NHL 2023 Playoffs: Odds and Picks for Conference Championships
Just four teams remain in the 2023 NHL postseason. Which two will advance on to the Stanley Cup Finals?
.The 2023 NHL postseason is down to its final four teams and if the semifinal round is anything like the first two, truly anyone can advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been a playoffs full of upsets and unlikely scenarios. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who picked this exact field for the conference finals round.
Any of the remaining four can make a run at the Cup, as the playing field is fairly even. The Carolina Hurricanes (+230), Vegas Golden Knights (+250), Dallas Stars (+300) and Florida Panthers (+330) are all being given similar odds to win the title and that represents just how up in the air the outcome of this postseason truly is.
Since all four remaining teams are considered real threats to hoist Lord Stanley’s trophy in a few weeks, there is still some decent value with futures bets for each. Make sure to get those in while the value is still there
Let’s take a look at each upcoming conference final series.
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Florida Pulls Off Upset of Carolina
Both the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers entered their second-round matchups as series underdogs. Both triumphed convincingly by a 4-1 tally.
The Hurricanes did so behind an absolute onslaught of goals. The New Jersey Devils just could not keep up. Carolina scored five, six, four, six, and three goals, respectively, in each game. The Canes have had a very well-balanced offense in this postseason with lots of players contributing in the goals and assists categories, led by Sebastian Aho (five goals, five assists) and Jordan Martinook (3 G, 7 A). They are -135 to win this series.
The Panthers, who are +115 to win, have played the role of spoiler in this postseason, knocking off the best regular season team of all-time in the Boston Bruins, followed by the loaded Toronto Maple Leafs. Florida doesn’t score like Carolina. They will grind out close wins and should continue that style. Matthew Tkachuk has been a star this postseason with five goals and 11 assists. Sergei Bobrovsky has been arguably the playoff’s most effective goaltender, boasting a 7-2 record thus far.
Florida hockey tends to thrive this time of year. The Tampa Bay Lightning has won the Eastern Conference three years in a row and it may just be time to pass the baton off to their neighbors on the east coast. The Panthers are succeeding as underdogs and the team is on a magical run. They have the star power to gain the edge and have proven their ability to win close games, which will matter much more as the postseason goes on. I expect Florida to pull off another upset and possibly even continue the trend all the way to a championship.
Vegas Shows Why it’s No. 1 Against Dallas
Vegas is coming off a very impressive second-round series win, knocking off a loaded Edmonton Oilers team in just six games. The Knights have arguably shown the strongest blend of offensive and defensive prowess thus far in the postseason, which is a recipe for success and possibly a Stanley Cup run. The team is -145 to win the Conference Championship. They have rallied behind star player Jack Eichel, who leads the bunch in both goals (6) and assists (8). Captain Mark Stone is also hot, as he only trails Eichel by one in each category.
Dallas, who is +122 to win, is coming off the lone Game 7 of the quarterfinal round, as they knocked off the Seattle Kraken in a win-or-go-home game at home. Although they had a tough time getting rid of the Kraken, the Stars looked like a very strong squad throughout the series and the longevity of the series is more of a credit to Seattle than a knock on Dallas. Roope Hintz leads the remaining postseason contenders in goals (9) and is tied for second in assists (10). He has been an extreme catalyst for his team. He will look to continue sparking some offense in the conference finals.
Ultimately Vegas is the best remaining team in this postseason. They should be able to put that on display in this series. They are the deepest and most well-rounded squad, which tends to have a direct correlation to championship ability. I believe the Knights will win this one in five or six games. That will set up a Stanley Cup Final matchup with the Florida Panthers.
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