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NHL Picks and Bets - Playoff Hat Trick

Mar 28, 2019; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) warms up before a game against the New York Islanders at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 NHL Playoffs opened with an incredible set of Game 1s that have provided us with several upsets already. Friday’s slate includes: St. Louis Blues vs. Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks, and Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning; all play their Game 2. The Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders will be covered in a separate article.

Odds provided by FanDuel; for a full-set of today’s sports betting odds, access them at USA TODAY Sports.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning – 7 p.m. Eastern

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Moneyline: The Lightning remains a heavy favorite at -250 as they look to rebound after giving up four unanswered goals in a shocking Game 1 loss on home ice. The last time the Lightning lost two consecutive games in regulation was Nov. 10 and 13, so we’re safe to expect them to bounce back.

Against the spread: There’s better value once again in the Lightning to cover -1.5. The spread pays +100 and is a solid play while Tampa Bay seeks revenge.

Over/under: After the wild Game 1 had seven total goals scored, the number for Friday has been set at 6.5. Expect a sharper Lightning team defensively and back the UNDER at +100.

St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets – 9:30 p.m. Eastern

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Moneyline: The Blues were able to dictate the pace in Game 1 and snuck away with a near-perfect 2-1 win on the road in a raucous environment at Bell MTS Centre. Goaltender Jordan Binnington was given the conditions he needed for his first taste of playoff hockey, stopping 24 of just 25 shots on goal. We’ll stick with the Jets one more time at -115 hoping they can make the rookie’s life a little more difficult in front of a desperate fanbase.

Against the spread: It pays just -300 to back the Blues at +1.5. Game 1 was played tight, but we’ll double down on the Jets’ home crowd helping them even the series as it heads to St. Louis. Take -1.5 at a rewarding +250.

Over/under: The total sits at just 5.5 following Game 1’s three-goal chess match. With an extra two goals to spare, we can back the UNDER at the lower odds of -135.

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks – 10:30 p.m. Eastern

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Moneyline: The Sharks’ 5-2 win in Game 1 was the largest margin of victory of opening night and the only game of the five to be decided by more than one goal. Vegas will make this a series once they get back home, but the Sharks earned some trust and are the play at 130.

Against the spread: The Golden Knights should be able to keep this one a little closer. They’re the play to cover +1.5 at -240.

Over/under: We’ll go for a second straight OVER to start this Western Conference Quarterfinal. More than 6.5 goals will pay a more profitable -105 than the under.

Follow Esten on Twitter @EstenMcLaren


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