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NHL Picks: Hockey Best Bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for April 20

Geoff Ulrich gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s NHL betting card.

The first round of the playoffs brings us four games this Thursday with the Rangers at Devils, the Lightning at Leafs, the Kraken at Avalanche, and the Jets at Golden Knights. Every single one of the favorites in these four respective series lost the first game and hence every road team is now up 1-0 in the series. As of now, the Avalanche are the biggest favorites on the slate at -215 with the closest money line spread out in New Jersey where the Devils are only -130 home favorites.

Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Maple Leafs to win in regulation +105

Yes, the Maple Leafs have let the entire betting community and fans down before in the playoffs, and yes game one was horrific from a visual perspective — but we do need to be careful not to overreact to one bad outing. The Maple Leafs clawed back from a terrible start in game one to get within one goal before one stupid penalty by Michael Bunting shut the door on any comeback. Bunting is out for Game 2 and the Lightning now find themselves severally banged up and potentially without the services of two top defensemen (including Victor Hedman - game-time decision).

Toronto must be more disciplined in the penalty department but was still the better team when 5-on-5 in the opener and will almost certainly find itself on the end of a ‘W’ today if the penalty box is avoided. With the market reacting to another Maple Leafs’ playoff blunder, Toronto is now available at +105 to win in regulation, giving us a good line to play for a rebound performance. It makes sense to give Toronto one more chance at home with Tampa’s injury situation and better odds now available.

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers

Under 5.5 goals

The Devils laid an egg in Game 1, allowing the Rangers to get out to an early lead while also allowing two power-play goals to one of the most talented special teams units in the league. The Devils were the fourth-least penalized team in the league this season and certainly know how important it is not to give the Rangers extra chances. They outplayed the Rangers at 5-on-5 from an expected goal rate in Game 1 and should be looking to play a more buttoned-up game today to keep the Rangers’ skill players from taking over. New Jersey was 21-20 to the under in homes games this season and will be facing off against playoff-Igor Shesterkin again who has a .929 save % in the playoffs for his career.

Look for a tighter, lower-scoring game two to play out with the +100 available on under 5.5 goals offering good intrinsic value from a betting standpoint.

Colorado Avalanche

Over 3.5 goals -115 / Artturi Lehkonen +215 to score a goal

It was a great effort by Seattle in Game 1 to land the upset but holding Colorado to one goal should likely be considered an outlier rather than the norm. The Avalanche scored four or more goals in seven of their final eight games of the regular season and face a goalie in Philipp Grubauer who posted just a .895 save percentage on the season. Grubauer is certainly capable of stealing more games for the Kraken but expecting him to limit the Avalanche’s offense to under two goals again in game two seems a little foolhardy. The Kraken’s penalty-kill will also likely be under pressure at some point tonight, which finished with the 12th worst penalty-kill in the league.

If we’re playing for over 3.5 goals and for Colorado’s offense to get back on track, then looking to a core player like Artturi Lehkonen to get on the scoresheet makes sense tonight as well. Lehkonen is a catalyst for the entire team given his ability to play in so many different areas and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him play close to 20 minutes tonight. He had just one shot in game one but figures to be more aggressive in that area in Game 2 and did see eight of his 21 goals this season come on the power play. If you’re looking for a good same-game parlay or just want to play as many over’s on Colorado as possible, pairing an anytime Lehkonen goal with an over on the Colorado team total gives you some nice correlation no matter how you stack your bets.

Panthers to win series +200

Sorry Bruins fans, but it does appear like Boston can be had at the moment. An untimely injury to Patrice Bergeron (Why did he play in final regular season game again?) and potential issues in net with Linus Ullmark (who was also injured down the stretch) have seemingly evened this series out. Florida was one of the leaders in expected goal for percentage down the stretch and its speed when 5-on-5 caused Boston to commit double-digit turnovers in Game 2. With Bergeron’s status still unknown and the Panthers operating at full strength, the +200 for the Panthers to complete the upset looks worth taking in a series where Florida has looked like the better team through two games — and now has removed home-ice advantage with a win in Game 2.

Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds are subject to change.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.