Game 1 kickstarts the series on Monday, June 28. With the better regular-season record, Tampa Bay will have a home-ice advantage throughout. It shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that the Lightning are favored to win the title, per online oddsmakers:
|Lightning Series Prices||-260||-271|
Though to be fair to Montreal, they've been underdogs this entire playoff run — and that hasn't stopped them one bit. First, they dispatched top-seeded Toronto in seven games, followed by a sweep of Winnipeg, and then a six-game stunner over Vegas. At this point, you have to think the Habs like being overlooked.
Let's break down this jam-packed series first, before going into our free NHL Stanley Cup picks!
NHL 2021 Stanley Cup Preview
What immediately stands out about the two NHL teams is who they have guarding the net. For the Canadiens, it's Carey Price, while Andrei Vasilevskiy mans the post for Tampa. Both are arguably each's franchise best-ever goaltender.
Montreal has had Price's presence in the back since 2007, a stretch where he's been named an All-Star on seven different occasions. Somehow, the all-timer has picked up the pace this playoff run. In 17 games, he's at a 2.02 GAA and a save percentage of .934.
But to be fair, Vasilevskiy has posted an even-better stat line during the postseason. His goals-against average is 1.99 with a .936 save percentage. All this on top of a season where he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist for a fourth straight year.
Our money says both goalies come up clutch again, making this series a low-scoring affair. If you're betting the over/under during this finale, it might be smarter to go with the under more often than not.
NHL 2021 Stanley Cup Betting Pick
There's something to be said about the hot streak the Habs are currently on. Since being on the brink of elimination versus the Leafs in round one, Montreal has pulled out 11 wins in the next 13 games.
However, we can't get over the fact the Canadiens are clearly deficient in talent, at least compared to the Lightning. Tampa possesses a number of game-changing players in its lineup, hence why all four of the league's top point-scorers during these playoffs are Lightning players (Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos in that order).
No question about it, the Lightning are the more complete team. Having been in this same scenario only a year ago, they also have the edge in experience. Yep, you guessed it, we're taking Tampa Bay to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
NHL 2021 Stanley Cup Bonus Bet
Of course, there are more ways to bet on the Cup beyond the series price. There's a bevy of prop bets available and in fact, this is where things get fun. One of our favorites lines available is on the total games the series goes to. Betting lines for the prop are as follows:
We said it earlier, with the quality of goaltenders in this finals matchup, it'll be a defensive slugfest throughout. That means many games will be decided by one goal. The Habs, despite being less talented, have the grit to win a few of those games in which lucky breaks could be the deciding factor between a winner and loser.
We're picking this series to go to six games. Montreal has enough momentum to steal two games, but in the end, Tampa will outpower them with its depth and sheer will.
If you're looking for more NHL Stanley Cup odds, you can check out one of the bookmakers below. Every single finals game will have prices available for the moneyline, spread, or over/under on goals scored. And as mentioned, additional props are there for the taking, too.
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