Top NHL Picks and Predictions Today (Game 5 Bets for Rangers vs. Hurricanes and Oilers vs. Flames)

The Flames and Oilers are set to play in Game 5 on Thursday night.
The Flames and Oilers are set to play in Game 5 on Thursday night. / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

After a couple of nights off, we're back on the NHL beat for Thursday night's Game 5s.

After a strong first round, I've stumbled with my bets in the second round. Despite the cold streak, we're just one good night away from getting back in the green. So far these playoffs, I'm 31-33-1 (-1.24 units).

Here are my top two bets for tonight's slate. All odds listed below are via WynnBET Sportsbook.

New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes Prediction and Pick

Igor Shesterkin is once again trying to steal a series for the Rangers. The Hurricanes have been outplaying the Rangers for the majority of the series, but yet here we are, heading into Game 5 with it tied up at 2-2.

The best way to illustrate exactly how much of a difference Shesterkin is making, is by looking at expected goals scored per 60 minutes. So far this series, the Hurricanes have an expected goals of 3.44 per 60 minutes of play. Their ACTUAL goals per 60 minutes is 1.48. That's a difference of 1.96 goals per 60 minutes. That's pure insanity.

So, how do you treat this series moving forward from a betting standpoint? Do you bet on the team that's effectively outplaying the other, or do you bet on the underdogs who keep winning almost solely due to the brick wall they have inbetween the pipes?

The Hurricanes are undefeated in the postseason at home, so for me, I'm going to keep riding that trend. But, if you want to bet on the New York Shesterkins, I wouldn't blame you.

Pick: Hurricanes -145

Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames Prediction and Pick

As much as I think the Flames are the best team in the Western Conference, and even though they've been the better team from an analytics point of view this series, I can no longer bet on them due to Jacob Markstrom.

In the four games this series, he has a save percentage of 85.19 percentage. I can't begin to describe just how bad that is. At this point, it has to be psychological for him. I don't know if it's the pressure of the postseason, or his past blunders against the Oilers, but the guy can't stop a beachball right now.

The Flames are narrowly outranking the Oilers in things like expected goals and high-danger scoring chances, but it's not enough to off-set a goalie whose been performing at the level of a mid-level minor leaguer.

I'll reluctantly take the Oilers as underdogs, and kiss goodbye to my Flames futures.

Pick: Oilers +130

You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.