Once Again, The Broad Street Bullies Begin Their Quest For The Cup

Posted on August 12, 2020

Drop the puck.  The quest for the Cup begins.

Philadelphia Flyer-mania continues in earnest Wednesday night when the team embarks on its first Stanley Cup playoff series in two years. Philadelphia plays the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-seven set after earning the top seed in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

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First-round Flyers vs Canadiens odds at major NJ online sportsbooks reflect substantial Flyers support.

Flyers vs Canadiens Odds

                                                     DraftKings             FanDuel             Fox Bet

Philadelphia Flyers                    -240                        -240                   -225

Montreal Canadiens                  +195                       +192                 +180

*The Flyers are also heavily favored at nearly -200 at all the NJ sports betting sites & sportsbooks for the first game.

Here is the series lineup:

  • Wed 8 p.m. NBC SN
  • Fri 3 p.m. NBC SN
  • Sun 8 pm NBC

The next four scheduled would be Aug. 18, 19, 21 and 23

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The Flyers haven’t won a playoff series since 2012, but the overwhelming sentiment is that this will soon change.

The Flyers have gone a league-best 12-1, including their pre-COVID tear and a 3-0 run during their return, to achieve lofty expectations.

No Longer An Underdog

Yes, the Flyers are favored to win the Eastern Conference at just under +300 across many New Jersey sportsbooks.

FanDuel Sportsbook also has them as one of three favorites, joining the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche as +600 choices to win the Stanley Cup.

One of THE favorites? The Flyers haven’t won the Cup since 1975, but they have gained significant betting support at different junctures of the season.

For bettors who took the Flyers at 32-1 to win the Cup early in the season at most major books and 20-1 back in February, a major payoff looms.

What’s happened with the Flyers – a team that improved rapidly under the betting radar – indicates the foresight of making some futures-bet stabs at the Stanley Cup in October.

The Flyers have dropped in the odds more than any team in the playoffs. From 20-1 in February, they went to 10-1 after unfurling a red-hot 9-1 stretch prior to COVID. And then they took another dip after the three-game sweep of prominent opponents. 

They gave up only three goals in defeating the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Washington Capitals, the three teams they have to climb over to win the East.

How to you make money in the first series? 

Individual games don’t offer much value if the Flyers are going to be in the neighborhood of -200 for each game.   The line does get more playable if one wants to lay 1 1-2 goals, but that so often comes down to hoping for an empty-net tally.

Making money on the Flyers vs Canadiens odds may depend on two things. 

  • One, the Flyers must win as their prohibitive status suggests.

This may appeal to a big-bankroll bettor, who won’t mind laying -240 and thus wager $2,400 to win $1,000 or $1,200 to win $500.

This makes little sense to the small bettor, however. Who wants to wager $24 to win $10?

  • Two, a bettor succeeds on the prop ticket.

You could, for instance, nail the exact length of the series.

And it can be hedged.

DraftKings Sportsbook has a Flyers sweep at +650 and a five-game series triumph at +335. Philly in six returns +500 and the Flyers in seven is worth +450 (as of Monday).

It’s not a bad idea to double the investment on a couple of scenarios you like best, rather than trying to nail one exactly. Doubling the chance of a somewhat reduced payoff is a worthwhile tactic.

There will also be odds boosts throughout the series and a double prop of an individual scoring and a Flyers win.

Flyers Mesh Well

nhl flyers

For Flyers fans who remember the team’s last Stanley Cup, the 1974-75 season, there is a similar look. Defense, as it was during the Bernie Parent era, has been paramount.

Goaltenders Carter Hart and Brian Elliott allowed a total of three goals as the Flyers blitzed past three of the toughest teams in the league _ the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning _ during the qualifying round. Hart’s regular-season goals against were 2.42.

The Flyers don’t have a superstar scorer but have many good offensive weapons.

Four players: Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, and Kevin Hayes – all had more than 20 goals.

James Van Riemsdyk added 19. This group, combined with Jakub Voracek, provides significant depth.

They add up to six players notching between 40 and 61 points. That means there is no drop off from line to line, indicating good depth. And for good measure during the restart, Scott Laughton scored two goals in one game, a single tally in another and an assist in the third game.

Contributions are coming from everywhere.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov adds good playmaking skills and is strong on the powerplay puck movement.

The team’s defense has improved substantially over a year ago, from 29th to 10th,  and new coach Alain Vigneault has provided a spark. Vigneault, who piloted the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup finals in 2014, traditionally boosts teams the first year he coaches them. He’s done that with the Flyers too.

Canadiens Enter Off Shocking Win Over Penguins

The last first-round matchup people expected when play resumed was the Flyers vs Canadiens.

Montreal was the last team allowed in for the restart. The Canadiens were a .500 team, having lost their last three games in March. 

Yet as decided underdogs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they pulled off a shocker in four games. One victory occurred in overtime.

Montreal capitalized on strong skating, terrific goaltending by Carey Price and leaky goaltending from Pittsburgh, which allowed enough sloppy goals to turn the tide.

Philadelphia plays a much more disciplined game than Pittsburgh and that could pose as a major difference.

Other Eastern Conference Matchups with DraftKings odds

If the No. 1 seeded Flyers prevail, they will meet the lowest seed from the following series matchups in the next round:

Boston Bruins 159 vs Carolina Hurricanes +135

  • (The Hurricanes are coming off a three-game sweep of the New York Rangers).

Tampa Bay Lightning -225 vs Columbus Blue Jackets +185

  • (a rematch of Columbus’ stunning four-game sweep of Tampa Bay last year).

Washington Capitals-135 vs NY Islanders +122

  • (The Islander dispatched the Florida Panthers in four games to gain this matchup).
Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a national multi-award-winning writer, and broadcaster, writes extensively on the evolving legalized sports-wagering world. Over the past four decades, he has called fights for all major networks, authored columns for the Associated Press, Atlantic City Press, and iGaming Player. He is in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and a Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence, given by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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