NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Betting Picks and Prediction (Oilers-Panthers)

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr
NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Betting Picks and Prediction (Oilers-Panthers)

The Stanley Cup Final arrives with Game 1 on Saturday night, making for what should be an exciting series from the start.

Whether it's moneylines or total goals, there are plenty of ways to bet on the NHL action all season. It's been a long 82-game campaign, meaning that the best selections of each night can be very different based on backup goalies coming into play, injuries that add up, and if teams are due for positive or negative swings. Now it's time for the Stanley Cup Final, pitting the best against the best from each conference.

Let's dive into the best bets for Saturday.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All NHL betting odds and totals are from the NHL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All advanced statistics are used from MoneyPuck.com and NaturalStatTrick.com.

NHL Best Bets

Edmonton Oilers at Florida Panthers

Under 5.5 Goals (-104)

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a fight from start to finish. How can we expect anything else from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final?

Saturday night marks the start of the series between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers. These two teams have, unsurprisingly, had two of the best offenses and defenses in these playoffs. It's why I expect Game 1 to be a low-scoring matchup as each team figures one another out.

The Conference Finals saw a total of 12 games played between the two series. In those 12 games, the score hit under 5.5 goals 9 times. These two teams play in tight games, so I'm taking Under 5.5 Goals (-104) again in these playoffs.

Florida ranks first in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at a 3.50 clip, but their average is down at 3.16 goals for per 60 minutes (GF/60). That plays to Game 1, as the Oilers have limited opponents to 2.54 goals against per 60 minutes (GA/60).

On the flip side of that, Edmonton is second through the playoffs with 3.41 GF/60.

However, their expected average of 3.08 xGF/60 makes me believe the Panthers should limit them enough on Saturday -- especially in a Game 1 scenario.

Florida has been great at stopping their opponents from scoring, ranking second with 2.46 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). They've been even better than that with 2.24 GA/60 through 17 playoff games.

Goaltending will be most crucial, and the Panthers have the edge -- meaning Stuart Skinner will have to play big with the Panthers averaging 32.54 shots for per 60 minutes (SF/60).

Skinner has a 2.50 goals against average (GAA) and a .897 save percentage (SV%). He rose to the occasion with 33 saves in the game-clinching Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, so he can get the job done.

Sergei Bobrovsky will be key again for the Panthers as well.

Game 1 is going to be a battle where every goal will matter. Let's bet on the low scoring trend to continue in the Stanley Cup Final.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.