We are reaching the point of the years where we see playoffs ready to start in two major sports. The NBA playoffs start this week with the play-in tournament, while the start of the race for the Stanley Cup is now very much on the horizon. The opening round matchups are beginning to take shape, but with each team still having 10 or so games to play, we might yet see some things change in the final few weeks of the season. Let’s take a look at some things that might happen in the final stretch of the season that might be considered bold NHL Betting predictions.
Bold Betting Predictions for the Rest of the NHL Season
The New York Rangers Win the Metropolitan Division
Three of the four divisions look to be all locked up, with the current leaders having leads that look insurmountable at this late stage of the season. The one exception is in the Metropolitan Division, where the Carolina Hurricanes currently hold a slender 2-point lead over the New York Rangers. It is a lead that the Rangers have been slowly but surely chipping away at. They have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and come into this week on a 3-game win streak. They are in the best form of all teams in the division, and I like them to continue pushing all the way to the end, with a division title their final result.
The Vegas Golden Knights Find a Way into the Postseason
One of the better playoff races right now can be found in the Western Conference and the battle for the two available Wild Card spots. If the season were to end today, the Vegas Golden Knights would be out of the playoffs, but it is incredibly tight down there. They are, in fact, just 2 points back of the LA Kings for one of the 3 automatic berths in the Pacific Division. The Kings are on the slide right now, losing 3 in a row, while the Golden Knights have won 7 of their last 10. Momentum is very much of the side of Vegas, which is why I think they land in the playoffs.
Johnny Gaudreau Wins the MVP
This is perhaps the boldest of the predictions being made here today, as the general consensus is that that MVP battle is between Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. It’s fair to suggest that Matthews is a shoo-in for the Maurice Richard Trophy, as he has 8 more goals than his closest competitor, so that might be seen as a nice consolation prize from the voters. Gaudreau is on the brink of cracking 100 points on the season and also leads the way in plus/minus. You can easily argue that he has been the difference maker for the Calgary Flames all season long, which perfectly fits the role of league MVP.
The Defending Champions Make an Early Exit
This may be one that comes back to bite me, but of the teams that look to be a lock for the playoffs, it is the Tampa Bay Lightning who look to be the most fragile at the moment. While they have not had a precipitous drop-off in the past month or so, they are now in danger of slipping into the Wild Card in the Eastern Conference. That would mean a very tough opening round matchup, which they do not look capable of handling at the moment. My opinion on this might change depending on how they close out the season.