And we’re off again.
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, after a weekend rest from their first-round NHL playoff victories, drop the puck for Round 2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night.
The odds reflecting public betting opinion are in line with the relative strengths of the teams. (All odds as of 6 p.m. EST Aug. 24.)
|NHL Playoffs Round 2|
Some gamblers will make series wagers before the first game. Others will wager individual contests and make in-game wagers.
There are a couple of avenues to consider. If you get series bets down before Game 1, that will be your best chance to obtain what you view as a deal.
As the series unfolds, the series wagers will reflect how the teams are performing. If the series is knotted 2-2, they won’t be much different than how they started. Any team with a 3 -1 deficit will be a decided underdog for those who believe in rallies.
The series is set for seven games. So let’s look at seven betting angles in this Islanders vs. Flyers playoff series.
1. The rush of ‘Philly Fever’
Apply the variable of the pro-Flyers betting market to your individual game considerations.
Philly Fever is likely to carry over onto the betting board the deeper this team goes in the playoffs. You want to determine the proper value.
There is no home-ice edge to propel teams. If a line gets on the wrong side of a possible return — say, if it gets higher than -140 on an individual game — you might consider parlaying the moneyline with an over-under or player-to-score prop.
2. Islanders, Flyers are evenly matched
There is parity. And well there should be.
New Jersey online sports betting sites have the Flyers as a slight edge in the neighborhood of 6-5 favorites, which appears right for two teams that have already advanced in the playoffs.
The teams brought identical records — 7-2 since the NHL restart — into this series.
For Philadelphia, the first three games were a round robin that determined playoff position. It went 3-0. The Flyers followed by defeating the Montreal Canadiens four games to two.
The Islanders faced two win-or-go-home postseason scenarios.
First, they defeated the Florida Panthers three games to one in a qualifying series. And then they throttled the Washington Capitals, winning four of five games, including a shutout in the finale.
This team is flying high and is well-respected. The books were on them before the Capitals series, as the Islanders were only in the +120 neighborhood at the major sportsbooks.
3. Expect heavy line movement before each game
Last-minute line shopping is significant, both for the series and for individual games.
FanDuel had dangled the Flyers at -120 and got enough interest to move the line back up.
On Friday, NJ Gambling Sites detailed the betting momentum before the Flyers’ Game 6 matchup against the Canadiens.
In a one-hour period, the line went from Philadelphia -124 to -129 and then to -141. This is particularly volatile for day-of betting. That line essentially went from a little over 6-5 to 7-5 in terms of a bettor laying money.
Take this into consideration for both the series and in-game bets. The price point compares to buying a stock. If it is fluctuating, you don’t want to chase it. Pick a range that you believe reflects the appropriate value and make that wager if it fits.
4. Series bets vs. individual game bets
The majority of bettors see this best-of-seven Round 2 series ending in six games. The DraftKings over-under of over 5.5 games is -182. But the under 6.5 is -250.
Do you think this series can go the full seven? If so, that’s a handsome +200 at DraftKings.
These types of bets are interesting because they give bettors rooting interest on both sides of a series that looks competitive on paper.
If the bettors view this as a six-game series, you can place some of that perspective into individual-game bets. If one team grabs a 2-0 lead, this view would mean betting on the trailing team in the third game.
5. Find the sweet spot for best bets
Whether you call it alternate lines or the PointsBet NJ version of pick your own lines, bettors have the opportunity to select one they are comfortable with. Odds will fluctuate with each one, but the option is there for each payer to find what he/she considers the sweet spot.
In the first series, the Islanders covered the -1.5 spread in three of their victories. And that’s where prime value sits.
The Flyers covered it just once.
6. Contrarian instincts are real
There are prices to be realized if a bettor can correctly guess what might or is due to happen.
The Flyers got ahead and stayed ahead in every win versus the Canadiens. They could not get out of the hole in the two games they lost.
But at some point, they are due to fall behind and win a game. If they fall behind 1-0 early, you will probably get odds exceeding 2-1 by taking them. It’s not as advisable a move after the first period because there is less time to work with.
7. Goals vs. goalies and the over-under
The over-under line. It’s usually zoned in on five, and Fox Bet threw the tantalizing 4.5 number out for the first game.
There should be at least one offensive breakout game in the series. Both goalies — Carter Hart and Semyon Varlamov — overachieved in the opening round.
But take note: The Flyers have an edge in the goaltending department, maybe worth half a goal a game. Hart was magnificent in the opening round, but the Flyers made him steal the series for them.
But Varlamov had his best playoff series ever for the Islanders. He kept them in it during the first two games, when the Isles fell behind 2-0 and 1 -0. He also changed Game 3 with a beautiful save on a breakaway in overtime against the Capitals.
Moments later, the Islanders won the game. Without that save, the series would have been knotted after four games and had a different feel.
The Flyers need to win more battles in the corners. They received precious few shots from the slot against the Canadiens.
And the Flyers need to throw the puck at the net more. In the finale against the Canadiens, all three of their goals were deflected in off a Montreal player.
The Islanders showed more urgency and bounce in their step against the Capitals than the Flyers did against the Canadiens.
Bottom line? This Stanley Cup Playoff series will be fun to watch.