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2015 NHL Betting – Best NHL First-Round Series Picks

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/14/2015 1:44:31 AM

The National Hockey League regular season is over. Now it’s time for the playoffs. Which of the eight first-round series look like particularly good bets? Here are the three ideal choices:

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

There are reasons to pick the Wild here, the chief one being that Minnesota was able to win a playoff series last year as the number seven seed, going up against second-seeded Colorado. The Wild were also able to win a Game 7 on the road, which is not very easy to do in any team sport. Minnesota has that experience in mind and hopes to be able to show a similarly high level of resilience against St. Louis. However, the Blues will have the advantages of home ice and (separately) knowing that their main nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks, is not the first-round opponent. St. Louis has fielded some very strong regular season teams the past few years. A lot of people in and around the NHL think it’s time for them to – if not break through – at least make a deeper run in the playoffs, getting to the Western Conference Finals at a minimum. Look for St. Louis to win this series in six tough games against Minnesota, which is not likely to make this best-of-seven showdown an easy one.

NHL Betting Pick: St. Louis

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

This is a series in which the final night of the NHL regular season is probably going to wind up mattering a good deal. The New York Islanders had a chance to get home ice for this series by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets at home in what was the regular season finale at old Nassau Coliseum, the longtime building for the Islanders. Nassau Coliseum is where the Islanders won their four straight Stanley Cup championships from 1980 through 1983. A big crowd wanted to give the Isles a regular season send-off victory, but the team lost a late lead to Columbus and dropped the game. The result gave Washington home ice in this matchup and could easily tilt the playing field if it’s tied at two games apiece heading into Game 5, or if this series goes a full seven games. Washington should feed off the Islanders’ late lapse. New York is going to have a tough time fighting off its failure this past Saturday.

NHL Betting Pick: Washington

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

The final series in this group is one in which the Rangers should hold all the cards. They clearly have the better goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist. They have been playing a lot better over the past two months, while Pittsburgh has steadily struggled. The Penguins are not a team that’s in a brief slump; they have gone downward over the past month. Pittsburgh has won only five times since March 9. That’s five weeks of bad hockey, and that’s going to catch up with the Penguins here. The Rangers should take the series in five or six games.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Rangers

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