Top NHL Betting Picks For Wednesday, June 2nd (2021)

Just eight teams remain alive in the NHL playoffs, and we’ll see four of them in action tonight. As the action continues, we will break down our top NHL betting picks for today’s playoff matchups.

Out west, Colorado and Vegas will play Game Two of their series after the Avalanche blew the Golden Knights’ doors off in Game One. Tempers flared, especially in the third period, but when the dust settled, it was Colorado who captured a 7-1 blowout Game One win.

Winnipeg and Montreal will kick off the second round north of the border tonight as well. It seems like forever ago that the Jets swept Connor McDavid and the Oilers out of the first round, so we’ll see if there’s any early rust to knock off. The Canadiens are riding high after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to send the Maple Leafs packing; can Carey Price continue his superb goaltending? Montreal will need it if they want to be crowned the champions of the North Division.

Last Friday, we took an unfortunate loss when the Golden Knights topped the Wild in Game Seven, but with two outstanding games on tap tonight, let’s get back to our winning ways.

Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for today’s games >>

Top NHL Betting Picks For Wednesday, June 2nd

Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens: Game 1 (Series Tied 0-0)

This series is a tough one to read early on. As I alluded to earlier, the Jets are extremely well-rested, and they needed it. They last played on May 24th – nine days ago – completing the sweep of Edmonton in their third straight overtime game. Game Four took three overtimes to settle a winner. Still, a week-and-a-half long break is a long one, and I’m a little concerned about the Jets coming out of the gate a bit slow and out of sync. They may need a period or so to get their skating legs back.

As for Montreal, they just finished off their first-round series in Toronto on Monday, so they’re operating on the customary one day of rest. However, Monday’s Game Seven was an emotional one. A winner-take-all game on the road against an Original Six team who happens to be one of your rivals? After storming back from being down 3-1 in the series? Montreal needed to tap into an extra source of adrenaline, and it worked. But I’m wary that the adrenaline tank may be a bit empty coming into this one.

The most logical way to approach tonight’s matchup is to target the first-period total because, as I outlined above, I don’t think either team is going to be crisp out of the gate. And for two completely different reasons. Both teams have also been prone to particularly low-scoring first periods in the playoffs as well. Montreal headed to the first intermission in a 0-0 tie four times in seven games in their first-round series. Just five combined first-period goals were scored between the two teams, an average of 0.72 goals per first period.

Winnipeg and Edmonton also combined for five first-period tallies in their opening-round series, but in just four games. That’s an average of 1.25 goals per first period – which is still low enough to cash this under – and two of the four games were scoreless after one.

The two high-octane offensive clubs – Toronto and Edmonton – are no longer in the picture. Coupled with the excellent goaltending of Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Montreal’s Carey Price, we could be looking at a string of low-scoring games, especially early. Hellebuyck and Price are second and third, respectively, among playoff goaltenders in saves above expectation.

The total is set at 1.5 goals for tonight’s opening period, with the under juiced a bit to -125 at many books. Some have the under already down to -135, and that’s the lowest I would recommend going on this one. 

NHL Betting Pick: Jets / Canadiens 1P Under 1.5 Goals -125 (Good to -135)

Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights: Game 2 (COL Leads 1-0)

This was the series everyone was begging for. Two of the best, possibly the two best, teams in the NHL duking it out in a seven-game series. And naturally, we were treated to a 7-1 blowout.

All kidding aside, the Avalanche steamrolled Vegas in absolutely every aspect of Game One. They took nearly 57% of the shots, owned almost 58% of the scoring chances, and they flat out picked on poor Robin Lehner, who hadn’t played in a game in three weeks. Vegas will most likely go back to Marc-Andre Fleury tonight, which has made Colorado a much shorter favorite than they were in Game One.

Personally, I don’t think it matters who is in net against the Avalanche. They made Jordan Binnington – a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender – look lost for most of the opening round series, as he had the second-worst save percentage vs. expectation of any goaltender in the playoffs. Then they scored seven goals on Lehner, who won a share of the Jennings Trophy this year. Colorado is a machine, and they’ve proved it all playoff long.

Of the top 13 players in the 2021 NHL Playoffs, ranked by the GameScore metric, seven-play for Colorado: their entire top line as well as their top-four defensemen. They’re first among playoff teams in SCF%, second in CF% and xGF%, and third in HDCF%. They’re generating offense in bunches, and the long layoff between series didn’t seem to slow them down at all. There will be even less rust tonight and less grit on the Vegas bench as well, as they’ll be without Ryan Reaves, who is serving a suspension for his Game One misconduct.

The Avalanche have outscored their opponents 27-8 this playoff, they’re winning by an average of 3.8 goals per game, and they haven’t won a game by fewer than three yet. They look like the team to beat, and I’m rolling with them to stay hot as a top NHL betting pick.

NHL Betting Pick: Avalanche 60-Minute Line -115 (Good to -125)

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