Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning playoff series preview

NHL Playoffs Expert Picks: The Battle Of Florida, Who's On Upset Watch?

It's time. The Stanley Cup is being polished, the series are locked in as the NHL playoffs begin.

Just like the players, our team is taking no days off either. Our NHL experts, Michel Anderson and Josie Costigan, will be giving picks for every playoff game this season.

Apr. 21st: Lightning vs Panthers Picks

Apr. 21st: Capitals vs Rangers Picks

Apr. 21st: Avalanche vs Jets Picks

Apr. 21st: Predators vs Canucks Picks

NHL Playoffs Betting Picks

Visit our NHL betting hub daily for expert analysis for every series and playoff betting tips to find an edge for every bet.

Rolling Records
Michel: 1-1 (-0.20 Units)
Josie: 1-1 (-0.23 Units)

Game 1: Lightning vs Panthers
The Game: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers, 12:30 pM ET

Tampa Bay Lightning+1.5 (-185)O5.5 (-120)+142
Florida Panthers-1.5 (+154)U5.5 (+100)-170

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers Series Preview

Michel's Take: I’m taking the OVER in this game. With the playoffs, the line has dropped to 5.5. This year, we’ve seen these two teams battle out three times and twice the total has gone (WAY) over 5.5 goals. In the one game that didn’t go over 5.5 goals, we saw 7.01 xG in all situations.

So we should have seen the OVER hit in all three meetings. I get the concern that both Florida teams might take a cautious approach to game one. But in game one of their last playoff series, we saw five goals on 8.12 xG in all situations. So precedent tells us they’ll just go after each other in a goal fest.

Josie's Take: The Battle of Florida is going to be nothing short of a blood bath -- especially in Game 1. I mentioned how the Panthers defense has gotten significantly better compared to last season, 2.44 GPG, the second-best mark in the league. Plus, Vasilevskiy is Vasilevskiy despite his lower stats this season.

But, all of that gets thrown out the window for this first meeting. Both will be eager to out-play each other and each have offensive threats in their armory. 

Michel's Pick: OVER 5.5 (-120)

Josie's Pick: OVER 5.5 (-120)

Game 1: capitals vs rangers
The Game: Washington Capitals vs NY Rangers, 3 pM ET

Washington Capitals+1.5 (-142)O5.5 (+100)+195
NY Rangers-1.5 (+120)U5.5 (-120)-238

Washington Capitals vs NY Rangers Series Preview

Michel's Take: I agree with the books that the Caps are more likely to cover the puckline than the Rangers so I’m taking those -142 odds.The Capitals have covered a +1.5 puckline 35 times (57%) this season.

And they did so in three of four meetings against the Rangers. We can’t forget that the Rangers need to get on the power play to run away with games. And Washington does a good job of staying out of the box with the third-lowest penalties per 60 since March 1 (2.73).

I doubt the Rangers get on the PP enough to pull away with a massive win. Caps keep it close.

Josie's Take: Odds here aren't very generous and there is no enticing value on taking the Rangers ML. Goaltending will play a factor here as two netminders with the most shutouts this season, Lindgren (6) and Shesterkin (4), stand tall between the pipes. 

The Caps have hit the UNDER in nine of their last 10 outings while the Rangers are on a three-game UNDER streak. Plus, New York has only snagged seven goals in its last five meetings while conceding 20. I personally don't see a high-scoring affair here.

Michel's Pick: Capitals +1.5 (-142)

Josie's Pick: UNDER 5.5 (-120)

Game 1: Avalanche vs Jets
The Game: colorado Avalanche vs Winnipeg Jets, 7 pM ET

Colorado Avalanche+1.5 (-265)O5.5 (-120)-105
Winnipeg Jets-1.5 (+215)U5.5 (+100)-115

Colorado Avalanche vs Winnipeg Jets Series Preview

Michel's Take: The Jets have won the opening game of their last two first-round series. This one is at home where they’ve won four straight and where they’ve gone 3-2SU against the Avs since 2020.

And if there’s any weakness in Colorado’s game it’s playing away from home. They’ve gone 19-22SU (46%) away from home and have lost three of their last four.

Josie's Take: Despite being favored to win the series, Colorado enters the first game as an underdog. There's plenty to favor when Winnipeg hits the ice at Canada Life Centre, where they are 27-11-3 this season. 

Plus, riding an eight-game win streak that featured a 7-0 blowout against the Avs not too long ago -- the momentum rests with the Jets. I have skipped my way to the upset train in this series -- Winnipeg will open the series and run away with it.

Michel's Pick: Jets ML (-115)

Josie's Pick: Jets ML (-115)

Game 1: Predators vs Canucks
The Game: Nashville Predators vs vancouver canucks, 10 pM ET

Nashville Predators+1.5 (-205)O5.5 (-120)+124
Vancouver Canucks-1.5 (+170)U5.5 (+100)-148

Nashville Predators vs Vancouver Canucks Series Preview

Michel's Take: Nashville has been real shaky away from home lately. They’ve gone 2-4SU on the road but those two wins were against the poor Devils and the losing-on-purpose Blackhawks. So that’s effectively a 0.5-5.5SU road record lately.

Vancouver has been good at Rogers Arena all year with a 27-14SU record (66%). And after missing the post-season for three straight seasons, you’ll know they’re going to put on a show for this one. The Canucks, who swept the season series with Nashville 3-0 (with a +7 goal differential), will win Game 1.

Josie's Take: This series stumps me a bit. We've got Vancouver, which started the first half of the season looking untouchable but eventually fell off a bit. Then, we have Nashville, which didn't get any attention at first but looked promising at the end of the regular season slate. 

I think this series will be back-and-forth. Home ice advantage will play in here. But, don't think it will decide the series, the Preds are 24-17 on the road. They'll put up a fight.

Michel's Pick: Canucks ML (-148)

Josie's Pick: Canucks ML (-148)

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