Favorites had the slight edge in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Six of the eight series favorites won, and favorites overall were +0.85 units. It continued a profitable NHL season for favorites, which were +35.9 units during the regular season.
The second round of the playoffs has been full of upsets in recent seasons. In the past five postseasons, favorites and underdogs have split the 20 series equally 10-10. In individual games, favorites have been +21.6 units in this round in that span.
Overs have also been successful so far, going 31-18-2. The New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins series went over the total in every game, becoming the first seven-game series in NHL history to feature at least seven goals in every game.
We have also seen puck lines become more profitable, as 75% of games were decided by at least two goals, compared to 49% in the past two postseasons.
Odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Historical series odds from SportsOddsHistory.com.
St. Louis Blues (+320) vs. Colorado Avalanche (-410)
Since 2010, series underdogs of at least +300 are 4-4 in playoff series (+10.55 units). In the past 20 postseasons, they are 9-16 (+18.65 units).
When these teams met in the first round last season, the Avalanche (-500) swept the Blues (+400).
All three meetings in the regular season went over the total.
Overs are 21-8-1 when the Blues are underdogs this season. The Blues are 15-12-3 as underdogs this season (+4.05 units).
The Avalanche are 34-5-4 at home this season (+10.25 units). They are the second-most profitable team in the NHL at home.
Edmonton Oilers (+170) vs. Calgary Flames (-200)
Game 1 will be the first time Edmonton has been an underdog in a playoff game since 2017. In the past three seasons, the Oilers had been favored in all 15 playoff games, going 5-10 (-10.85 units).
The Oilers have not been series underdogs this large since the 2006 Western Conference semifinals (+170 vs. Sharks; won in six).
Edmonton is 28-11 as a home favorite this season (+8.5 units).
The Flames were -12.2 units at home compared to +7.9 units on the road in the regular season. In the first round, they were 3-1 at home (+0.6 units) and 1-2 on the road (-2.2 units).
The home team won all four meetings in the regular season.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+130) vs. Florida Panthers (-150)
This is the first time the Lightning have been plus-money to win a series since the 2016 Eastern Conference finals (+175 vs. Penguins, lost in seven). The Lightning had been favored in 12 straight series before beating the Maple Leafs as -105 underdogs in the first round.
The Lightning are 5-1 in postseason series starting on the road under coach Jon Cooper.
The Lightning have not been greater than +140 underdogs in any game this season, and they have not been greater than +145 underdogs in any game in the past five seasons.
The Lightning are 30-14-3 (+16.97 units) as an underdog in the past five seasons, and they are 11-3 as a playoff underdog in that span (+9.3 units). This season, Tampa Bay is 6-6-2 as an underdog (-1.5 units), including 2-2 in the playoffs (+0.3 units).
The Panthers are +27.3 units with Sergei Bobrovsky in net, the best mark in the NHL and the best mark by any goalie in a single season in the past five seasons.
The Panthers are +16.3 units at home (36-8-0), the most profitable team in the NHL at home.
New York Rangers (+180) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (-220)
The Hurricanes were -140 series favorites when they swept the Rangers in the 2020 Eastern Conference qualifying round.
The last time the Rangers were at least a +175 series underdog was in the first round of 2009 (+210 vs. Capitals, lost in seven games).
The Rangers are 12-8 outright as an underdog with Igor Shesterkin in net (+7.15 units).
All seven Rangers games this postseason have gone over the total. During the regular season, Rangers games were 46-32-4 to the under, the highest under percentage in the NHL, including 33-18-1 in Shesterkin starts.
The Rangers are +17.5 units this season, best in the NHL. They are +8.6 units at home and +8.9 units on the road, both top four in the NHL.