The New York Rangers continued their Stanley Cup bid by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 last night, 6-2. They will host the two-time reigning champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. Tonight, the Western Conference Finals begin with the Edmonton Oilers traveling to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Tune in at 8:00 PM EST. on TNT for the official puck drop. With so many superstars suiting up for this critical series including Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Darren Helm, Nazem Kadri, Evander Kane, Leon Draisitl, and of course, Connor McDavid, many pundits are expecting an explosive series with several high-scoring games.
After losing Game 1 in Calgary, the Oilers won the battle of Alberta by defeating the Flames in four straight games to reach the Conference Finals for the first time in 16 years. On the opposite side of the puck, the Avalanche took a commanding three-game lead before dropping two straight to the St. Louis Blues. Still, Colorado notched three road victories in their second-round series and punched their first ticket to the Western Conference Finals since they were eliminated by Sergei Federov and the Detroit Red Wings back in 2002. So which team will get out to a quick start and win Game 1 of this epic series?
Oilers at Avalanche Game 1 Odds, Lines, and Predictions
According to Bet MGM Sportsbook, here are the Game 1 odds and lines:
- Moneyline: Oilers +150, Avalanche -165
- Against The Spread (ATS): Oilers +1.5 (-160), Avalanche -1.5 (+135)
- Over / Under: 7 (Over: +105, Under: -130)
Oilers-Avalanche Goalie Advantage
Mike Smith performed admirably against the Calgary Flames. He is coming off four consecutive victories and has an 8-3 record this postseason with two shutouts. He’s allowing just 2.7 GAA and has a spectacular .927 SV% in the playoffs.
Although Darcy Kuemper is 6-2, allowing 2.44 GAA, and has produced a .904 SV%, the Colorado goaltender has looked pedestrian at best. That said, he has allowed three or fewer goals in eight of his last nine postseason starts and stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced in Colorado’s series-clinching victory over the Blues in Game 6.
The Rangers-Lightning series will feature arguably the two best goalies in the league but neither goaltender in the Western Conference Finals gives their team a significant edge. I would call this a wash. If a gun were pointed at my head, I would say Kuemper is slightly more skilled but he needs to show it on the biggest stage.
Oilers-Avalanche Game 1 Picks:
Using the Same-Game Parlay feature on the sportsbook of your choice, I suggest parlaying the moneyline and the Over/Under in Game 1. The Avs are the clear-cut favorite tonight, especially on their home ice. In fact, the Avs have the shortest odds of the four remaining teams to win the Stanley Cup (+120), followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (+230). Fortunately for the Avs, the home team has won five of the past six meetings between these two franchises. Moreover, the favorite won each of those contests which bodes well for the Avalanche. Colorado has won 55 of their last 68 games at home and is 30-12 in their last 42 postseason matchups as the favorite. Although the Oilers proved against the Flames that they are not afraid to go into an opponent’s building and silence the crowd, Colorado is a much bigger beast than Calgary. They are practically unstoppable when playing to their capacity and have one of the best defensive units in the league. The Oilers have to prove that they can win in Denver. Until then, I’m backing the top-seeded Avalanche.
In terms of the Over / Under, seven goals is a lot, even for teams as offensively skilled as the Oilers and Avalanche. Colorado won Game 1 of their previous series, 3-2 in overtime. The two teams were still feeling each other out and it was a pretty tight game. However, the Oilers allowed nine goals in Game 1 against Calgary and lost, 9-6 in the highest-scoring game of these NHL Playoffs. Although the Oilers like to play loose, I expect these teams to start slower as they attempt to get comfortable in what should be a fantastic series. Colorado has also been resting for a while so although they will have fresh legs, it may take a period or two before they truly find their groove.
For all the reasons stated above, I’m going with Colorado Avalanche ML + Under 7 goals.
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It was announced this week that Governor Andrew Cuomo approved legislation that will allow for online sports betting in the State of New York — starting just in time for the Super Bowl in 2022.
Cuomo signed the bill as part of the 2022 New York State fiscal plan, and New York State Senator Joseph Abbaddo Jr. believes that the first online bets to be placed will be on February 13, 2022, which is the same day as the Super Bowl. New York will become the fifteenth state to allow for some form of online gambling to take place.
Following the 2018 decision made by the Supreme Court to repeal the nationwide ban on sports betting, New York quickly saw casinos pop up across the state throughout 2019. These casinos were safe havens for sports bettors that had been forced to place bets illegally.
With this new legislation, all New York residents will have the ability to place legitimate bets through whichever platform providers win bids with New York State.
Gov. Cuomo ends briefing by predicting "Bills win, bet on it." The governor proposed legislation to legalize online… https://t.co/0ysl67un7A— News 8 WROC (@News 8 WROC) 1610139272.0
New York officials will begin accepting bids from platform providers such as FanDuel by no later than July 1 of this year. New York will be allowed to accept bids from two platform providers to operate in the state. Providers that win bids will pay a one-time fee of $25 million for the right to facilitate sports betting in the state and must also be physically housed in a New York casino.
There will be a recurring $5 million fee associated with operating their mobile betting servers at each casino. A maximum tax rate of 13% has been set for the providers, which would yield a massive boost to the state's tax revenue.
In 2020, online sports betting generated over $200 million in tax revenue for states that allow it. It's estimated that over $20 billion was spent on betting in the U.S. last year, and that's just accounting for legal bets placed.
Governor Cuomo leans toward the New York State Lottery running the online sports betting operation, as it's done in many other states where online gambling is legal; however, many lawmakers opposed this structure and favor allowing private entities to be making bids. Opponents to the state running the online sportsbook argue that it would allow for the state to essentially have a monopoly over the industry and discourage open competition from entering the arena.
Not everyone is pleased with this news, however, as New Jersey is set to take a big hit once online gambling is legal in New York. Currently, many New Yorkers place bets in their neighboring state, as it's been a legal activity there since 2012. Since that time, New Jersey has grown to become the largest sports betting market in America, due in part to the overflow of New Yorkers placing bets just by crossing the Hudson River.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to establish sports gambling so he can tax it to reduce the huge budget deficit. Projec… https://t.co/mJAqcXoauG— Ralph Nader (@Ralph Nader) 1610388318.0
As more professional sports embrace gambling and betting, it's to be expected that more states will join New York by legalizing online sports books. As states are finalizing budgets for 2022, many will be faced with how to make up for unexpected losses as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Legalization of cannabis and sports betting have long been controversial topics of debate, but as unemployment and social services have drained a lot of states' resources over the past 15 month they both may be states' saving graces.