Just like the NBA, the NHL Finals pits a one seed versus an eighth seed few saw coming — it’s the Golden Knights and Panthers for the Cup. While there’s a multitude of ways to wager on this series, we’ve hand-picked the best Stanley Cup Finals bets. Keep reading and we’ll share our three favorites worth taking BEFORE Game 1.
- Who: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Florida Panthers
- What: 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
- When: Game 1 is Saturday, June 3
2023 Stanley Cup Finals Preview
Neither of these franchises has ever lifted a Stanley Cup trophy so we will see history in this one no matter who wins. Let’s start this Stanley Cup Finals preview with the series betting odds. These are available at the most popular sportsbooks for NHL playoffs, and as it stands, oddsmakers have pegged the series-winner bet oh so close:
These teams couldn’t feel more opposite. Vegas is not much of a surprise in this spot. They’ve led the Western Conference most of the season, however, were betting underdogs in the past two playoff series. Still, this Golden Knights team has been a model of consistency since its expansion season in 2017 with this being its second trip to the Finals. Six players from that expansion season remain in the fold.
Florida, meanwhile, was the very last team to qualify for the postseason — a far cry from its President’s Trophy-winning team from a year ago. Still, the Panthers have become a Cinderella team this postseason run, which includes wins over three of the best four teams in the league (based on record). This is the franchise’s first Finals appearance since 1996.
In two regular-season meetings, the teams split. Vegas prevailed 4-2 on its home ice back in January, while Florida edged them 2-1 later on in March. Neither game provided any hard evidence about how this Finals matchup would turn out but fear not, we dug deep when making our betting picks below.
Best Bets For 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
There's a lot of ground to cover so let's jump right into our best Stanley Cup Finals bets — of which there are three:
An under-the-radar factor in this series might be rest. Because the Panthers swept the Conference Finals, they’ll have 10 days of rest before Game 1. Most bettors perceive this as advantageous but there are some that argue that’s too much and at that point, it becomes rust. Perhaps it’s a momentum killer?
Before the layoff, Florida was giving off “team of destiny” vibes. Since being down 3-1 against an all-time-winning team in the Bruins, the Panthers have only lost 1 game against a murders row of teams.
Rust be damned, we’re sticking with the Panthers here because they possess the two most game-changing players in this series. The first is goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. We’ll discuss him more later, but in a nutshell, he’s been the best player at his position this whole postseason. Then there’s also Matthew Tkachuk, who at 21 points, has the most of any player remaining. Tkachuk also has three game-winning goals to his name during this run. As we said, it’s a team of destiny.
Exact Series Score
We won’t mince words here, this next bet is a crapshoot. Not only must bettors pick who wins the Cup, but in the exact amount of games too. It’s a difficult bet, but one that pays out big time. Here are all the plus-money betting options:
We fully expect Vegas to put up a bigger fight than Florida’s past two opponents, who managed just one win. This team has been on a roll since February, evidenced by their record. Early that month, the Golden Knights had a pedestrian 29-18-4 mark. After that point, they went a dazzling 22-4-5, which has mostly carried into the postseason.
We’d be stunned if this series ends in five games or less. Still, we’ll call it a six-game series in favor of the team of destiny.
Series Total Goals
Here’s a fun bet — an over/under on total goals scored throughout the series. Here's how the odds shake out:
|Over 33.5 goals||-105||-105||-105|
|Under 33.5 goals||-125||-125||-125|
The storyline matchup to look out for is at goaltender — the aforementioned Bobrovsky and Adin Hill of Vegas. Neither were the original starters when the postseason began, but boy oh boy have they been instrumental in both team’s success. Hill has posted a 2.07 GAA and a .937 SV% since being thrust into the starting lineup in round two due to injury. The Golden Knights have lost only two games with him as the starter.
Bobrovsky has been even better. He was inserted into Florida’s lineup after falling into a 2-0 hole to Boston in the opening round. Since then, the grizzled veteran has gone 11-2 in these playoffs with a 2.21 GAA and .935 SV% — dazzling numbers. Opponents have actually outshot the Panthers in every game Bobrovsky has started so each of these stops has been needed during this Cinderella run.
Both these goaltenders are the main reason each of their respective teams is in the Finals. Therefore, we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt here and betting the under. The series going six games, as we predicted, also helps our cause.
How To Bet On 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
Stanley Cup Finals betting doesn’t stop with the three wagers we called out above. No, no, those are only the tip of the iceberg. For a full list of wagers, including on the individual games, you’ll want to visit one of the bookies below. Per our latest sportsbook reviews, these five are the “best of the best” across the industry. Moreover, each is offering lucrative sign-up bonuses — worth hundreds to thousands of dollars in free play — to help bankroll your Cup bets. Full details are in the table below.