Not gonna lie: there's not a hell of lot that jumped out at me for the First Round slate. I went 1-2 on series picks in the Qualifiers (Rags and Jets lost while Columbus cashed at +150). But I jumped on the early under trend as offenses shook off the rust and was able to offset the series losses.
As the tide swung to overs, puck line covers not-so-coincidentally started to cash at a crazy clip as well.
Here are the lines for tonight's slate. 'Home' team is the higher seed and has the last change in Games 1, 2, 5, and 7.
Columbus @ Tampa Bay. In this rematch of last year's first-round series that the BJs shockingly swept, TB is 7-8 (-160) in Game 1 with a total of 5 or 5.5 depending on shop and 10-12 (-240) in the series. The status of Tampa stud D-man Victor Hedman and sniper Steven Stamkos are unknown.
Calgary @Dallas. Game 1 is a pick 'em with a total of 5 and the series is a pick 'em. I know there's some variance on the lines with a slight edge to the Stars. But this series is a pick 'em and should be one of the tighest of the first round.
Carolina @ Boston. The erstwhile Adams Divisions rivals and last season's Wales finalists meet again in this season's first round. In Game 1, the Bs are 6-7 (-140) with an O/U of 5.5 and 7-8 (-160) in the series.
Chicago @ Vegas. The
Gila Monsters Golden Knights are the biggest faves of the first round. In Game 1, Vegas is 8.5-2 (-200) with 6.5 and in the series they're 12-16 (-320/+240).
If Hedman and Stamkos are both out for the series, I think Tampa will struggle again vs. the non-stop grinding from Columbus. Hedman is an absolute horse for the Lightning and, paraphrasing Biz on Monday's ep, without having that essential part, the engine doesn't run nearly as smooth. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a rough outing last post-season and Tampa needs much more from him. Columbus could be without Elvis Merzlikins after he was apparently hurt in the Q-round. If Torts gets a trigger finger with Joonas Korpisalo (who was awesome in Game 5 vs. Toronto), 23-year-old undrafted Latvian Matiss Kivlenieks would be next up as of right now. But he still has the tremendous Seth Jones. This is the first battle of Tested vs. Rested and I think Columbus keeps steamrolling. I'm on the Blue Jackets for the series (+200) once again. I'm also throwing a small taste on them in Game 1 -1.5 for +425.
Normally I'd be salivating at a +240 for a series line just on principle. But I just don't think Chicago is beating Vegas. And I sure as hell ain't laying -320 for anyone. So I'll do some game-to-game shit here. Vegas is starting Robin Lehner tonight. The team acquired the goalie from the Blackhawks via a three-team deal in February. Not only does he have that 'going against team that traded me' motivation, he's also trying to keep the starting gig with a HOFer manning the door, and he'll be an unrestricted free agent after the season. I know three of four of Chicago's Q-round games went over but Vegas isn't Edmonton. So I'm on UNDER 6.5 and UNDER 2.5 CHI goals.
Keep watching this space for any single game action. I'll post any shit I really like (as opposed to the shits-and-giggles plays that I throw in willy-nilly).