Best props for Game 1 of Avalanche vs. Lightning


Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning takes place on Wednesday, June 15 at Ball Arena in Denver, Colo.

The Avalanche are -160 favorites to win Game 1 and are currently priced at -175 to win the Stanley Cup.

As with any showpiece game, bookmakers have released a wide menu of prop bets for the Stanley Cup Final. Here are three props that are worth a look before Game 1.

Stanley Cup Finals game 1 odds, picks (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

All odds courtesy of BetMGM.

Most goals in the series: Ondrej Palat (+2000)

Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche have plenty of firepower, so it’s not that surprising that Ondrej Palat is flying a bit under the radar in this market. Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Steven Stamkos and Gabriel Landeskog occupy the top of the board between +550 and +900 but then there’s a bit of a drop-off before we get into the next range of players.

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While Ondrej Palat does not belong in that first group of players — it’s very likely that one of those five favorites takes this honor — he should be a little bit closer to them than 20/1, especially considering his current form. Palat has scored five goals in his last seven games and his eight goals ranks second on the Bolts behind Stamkos, who has nine tallies. 

Ondrej Palat skates.
Ondrej Palat skates with the puck against the New York Rangers.
Getty Images

A bet like this is all about opportunity. Palat plays on the first line with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos and he gets power play time — albeit with the second unit. Both Kucherov, because of his play-making, and Stamkos, because of his shot, attract a lot of attention when they’re on the ice and that opens up space for Palat in the offensive zone. 

A lot would have to go right for Palat to win this bet, but if this series is played on Tampa’s terms — it’s more of a chess match than an all-out sprint — Palat should have a chance to upset the odds in this market.

Andrei Vasilevskiy to post a shutout in Game 1 (+1600)

The Colorado Avalanche are averaging 4.64 goals per game this postseason. They were only shutout once in 94 games including the regular season and playoffs. They have scored 5+ goals in seven of their 12 playoff games. 

All that said, there is a chance that it takes some time for the Avs to get their bearings in this series. This is Colorado’s first game in nine days and as we’ve seen countless times in the postseason, a long layoff like that can throw a team off its rhythm early in the next series. Even if the Avs are just a little sluggish, the Bolts will be able to get their claws into them and slow this game down, which should frustrate the high-flying Avalanche.

Andrei Vasilevskiy celebrates.
Andrei Vasilevskiy celebrates after defeating the New York Rangers.
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And even if the game is more up-and-down than Tampa would like, the Lightning still have the best goaltender in the world there to bail them out.

After a sluggish start to the Eastern Conference Finals, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s game is trending in the right direction. He allowed five goals over Tampa’s final four contests against the Rangers and only one of those tallies came at 5-on-5. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has skated to a .928 save percentage and a +12.7 Goals Saved Above Expected in 17 games this spring and once again finds himself as one of the favorites to be named Playoff MVP.

This prop is a big price for a reason, but if the Avs are even a little out of sync, the Lightning and Vasilevskiy should have a shot at shutting them down.

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First Goal Scorer: Brandon Hagel (+2500)

First Goal-Scorer (FGS) bets are a classic bang-for-your-buck type of prop bet. It’s pretty much a crapshoot and finding the right FGS is incredibly difficult, but it’s a great sweat and if you get lucky it will pay off pretty handsomely, even if you just plunk down five bucks. 

Brandon Hagel checks a couple of boxes to make him a decent flyer in this market. For one, he’s being offered at a good price. FGS bets are completely random, so it makes sense to skirt the top of the board and instead focus on some longer shots. These are hard bets to win, so on the off chance you do get it right, you’ll want to be rewarded for it.

Secondly, Hagel has been one of the best players in this postseason at putting himself in the right place at the right time. Only three players have had more high-danger scoring chances (5-on-5) than Hagel this postseason and only two players have created more chances off the rush.

Hagel only has two goals this postseason (and one was an empty-netter), but he keeps finding himself in the right place at the right time. Hopefully it finally pays off on Wednesday night.

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