Welcome to the end game of the 2023-2024 NHL season everyone! What a ride it has been from the regular season through these playoffs, and now, we have just 2 teams left and a series that should be amazing to watch.




In today’s article, you will find the series by the numbers as well as my Stanley Cup Final predictions for the series full of bets and props, all at plus money! In addition to that, I have NHL picks regarding Game 1 for you to dive into on Saturday! If you like the rationale, then tail the bet, and have fun watching and betting on the series!

  • Playoffs Record: 29-15-0
  • Bankroll: +9.1 Units

*Check out my NHL best bets for the 2024 Stanley Cup Final below, then follow me on twitter @jwaggs10!

Stanley Cup Finals Preview 2024: Oilers vs. Panthers

Florida Panthers

  • Deeper team overall; roll 3 lines consistently and do it well
  • Defense lead by Gustav Forsling and Brandon Montour
  • Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been strong but not really tested much from the Panthers elite defense facing just 24.4 shots per game, .908 SV% and 2.29 GAA
  • Penalty kill is suffocating at 88.2% these playoffs, PP is middle of the pack at 23.3%
  • Dominating Corsi For % at 55.42%
  • Edge in xGF & xGA at 3.42 & 2.51

Edmonton Oilers

  • Not deeper but boast the best top line in the series with McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins and Hyman
  • Hyman leads the postseason in xGF at 14.6 and goals at 14 total
  • Connor McDavid leads the playoffs in scoring at 31 points then Draisaitl at 28 and Bouchard at 27
  • Goaltending is biggest weakness as Stuart Skinner is all over the map statistically although played well against Stars
  • 2.5 GAA and a .897 SV% are both not great but has saved 72 of the last 76 shots
  • Powerplay is historically great for the playoffs at 37.3% and PK% has been just as good at 93.9%
  • Good Corsi scores but not on Panthers' level
  • Just behind the Panthers in xGF at 3.35 and xGA at 2.69




With so many stats thrown at you, here is how I am reading the numbers and the series as a whole. Make no mistake that the Panthers are the better team here and boast the deepest team I have seen in some time with 3 great forward lines and a great couple pairings of blueliners behind them. In net, Bobrovsky certainly holds the edge over Stuart Skinner, but I am wondering if he is rusty not facing many shots per game. 

Aleksander Barkov will also be one of the most important players of this series as he has done an amazing job shutting down the Bruins and Rangers top centers in the past 2 series. Can he lock down McDavid and Draisaitl? That is the big challenge.

On the Oilers side, they hold a few advantages including rostering Connor McDavid, which isn’t really analysis, but it can’t be understated that having the best player in the NHL has some perks. I expect him to draw the Barkov blanket throughout the series, though, so look for Draisaitl to have more breathing room and his props may be more appealing throughout the series. Edmonton will also have a leg up in the special team’s department as they have the top power play these playoffs as well as the best penalty kill. 

If the Panthers find themselves in the penalty box, they will be in constant danger! Zach Hyman is a factor as well as he leads the league this postseason in goals with 14. The big hang up is goaltender Stuart Skinner who is inconsistent as they come but if he can match his play from the Dallas series, this could be anyone’s Stanley Cup to win!

With all that out there, here is my take on betting the series: it’s going to be unpopular, but I am going to back the Oilers to win as big time players step up in these moments and the time is now for McDavid. It will be a gritty series filled with drama and I expect tight-checking, low-scoring games overall, but at the end of the day, I am going with the Oilers in 7 games. 

As far as the Conn Smythe Award goes, if the Oilers win, then McDavid is a lock, and he is the favorite for a reason. If the Panthers are to win, I give the nod to Barkov as it likely would have meant he locked down McDavid and the Oilers top forwards in route to victory. It's not all about the points in the postseason and Barkov winning would be a great example of that.




NHL Stanley Cup Final Predictions & Picks




NHL Picks, Predictions & Best Bets: Oilers vs. Panthers Game 1, 6/8

Betting on a series in Game 1 can be tricky as you don’t really know how the teams will match up in this big of a situation. That being said, I think I have a handle on the game total for this one – and most of the series – as each team has played great defense through the playoffs. As stated in the stat pack above, each team is fantastic at limiting scoring chances for the other team and while the goaltending isn’t elite, the defenses do a great job covering them up. 

I also think there will be some subtle hesitation to start the series as there will be a feeling out process for sure, as is usual when the East meets the West. The Panthers are also very well coached and will make it a point to defend the Oilers stars early in the series to set the tempo. 

With those stats out there and the general feeling of the series, I am going to duck under the total in my NHL best bets for Game 1, which sits at a very fair 5.5 goals. I don’t think I will do that for the entire series, but for the opening game, I will be conservative with my wager.