NHL Playoffs and 2024 Opening Round Odds, Picks and Team Notes

FairwayJay Chips-in 2024 NHL Playoff previews, picks and information you can bet on.

Preview and picks for the opening round of the NHL Playoffs

The 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Sat., April 20 with opening round action continuing Sunday and Monday. The top-seed Dallas Stars (-136) are the shortest price that I can recall for a No. 1 conference seed in an opening round series vs. the defending Stanley Cup champions Vegas Golden Knights (+116). Stanley cup playoffs preview betting tipsThose teams play Monday, along with the Edmonton Oilers (-196) vs. Los Angeles Kings (+171), who meet for the third straight year in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

There will be near-daily playoff hockey in the NHL over the next eight weeks with each series a best-of-7. The Stanley Cup Finals begin the first week of June. If you’re in the States, you can watch and win with viewing on ESPN and TNT. And in Canada, catch the action on Sportsnet or CBC. 

You still have time to enter the free BetOnline NHL Predictor Contest

NHL Series Odds

NHL playoff series and daily game odds from BetOnline refresh periodically and are subject to change, including on props and live betting.

Eastern Conference 

- Florida Panthers (-192) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (+167)
- Boston Bruins (-125) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (+105)
- New York Rangers (-435) vs. Washington Capitals (+355)
- Carolina Hurricanes (-400) vs. New York Islanders (+320) 

Western Conference 

- Vancouver Canucks (-150) vs. Nashville Predators (+130)
- Edmonton Oilers (-196) vs. Los Angeles Kings (+171)
- Dallas Stars (-136) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (+116)
- Winnipeg Jets (+105) vs. Colorado Avalanche (-125) - Bet Jets

NHL Teams, Records And Stats Leaders

NHL Playoffs: Team Notes

The Florida Panthers allowed just 200 goals against - fewest in the Eastern Conference, while sporting the best plus/minus in the NHL at +68. The Panthers were the surprise of last year's NHL Playoffs making a run to the Stanley Cup Finals as the second wild card before losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games. Florida Panthers NHL playoffsNow the Panthers enter the playoffs with a stronger team having overtaken the Boston Bruins on the last game of the regular season to win the Atlantic Division. The Panthers should get past the Tampa Bay Lightning, who gave up the most goals during the regular season of any team to make the playoffs in the East. Lighting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy can still perform at a high-level despite sporting his highest goals against average of his career. The best series odds are gone on the Panthers, but they still hold the edges and a little value as a sizable favorite. 

The Vancouver Canucks were the surprise team this season and head coach Rick Tocchet is the clear choice to win the Jack Adams Trophys as the head coach who contributed the most to his team’s success. The Canucks won the Pacific Division ahead of playoff teams Oilers, Kings and Golden Knights. Vancouver Caniucks Stanley Cup playoff previewVancouver's victories cooled off later in the season as top goalie Thatcher Demko missed 14 games after suffering a knee injury vs. the Jets March 9. He returned the final two games of the regular season and is set for a playoff run. Since mid-Feb., the Predators have been one of the best five-on-five teams in the league, with 58 percent of the expected goals. Like the Canucks, the Predators were not expected to make the playoffs ahead of the season. But their defense and goaltending from Juuse Saros improved since mid-Feb., which resulted in 8 and 6-game winning streaks. I wouldn't expect much offense or as many scoring chances in this series, which makes game totals and live betting under a more viable option. 

A fascinating series between the defending Stanley Cup champions Vegas Golden Knights and top team in the West this season, Dallas Stars. You can read the VGK-DAL series preview in The Athletic, with more stats, players and matchups broken down for each series. Vegas won the playoff series last year 4-2 and Stars head coach Pete DeBoer was the Golden Knights HC in 2020 and 2021, and he also coached against Vegas in the playoffs when he was HC of San Jose in 2018 and 2019. 

NHL Playoffs Picks

I bet the Winnipeg Jets (-106) to win Game 1 over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, and the Jets (+105) to win the series with home ice advantage and the best goaltender. Connor Hellebuyck finished the season with the most goals saved above expected, and led all starters in save percentage (.921) as the Jets allowed the fewest goals against in the NHL (199). Hellebuyck is the teams clear MVP, and he'll be tasked with stopping the league MVP in Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (51 goals, 89 assists).  

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs free picksYou can follow my sharp Canadien colleague Brian (Sherwood) at Sportswagers.ca for NHL series selections and game-by-game picks throughout the playoffs. Complimentary plays and value-added insight without the tout talk or pay for picks. Sherwood’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the betting markets is provided in his daily game analysis on sports and filled with insightful information, advanced stats and value-driven betting decisions. That included this analysis and pick on the Jets April 13 as underdog in a 7-0 crushing of Colorado.  

Last year, Sherwood bet and picked the huge upset by the Florida Panthers over the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which I featured in my hockey and sports betting coverage in Forbes. While I may be at Game 3 watching from Press Row in Las Vegas between the Golden Knights and Stars, I won't be providing daily NHL Playoffs updates or picks. So I suggest you skate, shoot and score with Sherwood for more value and victories when watching and wagering on hockey.

You can bet on it.

FairwayJay is recognized as a leading sports betting analyst providing insights and information you can bet on here at OSGAFollow him on X (Twitter) @FairwayJay for more sports betting news and insights.

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