Saturday’s Top Computer Pick
- Over 5.5 Goals (-115) at BetRivers
The 2023 Stanley Cup finals are about to commence as the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights battle it out for their first-ever Stanley Cup.
Both teams have been to the finals once before, both finishing as runner-ups.
It’s Game 1 of the series and our computer predictions anticipate a high-scoring game. Check out why we are betting the total over along with our AI in Saturday’s NHL Finals Game 1.
Saturday, June 3, 2023 – 08:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena
And Then There Were Two
We have just two teams remaining in this season’s NHL, after a grueling 9 months of hockey, it comes down to the two best teams remaining in the playoffs.
In this best-of-seven series, both the Florida Panthers (representing the East) and Vegas Golden Knights (representing the West) will battle it out for both their franchise’s first Stanley Cup trophy.
NHL Finals Journey
The Panthers choose to do things the hard way, sneaking into the playoffs on the final week of the regular season. They have since gone on to knock out the three previous Stanley Cup favorites this post-season, taking down the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes.
The Panthers have seen goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Matthew Tkachuk produce their best post-seasons of their career.
The Golden Knights finished top of the Western Conference during the regular season, although they only secured the top spot on the final week of the season. They disposed of the Winnipeg Jets in five games, and never really had a challenge.
Things got tougher in the second round as the Edmonton Oilers brought them to six games. Finally, the third round against Dallas was a breeze, besides the two-game blip, they won 4-2 comfortably.
- The total has gone under in 8 of Florida’s last 9 games.
- Florida are 0-5 in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Vegas.
- The Panthers are 20-27 ATS (-17.2 Units) after scoring 4 goals or more in their previous game this season.
- Florida are 21-15 ATS (+38.0 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season this season.
Vegas Golden Knights
- The Vegas Golden Knights are 34-20 ATS (+5.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
- Vegas are 12-4 in their last 16 games.
- The total has gone over in 11 of Vegas’ last 16 games when playing as the favorite.
- Vegas are 29-12 ATS (+15.9 Units) revenging a loss versus opponents this season.
Our computer predicts a relatively easy 4-2 Golden Knights victory, but we are unsure if the moneyline or PK line is the best way to approach this game one. We have the Florida Panthers, who are well rested ahead of this game, versus a Golden Knights team who are fully locked into game mode.
Both teams could come to play here or only one could show up, It’s hard to tell who’s going to bring the most intensity to this game right now; we likely won’t know until the puck drop, and therefore, we are targeting the total to go over in this game one.
Plus, we don’t like the -130 juice on offer for the Knights to win this opening game of the series. If anything, Florida can win this game as the underdogs, especially having had a few days of extra rest.
Game 1 Should Produce Goals
Our projections have calculated that there’s a 55% chance the total will go over in this game one of the finals, and with our computer also predicting the total to go over 5.5, we are happy to lay the -115 betting odds on offer.
We would happily lay as much as -120 on this bet; anything lower than this is likely not going to be a value play. Although it’s a small margin of value we have to play with, we don’t believe the odds will drop any lower than -120/-125.
This Panthers team has waited almost ten days to get going, while the Golden Knights should be locked in having only played their final conference game on Tuesday night. At times this series might be tight, but at times we also believe there will be plenty of goals scored.
Game 1 when teams are only feeling each other out could be the perfect time to strike the over. These two teams’ previous five meetings have produced 3/6/8/5/8 goals each game.
OddsTrader Predicted Score: Panthers 2 – Golden Knights 4
NHL Pick: Over 5.5 Goals (-115) at BetRivers