Stanley Cup playoffs first-round betting nuggets: Kings of the road

Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings has 36 points in 42 career playoff games on the road. Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

The NHL postseason begins this week following a regular season in which favorites reigned supreme. Favorites were +35.9 units during the regular season, while road favorites were +46.6 units.

However, come postseason time, underdogs have typically barked the loudest. Each of the past four postseasons, underdogs have been profitable in the playoffs, up a total of 49.6 units in that span entering this postseason.

Overs cashed at a 53.6% clip during the regular season. Excluding shootout-deciding goals, games averaged 3.11 goals per team per game during the regular season, the most since 1995-96 (3.14). Recently, overs have also come through in the playoffs, as they have cashed at a 56.1% clip in the past four postseasons.

Washington Capitals vs Florida Panthers

  • The Panthers are +15.8 units this season, second most in the NHL behind the Rangers. They were +16.8 units at home and +18.95 units as favorites, both the most profitable by any team in the past four seasons.

  • Sergei Bobrovsky is +26.8 units on the season in 53 starts, making him the most profitable goalie in a single season over the past five seasons. The Panthers are -11 units in 29 starts by other goaltenders.

  • Florida has not won a playoff series since the 1996 Eastern Conference finals. The 24-season drought is not only the longest active drought in the NHL -- it's the longest run of seasons without a postseason series win in NHL history.

  • The Panthers are -350 favorites to win the series, the largest they have ever been favored to win a playoff series, according to SportsOddsHistory.com data.

  • Each of the past six Presidents' Trophy winners failed to make it out of the second round. Each of the past eight failed to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

  • Washington is a +180 underdog in Game 1. The last time the Capitals were that large of an underdog was April 8, 2014, at St. Louis (won as +206 underdogs).

  • The Capitals are -19.65 units as a home favorite.

  • Panthers games are 46-30-6 to the over this season, while Washington games are 47-31-4 to the over.

  • All three meetings went over the total this season (all three totals were six). The home team won all three meetings.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs

  • The Lightning had closed as favorites in 15 straight series prior to closing as +100 underdogs against the Maple Leafs. The last time Tampa Bay had been a series underdog was in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

  • Toronto has lost in the first round in five straight seasons, including as a favorite each of the past two seasons. The Maple Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004, the second-longest series win drought in the NHL (Florida, see above).

  • The Maple Leafs are +4.05 units at home this season, including Game 1, compared to -9.15 units on the road.

  • Toronto won 12 of its final 13 home games (+7.5 units), including Game 1.

  • Overs are 19-4-2 in Toronto's past 25 road games and 24-6-2 in its past 32 road games.

  • The Maple Leafs are +10.85 units this season when Jack Campbell starts, including the Game 1 victory (48 starts). They are -14.95 units in starts by all other goaltenders (35 games).

Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes

  • The Hurricanes sport a combined margin of 21-2 this season in four meeting with the Bruins, with each victory coming by at least three goals, including a 5-1 win in Game 1. The three regular-season meetings were decided by a 16-1 margin, making this the first playoff meeting in which the regular-season games had a margin of at least five goals per game.

  • Boston is -9.73 units in 30 home playoff games under coach Bruce Cassidy (13-17), excluding the 2020 bubble.

  • The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes from the playoffs in both 2019 and 2020, both as favorites.

  • First-period unders are 50-32-1 this season in Hurricanes games, the best mark in the NHL.

Kings stave off Oilers to claim Game 1

The Edmonton Oilers come back from a 2-goal deficit, but Phillip Danault scores a scrappy goal in the third period for the Kings to seal the win.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers

  • The Rangers were +17.8 units this season, best in the NHL. They were the most profitable team in the past three seasons.

  • The Rangers were the second-most profitable team on the road (+10.25 units) and the fifth-most profitable team at home (+7.05 units). They were +12.2 units as a favorite and +3.2 units as an underdog, both third best in the NHL.

  • Unders are 46-32-4 this season in Rangers games, the best mark in the NHL.

  • The Penguins are -16.9 units in the playoffs since 2018, worst in the NHL in that span (26 games).

  • First-period unders are 48-32-2 in Rangers games this season, the second-best under mark in the NHL. First-period unders are 44-34-3 in Penguins games, the fourth-best under mark in the NHL.

Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche

  • The Predators were +6.25 units as an underdog this season, best in the NHL, including +6.7 units as a home underdog.

  • A Nashville (+425) series victory would be the largest series upset in the postseason since the 2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (+525) swept the Detroit Red Wings (-850), according to SportsOddsHistory.com data.

  • The Avalanche are -320 favorites in Game 1. That is the fourth-largest betting line in a playoff game since 2018. In that span, -300 favorites are 2-2 in playoff games (-4.4 units). Colorado is 2-0 in that span (both last season vs Blues), while all other teams are 0-2.

St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild

  • The Blues are 14-1-2 against the Wild since Craig Berube took over as St. Louis head coach in 2018, including in Game 1 (+12.5 units).

  • Wild games are 47-33-3 to the over this season.

  • First-period overs are 47-29-7 in Wild games this season, including Game 1 (+12.6 units).

  • The Wild were +9.2 units in the regular season, the best mark in the Western Conference. They were +11.65 units at home.

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames

  • Dallas is +8.4 units with Jake Oettinger in net (46 games), compared to -9.45 units with all other goalies (36 games).

  • The Flames are -350 favorites to win the series. That is the largest Calgary has been favored by to win a playoff series since Round 1 of 1995 against the Sharks (won 4-3 as -450 favorites).

  • The Flames were -12.2 units at home compared to +7.9 units on the road.

Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers

  • The Kings are an NHL-best +13.05 units on the road, including Game 1, compared to -2.4 units at home.

  • The Oilers are 1-8 in the playoffs since 2020 (-10.8 units), all as a favorite.

  • The Oilers are +8.8 units as a home favorite this season, including their Game 1 loss as a -200 favorite. That is the second-best mark in the NHL.

  • First-period unders are 47-35-1 in Kings games this season, including Game 1.

  • The Oilers are the largest series favorites they have been since the 1991 conference finals against the Minnesota North Stars (-270, lost in seven games).