying Round between the five to 12 seeds in each conference.
These best-of-five series’ are the first glimpse of hockey returning in our lives and in turn, sports betting on frankly a complicated sport to bet on. Hockey betting can be unpredictable, but there’s now a ton of incoming action with serious value.
Sports Interaction, and other gambling sites, are offering prop bets for the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round such as top point scorer, goal scorer, and several other series lines. Here we’re going to focus on Jake Guentzel as the top the goal scorer line along with some other players you can earn some extra dough on
Note: Does not include the round-robin between the top four teams in each conference.
Jake Guentzel Has Value as Stanley Cup Qualifying Round Top Goal Scorer
The Oddsmakers Top Five
Auston Matthews at +900 leads the way after scoring 47 goals in 70 games this season. Matthews has scored three goals in his eight games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ Qualifying Round opponent. What’s most intriguing about Matthews is his 10 goals in 20 career playoff games, albeit his potential health question marks.
Edmonton Oilers teammates Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid follow at +1000, and if you’re going chalk, it has to be Draisaitl. On top of 43 goals in 71 games in 2019–20, Draisaitl has seven goals in 15 career games versus the Chicago Blackhawks with a superb 21.9 shooting percentage. Draisaitl elevates his game in the postseason, scoring six times in 13 games on an otherwordly 27.3 shooting percentage.
McDavid on the other hand might be someone to avoid. He’s only scored twice in 11 games versus the Blackhawks, and five times in 13 playoff games on a 13.5 shooting percentage.
Behind the two Oilers is New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad at +1100. Zibanejad’s 12 goals in 25 games against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers Qualifying Round opponent, might be all you need to lock him in. Looking a little further shows Zibanejad may not be a great choice: he has four goals in 28 career playoff games, tallying on under six percent of his shots.
Rounding out the top five is Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor at +1800, who’s again another sketchy pick. Connor’s yet to light the lamp in six games against his opponent, the Calgary Flames. He’s scored six goals in 23 playoff games, but it’s a pass for me.
Smart, Valuable Plays
Patrick Kane +2200 (versus Edmonton Oilers)
If you want someone who’s been there done that, Patrick Kane‘s your man. Only Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have more goals per playoff game than Kane (active skaters, minimum 25 games), who’s burying nearly four of every 10 playoff games.
Versus his opponent: 43 games played, 18 goals, 12.3 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 127 games played, 50 goals, 12.7 shooting percentage.
John Tavares +2500 (versus Columbus Blue Jackets)
Despite a down year in goals, John Tavares could benefit from his Qualifying Round matchup. He’s scored over .5 goals per game in his career against the Blue Jackets and this is definitely another series that seems destined for the full five games.
Versus his opponent: 27 games played, 14 goals, 15.6 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 31 games played, 13 goals, 13 shooting percentage.
Jake Guentzel +3300 (versus Montreal Canadiens)
Where do you start with Jake Guentzel and the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Whether it’s his .59 playoff goals per game or his five goals in eight games versus his opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, Guentzel undoubtedly has the best value in the entire pool.
Versus his opponent: 8 games played, 5 goals, 27.8 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 41 games played, 24 goals, 24.7 shooting percentage.
Johnny Gaudreau +4000 (versus Winnipeg Jets)
It’s not the playoff statistics that make Johnny Gaudreau a worthwhile wager, it’s his opponent. Gaudreau recorded nine goals in only 15 games against Winnipeg, and it should be a close but high-scoring series between the two Canadian clubs.
Versus his opponent: 15 games played, 9 goals, 19.6 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 20 games played, 4 goals, 8.3 shooting percentage.
Long Shot Bets
Kevin Fiala +6600 (versus Vancouver Canucks)
Kevin Fiala tied his career-high for goals in 2019–20 and has found prior success against his Qualifying Round opponent Vancouver Canucks in the past. At +6000, Fiala’s a fine risk to take. If the Minnesota Wild are going to advance, it’s because Fiala will have showed up.
Versus his opponent: 9 games played, 4 goals, 21.1 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 18 games played, 5 goals, 11.4 shooting percentage.
Phil Kessel +8000 (versus Nashville Predators)
Two reasons make Phil Kessel an easy long-shot bet: his 33 playoff goals and absurd +8000 odds. The Nashville Predators are by no means been defensively sound and Kessel should be nice and rested after a slumping regular season in Arizona.
Versus his opponent: 19 games played, 8 goals, 14 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 87 games played, 33 goals, 11.9 shooting percentage.
Jordan Eberle +8000 (versus Florida Panthers)
Seven goals in 19 games versus the Florida Panthers and +8000 odds has a nice ring to it when scrolling through the deep end of this prop bet. Jordan Eberle scored four goals in eight playoff games last year too, meaning he’s worth the potential payout.
Versus his opponent: 19 games played, 7 goals, 16.7 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 21 games played, 4 goals, 8.5 shooting percentage.
Matt Duchene +8000 (versus Arizona Coyotes)
Matt Duchene had a rough campaign this past winter but history shows the Arizona Coyotes may be what the doctor ordered. Duchene’s eleven tallies on almost two of every 10 shots is intriguing, especially when that percentage remains high come playoff time.
Versus his opponent: 31 games played, 11 goals, 19.3 shooting percentage
Playoff career: 18 games played, 5 goals, 18.5 shooting percentage.
The Actual Plays
I’d be remiss without actually stating where my money is laying. Well, I’ve thrown .25 of a unit on Draisaitl, Kane, Guentzel, Kessel, and Eberle at their listed odds.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images