NHL Top Picks for Today (Best Bets for Day 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs)

The Lightning and Maple Leafs will be the marquee NHL matchup in the first day of NHL action.
The Lightning and Maple Leafs will be the marquee NHL matchup in the first day of NHL action. / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The NHL Playoffs are finally here, and I've made the dumb decision to bet on every single game of the postseason.

Will this be a successful venture, or is this going to be a complete disaster? Only time will tell.

I have my picks locked in for the first night, but before we get to those, you should check out BetSided's NHL Playoff Giveaway. It's FREE to enter and there are $500 worth of prizes to be won!

Check out the tweet below for details on how to enter. Do it now, because entries will lock at 7pm et tonight.

Now, let's get into my top bets for Day 1 of the NHL Playoffs. All odds listed below are via WynnBET Sportsbook.

Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes Prediction and Pick

Both the odds for this game and the odds for the series are an overreaction to the injury of Carolina goaltender Frederick Andersen. I'm especially not worried about who will be in net for them considering the Bruins rank 30th in the NHL in shooting percentage over their last 25 games.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes continue to be the darlings of advanced analytics. Over the same period of time, they rank first in CORSI%, second in expected goals per 60 minutes, and third in expected goals against per 60 minutes.

The Hurricanes won the Metro for a reason, and I have faith in them to win Game 1, even without Andersen in between the pipes.

Pick: Hurricanes -120

Who survives Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? BetSided's Iain MacMillan and Donnavan Smoot share their betting picks starting Monday night!

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Prediction and Pick

The biggest, and possibly only concern that the Maple Leafs have in this game and in this series is their goaltending. Jack Campbell has struggled since the start of the calendar year, and Toronto ranks 22nd in save percentage over its last 25 games. This could prove costly when taking on one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Outside of goaltending, the Maple Leafs have an advantage in just about every statistic. Their biggest advantage, surprisingly, comes on defense. The Maple Leafs have allowed the fourth fewest high danger scoring chances over its past 25 games, while the Lightning rank 24th in that span. I don't care who you have in net, allowing that many shots down low against an offense like the Maple Leafs is going to spell trouble.

Bad goaltending on one end, bad defense on the other, and two explosive offenses. I'll take the over 6.5 in tonight's game and see what happens.

Pick: OVER 6.5 (-105)

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild Prediction and Pick

The biggest advantage the Blues carry into this series is their shooting percentage. They've been first in shooting percentage throughout the entire NHL season, but that should get nullified tonight considering it's the Wild who are right behind them in second place.

Minnesota is a much better team when it comes to advanced analytics. For example, they're eighth in CORSI percentage over their last 25 games, compared to the Blues who are 23rd in that stat.

The Wild are also arguably the best defensive team in all of hockey, ranking first in both expected goals against and high danger scoring chances allowed over their last 25 games. The Blues rank 22nd and 11th in those two stats.

Sure, anything could happen, but I'm going to trust the numbers in this one and they clearly show that the Wild should walk away with the win.

Pick: Wild -140

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers Prediction and Pick

The Kings are a sneaky dark horse in this series. If their shooting can get hot, they can give the Oilers a challenge. Los Angeles outranks Edmonton in CORSI percentage, FENWICK percentage, and expected goals against. If you like advanced analytics, then you have to have a soft spot for the Kings.

While the Kings have struggled to put the puck in the net this season, the Oilers have also struggled in this area as of late. Over their last 10 games, the Oilers rank 24th in shooting percentage, only one spot better than the Kings.

If we're talking betting value, there's certainly some there on the Kings moneyline tonight against the Oilers. It's the NHL Playoffs, anything can happen.

Pick: Kings +168

You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.