The NHL playoffs — as unpredictable and wacky as ever — have come down to four teams: Carolina, Dallas, Florida, and Vegas. Before you bet on the impeding conference title matchups, you’re going to want to read this article. That’s cause we’re laying out the best bets to make in both the NHL Eastern and Western Conference Finals series, and for free too!
- What: 2023 NHL Conference Finals
- When: Game 1 is Thursday, May 18 (East) and May 19 (West)
2023 NHL Eastern Conference Finals Betting Pick
Whereas the Western Conference picture just fell into place, we’ve known the Eastern Conference matchup for some time. Both the Canes and Panthers took care of business in the second round quite easily to set up this affair. As it stands, Carolina is comfy favorites to best Florida in Eastern Finals and advance to the Stanley Cup. Here’s where the lines stand at top NHL betting sites:
By now, the Panthers are used to being overlooked. They’ve been underdogs in every series so far and coincidentally, each was to the Stanley Cup favorites at that specific time. Boston, after winning the most games in NHL history, we’re the favorites when the postseason began. Welp, they blew a 3-1 series lead to Florida. Next up Toronto became favorites as the second round started, but they were quickly dispatched in five games.
But here’s what makes Carolina so different than those two teams: its defense. Plain and simple, the Leafs and Bruins can’t hold a candle to the blue liners the Canes possess. The group has put on a masterclass this playoff run, allowing a league-low 2.5 goals during the postseason. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin is the star player of the group — but there’s no weak link. The line is tall, experienced, and red-hot. Minus one game (where Lefs won 8-4), Toronto managed only five goals in the four losses to Carolina.
Outside of defense, both these two teams are more evenly-matched. Just take a look at their goal-scoring averages so far in the playoffs. Carolina has netted 3.6 goals per game, while Florida is at 3.3. Each team is scorching-hot too. The Panthers have won seven of the last eight, while the Hurricanes have pulled out six of their last seven.
The similarities are there on the net too. Both netminders are playing out of their minds right now. For Florida, Bobrovsky has posted a .918 save percentage in 10 games. Only Igor Shesterkin ranked higher than Bobrovsky in saved above expected too. This Bobrovsky looks like the one that won the Vezina Trophy twice years ago. And then there’s the Hurricanes' Frederik Andersen, who hasn’t lost a game started this postseason. He’s 5-0 so far.
So yes, we think Carolina’s defense is the only real difference-maker in this series. The Canes are our pick to win the series, but even then, we don’t think these Panthers will go quietly into the night. This has a seven-game series written all over it, which is a separate prop for any bettor that wants to up the risk on this series.
2023 NHL Western Conference Finals Betting Pick
Dallas was the last time to punch its ticket to this round, needing a Game 7 win over Seattle to set up this conference title matchup against Vegas. As it stands, the Golden Knights are betting favorites to win the Western Conference Finals. The series odds are as follows:
We’re actually a little taken back by the odds given the recent history. The Stars won all three prior regular-season meetings. While wo of those came in shootouts, the other was a 4-0 shellacking in the Golden Knights’ own arena. Sure, maybe favor the team with home-ice advantage, but perhaps not this much (Vegas are slightly larger favorites than Carolina).
Not only that, but if there’s any coach that knows the ins and outs of Vegas (besides their own head coach), it’s Dallas’ Peter DeBoer. He was the team’s head coach the previous three seasons before getting kicked to the curb over the offseason. That prior knowledge (and even the revenge factor) will be huge for DeBoer in this series.
We like the plus-money value of the Stars too much to skip out on. For all the reasons we mentioned, they’ll familiar with what the Golden Knights throw at ‘em. Dallas has been a scrappy team all postseason long and that’s to their benefit in a series like this that’s so evenly matched. Take the underdogs to advance and set up a Carolina-Dallas Stanley Cup.
How To Bet On the 2023 NHL Conference Finals?
If you're looking for further NHL Conference Finals bets, then visit one of the underneath bookmakers. This goes beyond just the series winner bet we covered too. You’ll find betting odds on individual games (puck line, over/unders) and an assortment of props. Any one of these sites has you covered from now until the Stanley Cup Finals in June.
But here’s the best part about using one of the following bookmakers: the lucrative sign-up bonuses each offers. With these deals, bettors stand to gain hundreds to thousands of dollars in free play just by creating an account. That’s a lot of money — among the highest in the industry, per our latest sportsbook reviews — that can bankroll your NHL postseason bets the rest of the way. Details on what bonuses are available where are listed below.