After one game on the NHL slate, there are three scheduled for Sunday which is fantastic as it relates to NHL betting.
Although NHL betting lines are most popular, there are dozens of prop bets to choose from at this stage of the playoffs.
Here are two to consider for Sunday.
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Neither Team to Reach Three Goals +350
Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Panthers through the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Lightning.
After averaging 4.1 goals per game throughout the regular season, the President Trophy winners managed just two tallies on home ice over their past two outings. The limited-production metrics suggest that there is no abundance of goals on the horizon, leading to another low-scoring game on Sunday.
The Lightning have caged the Panthers’ offense, limiting them to a combined 14 high-danger and 44 scoring opportunities through Games 1 and 2. After sitting on the edge of elimination for two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 1, we’ve seen the two-time defending champs adopt a stiffer defensive persona over their recent stretch. It’s proven successful, as neither opponent has scored more than a goal against Tampa over the past three games.
Offense hasn’t been a priority for the Lightning over that stretch, either.
The Bolts’ offensive metrics have taken a hit, with the team attempting 21 or fewer scoring chances in all three and eight or fewer quality opportunities in two of three. They needed two goals in the final five minutes of Game 1 to increase their lead to 4-1 against the Panthers; otherwise, Tampa has been limited to two goals in two of their past three.
The Panthers can’t get anything going against the Lightning, falling into their defensive traps. That should lead to another tight-checking game on Sunday, with Tampa wielding home-ice advantage unmercifully. It seems unlikely either team reaches three goals.
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Time of First Goal 9:00-60:00
The betting market has taken a unique approach to the time of the first goal.
Despite goals coming at a premium and both games staying under the total, the time of the first goal coming within the first nine minutes is chalk. I am anticipating another defensive battle and are taking the contrarian approach with plus-money on the time of the first goal at 9:00 or later.
Scoring hasn’t been a priority in this series, with eight combined goals in the first two games. Similarly, both teams have taken a conservative approach at the outset, resulting in a combined six quality chances in the opening period of Game 1 and four high-danger opportunities in the first period of Game 2. Consequently, the first goal came after the nine-minute mark in both contests.
There is a loose correlation between these two props. Neither team scoring in the opening nine minutes of the first period aligns with both struggling to get to three goals, and I like the value of both plays.