Panthers Seek Redemption in Stanley Cup Final

2024 Stanley Cup Expert Pick: Florida Opens as Series Favorite

The table is set. The Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers will open the Stanley Cup Final in Florida. The Panthers, back in the Final for the second consecutive season, are seeking their first Cup. They are -1.5 (+185) on the puck line and -135 on the moneyline in Game 1, in addition to -130 favorites to win the best-of-seven series. The Oilers, meanwhile, have +110 series odds.

Who has the edge? Read on as we break down the Oilers and Panthers and give our 2024 Stanley Cup expert pick.

Game 1

Oilers logo Oilers vs Panthers Panthers logo

Records: Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers
Day/Time
:
Location: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise, FL
Streaming: ABC/ESPN+

Oilers vs Panthers Betting Trends

The Edmonton Oilers are 44-56 against the puck line, including just 18-32 away from home. The Oilers haven’t fared much better for Over/Under bettors, going 44-51-5. The Under has hit in five of the Oilers’ last seven games.

Uncover Exclusive Picks & Predictions From Our Experts.

The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, are 46-43 against the puck line. That includes just 16-34 at home, which is among the worst rates (32%) in the NHL. The Panthers have also been the biggest liability for Over/Under bettors, producing a mark of just 36-59-4.

That’s important to remember when analyzing our 2024 Stanley Cup expert pick.

Canada’s Last Hope

The Oilers are on the verge of ending one of the NHL’s most notorious droughts, hoping to become the first team from Canada to win the Stanley Cup in 31 years.

Since Montreal celebrated its last championship in 1993, only six other Canadian teams have reached the Cup Final: Vancouver (1994, 2011), Calgary (2004), Edmonton (2006), Ottawa (2007), and Montreal (2021).

Despite a brutal 3-9-1 start, which culminated with the firing of head coach Jay Woodcroft, the Oilers have been the betting favorites for most of the season.

  • They opened +1000 to win the Cup, one of four teams 10/1 or better, and were up to +280 before the Western Conference finals.

Over the final 69 games of the regular season following the hiring of Kris Knoblauch, who had been coaching the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, the Oilers earned an NHL-best 46 wins and 97 points.

The offense is where Edmonton continues to separate itself. The Oilers are averaging 3.5 goals per game this postseason while converting at a league-best 37.3% rate on the power play.

Unsurprisingly, Connor McDavid has been their primary producer. The three-time Hart Trophy winner has 31 points in 18 games this postseason, the second time he’s exceeded that mark during his career.

When the Oilers’ offense is on point, they are tough to beat. They’re 6-1-1 this postseason when scoring at least four goals.

While goaltending has generally been a liability, Stuart Skinner bounced back with a strong performance in the conference finals against the Dallas Stars.

Skinner surrendered only four goals over the final three hockey games, dropping his goals-against average to 2.50 for the postseason.

Topping the Odds Board

Florida is seeking to become the first hockey team since the 2008-09 Penguins to win the Stanley Cup a year after losing in the Final. The 1983-84 Oilers are the only others to accomplish that feat in the expansion era (post-1967).

Like Edmonton, Florida’s been among the NHL’s teams to beat for several months. After opening with +2000 NHL odds, the Panthers recorded 52 wins and 110 points in the regular season.

They led the league with a plus-68 goal differential. Before the Eastern Conference Finals, they’d established themselves as favorites to win the Cup at +215.

Florida has been tough away from home, sporting the East’s best road record at 32-12-5. That includes 6-1-1 this postseason. The Panthers were 27-14 against the puck line in the regular season, producing the second-highest cover rate (65.8%) in the NHL behind the Philadelphia Flyers (75%).

Florida’s biggest edge comes in net with Sergei Bobrovsky. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner is 12-5 this postseason with a 2.20 GAA and .908 save percentage.

He had a 23-save shutout in Game 1 of the conference finals against New York and allowed two goals or fewer in five of the six games.

Balanced scoring is another strength. Ten different Panthers have notched at least three goals in the playoffs, led by Carter Verhaeghe (nine), Sam Reinhart (eight), Aleksander Barkov (six), and San Bennett (six). They rank fourth among NHL scoring leaders with 3.2 goals per game.

Handicapping the Game

These teams met twice during the regular season, with Florida winning 5-3 on Nov. 20 and 5-1 on Dec. 16. Of course, much has changed over the last few months, especially for the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton’s been a completely different team since firing Woodcroft.

As with most playoff series, the smallest details may make the difference. In this case, we look to special teams. The Panthers are the most-penalized team this season, having taken 69 penalties (207 minutes).

While they also have the league’s best penalty kill (88.2%), they best not test their luck against the Oilers. Nobody has been more opportunistic on the power play.

Fortunately, Florida has a legitimate difference-maker in goal in Bobrovsky.

For NHL picks and parlays, betting analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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