With the NHL returning on August 1, the action is starting to pick up on gambling sites around the world. Lines are going up on who is going to win, in how many games, and so forth. Sports Interaction has added some juice to the gambling component. Along with the series prices and props, all eight series’ have top point scorer bets as well as head-to-head matchups with a wager of “who will score more points in the series? Player A or player B.” We here at Last Word on Hockey will be looking at all eight qualifying round matchups from a gambling perspective. Today we will be looking at the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers and where you can make your money.
Qualifying Round Matchup: Edmonton Oilers v. Chicago Blackhawks
On arguably the levelest playing field ever, it’s hard to look past any underdog. I think it’s the case here; playoff experience is arguably the one definitive advantage here, and it sways toward the Blackhawks.
Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith lead the way for Chicago and all have stellar career numbers versus the Edmonton Oilers — it’s enough for me to lock in the qualifying round underdog. Edmonton’s got some weaknesses in terms of overall depth and lack a definitive starting goalie. For these reasons, Chicago in four is where I’m seeing this going.
Top Point Scorer
Connor McDavid at -150 comes in as the favourite. McDavid’s followed by teammate Leon Draisaitl who’s at -140, and then Kane is next at +350. Aside from those three, it’s going to be a long shot with good odds. Thing is, in these best-of-five series players can catch fire quickly.
Patrick Kane +350
With 56 points in 43 career games against the Oilers, Kane’s a terrific selection given his plus odds. No player in this series comes close to Kane’s 123 career playoff points too. Kane isn’t called showtime for nothing.
Kailer Yamamoto +2500
The value pick here is obvious, albeit a rookie entering his first postseason. Kailer Yamamoto did record four points in four games versus the Blackhawks which is on par for his 26 points in 27 total games. Plus he’s on Mr. Draisaitl’s wing, another positive.
Leon Draisaitl -140
The minus odds are usually a turnoff for a prop like such, but Draisaitl’s numbers are too good. His league-leading 110 points in 71 games this season and a point-a-game average in the playoffs makes Draisaitl an obvious, worthy pick.
Not So Fast
Connor McDavid -150
This prop’s favourite can be a tad misleading. McDavid’s only scored twice in 11 games against Chicago. While he does have eight assists in those games, it’s not enough to be wagering at minus odds. McDavid’s got only nine points in 13 career playoff games too.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins +2000
You might be thinking, well Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got 22 points in 26 games against Chicago and was on pace to set a career-high in points, what’s not to like? It’s actually quite obvious: zero goals and four assists in 13 career playoff games. Pass.
The head-to-head matchups can be tough, especially with a draw option lurking. I’d say to bet any draws at your own risk, but to also look at doubling down on the above smart plays. Yes, that means Kane and Draisaitl once again.
Patrick Kane over Connor McDavid +190
As mentioned, Kane’s got a track record of dominance against Edmonton. Factor in Chicago needing their offensive stars to show up and Kane is a reasonable bet. Kane’s over a point-a-game player versus his opponent and in the playoffs, McDavid isn’t. It’s easy.
Leon Draisaitl over Connor McDavid +155
Draisaitl’s historically better than McDavid versus Chicago and in the playoffs, not to mention he was Edmonton’s top scorer. There’s even a scenario where McDavid sees Chicago’s primary checking line, so Draisaitl at +155 is of great value.
Dylan Strome over Zack Kassian +135
Strome recorded three points in four games versus Edmonton in 2019–20, chipping into a respectable 38 points in 58 games. Meanwhile, Kassian’s got three goals and zero assists in 21 career playoff games as he seems to prioritize the physicality aspect in his game.
Out of all eight qualifying round series’, it’s tough to not be drawn toward the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers. There’s a ton of offensive talent and unpredictably within both clubs. As for my official plays (all half of a unit), I’m rolling with Kane to lead the series in scoring at +350 as well as to outscore McDavid at +190 odds. Draisaitl to outscore anyone at plus odds is a must bet, so Leon over McDavid at +155. Strome at +135 is my final prop.
And lastly, the Blackhawks money line at +158 odds and one unit.
The choice is yours and yours alone. But we are here to guide through this difficult process. Again this is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing guaranteed, and please enjoy responsibly.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images