Now that we’re past the first two rounds of an extraordinarily entertaining playoff series, we look forward to the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Semi-Finals. We have one final game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado in the Western Conference.
Below, I break down this series and give my best bet. The stake below is 1.5 units or 1.5% of your betting bankroll.
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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Edmonton Oilers (+200)
The Edmonton Oilers advance to the Western Conference Finals after beating the Calgary Flames in a playoff Battle of Alberta. Edmonton topped the series beating the Flames in five games, winning the last four in a row, with three wins by at least two goals.
Coach Jay Woodcroft made a phenomenal adjustment early in this series when he stacked Kane/McDavid/Draisaitl on the same line. This three-headed monster topped the series with 35 points in those five games.
Of the four teams remaining in the playoffs, this line ranks first in expected goals for (xGF) per 60 minutes. Due to the outright dominance of the Kane/McDavid/Draisaitl line, the Oilers rank first among the bottom four teams in five-on-five xGF every 60 minutes.
Supporting this Oilers offense is starting goaltender Mike Smith, who had a good streak against the Flames despite a few blunders. Smith went 4-0 with a .907 save percentage in the second round.
Smith has been great in the playoffs, going 8-3 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average so far. Of the four remaining starting goaltenders in the playoffs, Smith ranks third in five-on-five goals saved above expectations (GSAx) per 60 minutes.
With the strength of its numbers, this ranking indicates how elite Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin have been in the Eastern Conference. Of course, that means the goaltender trailing Smith in that metric is Colorado starter Darcy Kuemper.
Colorado Avalanche (-250)
As the heavy favorite in this series, the Colorado Avalanche enter the Western Conference Finals in great shape. They eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games after sweeping the Nashville Predators in the first round. That being said, Colorado will meet a healthy team for the first time this postseason.
In the first round, the Predators were left without starting goaltender Juuse Saros. Without Saros, the Predators wouldn’t have been a playoff team, and this loss was absolutely crippling for them.
While the Avalanche most likely would have won this series even if Saros were healthy, the Predators could have stolen a game or two. In the second round, the Blues lost starting goaltender Jordan Binnington in Game 3 to injury.
Going from Binnington to Husso was a massive drop in every stat and metric. While it’s unfair to say the Blues would have won the series if Binnington was healthy, the fact that St. Louis led that team to six games despite losing is very telling.
Even if Colorado makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals, that price is far too long as they face an arguably hotter team in the Edmonton Oilers. As I mentioned in the previous section, Edmonton will have the advantage in goaltending because Darcy Kuemper hasn’t been great in the playoffs.
In nine playoff games, Kuemper has a .904 save percentage and -.307 GSAx five-for-five per 60 minutes. Colorado’s only advantage over Edmonton is their defense.
The Avalanche forwards and defensemen are very good defensively. The Avalanche rank first among the four teams remaining in the playoffs in five goals to five expected (xGA) per 60 minutes. That being said, I don’t believe any team can limit McDavid and Draisaitl until I actually see him.
At 2/1, give me the team with the best goalkeeper and the best player on the planet.
Best bet: Edmonton Oilers will win the series (+200)
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Tony Sartori is a featured writer for BettingPros. For more on Tony, check out his archive and follow him @tony_sartori.