This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Best Bets for June 3: Expert NHL Picks and Props for Panthers vs. Golden Knights
The Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights kick off their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
These teams met twice during the regular season, with the home team winning each meeting. Florida posted a 2-1 win at home on March 7, as Sergei Bobrovsky posted 22 saves to outlast Adin Hill, who had 32 saves.
On Jan. 12, the Golden Knights picked up a 4-2 win on home ice against the Panthers. Florida actually had a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission, as Nick Cousins scored an even-strength goal in the first period, while Sam Reinhart lit the lamp on the power play in the second. However, Bobrovsky couldn't hold the lead, as Jack Eichel, William Carrier and William Karlsson notched goals in the third period to power the team to a comeback victory.
Hill stopped all 12 shots he faced in that important third period, and he made 37 saves overall to earn the win in the first of two battles head-to-head with Bobrovsky. A lot has happened since that mid-January game, but a lot lately has been very similar, too.
Hill is coming off a shutout of the Dallas Stars in the elimination game down deep in the heart of Texas.
The Golden Knights are 18-6 in the past 24 games at home, while cashing in four straight against Eastern Conference foes. However, VGK did lose its last four games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Panthers have been amazing in these playoffs, especially on the road. Florida has won eight straight postseason road games since losing Game 1 in Boston to open the playoffs. The Panthers have won 11 of the past 12 games overall, too.
While that's all well and good, Florida has lost its past five trips to the desert to face Vegas. The home team has won five straight meetings in this series, and VGK is 5-2 in the previous seven meetings. Look for Vegas to fire out to a win in Game 1, although it should be a nail-biter which could require overtime to determine a winner.
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NHL Money Line Bets for Panthers vs. Golden Knights
- Golden Knights ML (-130 at BetMGM)
Both the Panthers and Golden Knights have been getting tremendous play in the crease for their respective netminders.
In Hill's first NHL postseason action, he is 7-3-0 with a 2.07 GAA, a .937 SV% and two shutouts in nine starts and 11 playoff appearances.
For Bobrovsky, he has emerged as the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs. He has a career-high 11 postseason victories, going 11-2-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .935 SV% with a shutout.
The Panthers have cashed the Under in eight of the past nine playoff games, while cashing in five straight on the road, thanks mostly due to Bob's hot play. While the Over is 12-5 in the past 17 at home for VGK, the Under is 5-2 in the past seven following a win. I think both sides will have a little rust, too, after having more than three days off.
NHL Totals Bets for Panthers vs. Golden Knights
- Under 5.5 (+100 at BetRivers)
NHL Player Props for Panthers vs. Golden Knights
Looking to the NHL player props for Game 1, there are some solid options on both side of the ice in this important series opener.
Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault started off these playoffs rather slowly, picking up no goals and two assists in the five-game set for the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He was blanked in the first two games of the Edmonton series, but he had three helpers in Game 5, a hat trick in the elimination Game 6, and he carried over the momentum into the Western Conference Finals.
The former Panthers skater notched goals in four of the final five games of the Dallas series, posting four goals and seven points with a plus-4 rating in Games 2 through 6. Marchessault is a safe play for bettors playing Over 0.5 Points (-155 at BetMGM), but he is an even better value as an anytime goalscorer at plus-money.
- Jonathan Marchessault Anytime Goal Scorer (+140 at BetMGM)
As far as the visitors are concerned, Sam Reinhart has been dangerous in these playoffs. Not only does he have seven goals and 11 points through 16 games, he has notched three power-play goals and five points on the man advantage. And remember, he beat Hill for a power-play goal during the regular season, too. As a result, playing Reinhart to simply notch a power-play point at plus-money is a tremendous value. Take advantage.
- Sam Reinhart Over 0.5 Power-Play Points (+170 at BetMGM)