This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
2023 Stanley Cup Final:
Florida Panthers vs Las Vegas Golden Knights
Best Bets and Props
Boy, am I excited for this matchup! We've got a Cinderella story in the Panthers pitted against The Lion King version of the Golden Knights (shoutout to Bill Price from NHL.com for those analogies). The Panthers weren't even supposed to be in the postseason, and only snuck in because the Blackhawks somehow knocked off the Penguins in the final two games of the regular season to send the Cats in as the eighth seed. All they've done is impress since, mounting a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against the Bruins, who were the best regular-season team in NHL history. Then they only lost one game in their triumphs over the Maple Leafs (the regular season's No. 4-ranked team) and the Hurricanes (the regular season's No. 2-ranked team). They'll face the Golden Knights for a chance to knock off the entire Top 5 from the regular season, as Vegas earned the top seed in the West as the No. 3 overall team in the field. This Knights squad is on a mission, and they've looked every bit the real deal this postseason, especially in their six-game series wins over the Oilers and Stars. Vegas is in its second Cup Final in just six seasons in the league, and coach Bruce Cassidy also took the Bruins there in 2019. As we gear up for what's certain to be an exciting series, let's take a look at the best bets and props for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final!
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
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Playoff Series Props
Even if you don't look at the Panthers' dominant postseason performance, I'll have to admit that calling them a true Cinderella story may be a little bit of a stretch. The 2018 Golden Knights were a true Cinderella. It was their first year in the league and they had a bunch of, what they ended up calling themselves, "misfits" on the roster with no bona fide stars. This Panthers team is not that. They are one year removed from winning the Presidents' Trophy. They have a seasoned bench boss in Paul Maurice, who is sixth all-time in wins as a head coach. They acquired a bone fide superstar in Matthew Tkachuk in the offseason. He finished sixth in scoring in the regular season and is a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Some call Aleksander Barkov the most underrated player in the league, and he deserves some recognition as a star in his own right. Their supporting cast is one of the deepest in the league, with Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart leading a lethal offensive attack. The defense is stout and sturdy, with Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour bolstering the blue line. And they have a two-time Vezina Trophy winner in Sergei Bobrovsky, who actually decided to play like his old self this postseason. They're, as the kids say, nasty. I could rant and rave about how awesome the Golden Knights are, too, don't get me wrong. Jack Eichel is a superstar. Jonathan Marchessault is one of the most underrated pure goal scorers in the game. William Karlsson, Mark Stone and Reilly Smith make up a rock-solid supporting cast. Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez bring respective Cup-winning pedigrees to the blue line. Bruce Cassidy is in the Top 50 in all-time wins as a coach, and the goalie-by-committee formula is working in net. But, I just can't bring myself to bet against the Panthers. I commonly have an Eastern Conference bias, I'll be transparent about that, and the Knights have definitely faced formidable opponents this postseason, especially the Oilers. But nothing compares to the battle-tested experience of beating the Bruins, Hurricanes, and Maple Leafs, who are all teams I'd pick to beat this Knights team.
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Series Correct Score
Panthers 4-2 +475
Series Total Games
6 Games +205
Conn Smythe Trophy
Sergei Bobrovsky +210
With so much attention on Matthew Tkachuk, and with good reason, Bob has been the backbone of Florida's success this postseason. The Golden Knights have a high-powered offense that outgunned Connor McDavid and the Oilers, and they will undoubtedly get their fair share of scoring chances in this one, too. But Bobrovsky will be up to the task, and I can see him stealing at least two games by standing on his head.
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Series Player Props
Brandon Montour (FLA) to record 6+ shots on goal in any game +100
Carter Verhaeghe (FLA) +600
Jonathan Marchessault (VGK) +1300