Panthers vs. Oilers Predictions & Odds: Game 1 Expert Picks for Saturday
Panthers vs. Oilers Predictions & Odds: Game 1 Expert Picks for Saturdayiv class=”bodyContent col-lg-9 mb-3″>

The Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers meet in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time and get the series underway on Saturday in Florida as we make our Oilers-Panthers expert picks and predictions for Game 1 based on the best NHL odds. 

Connor McDavid, the Conn Smythe odds favorite, and Leon Draisaitl make their Stanley Cup Final debut on Saturday as the Edmonton Oilers return to the big dance for the first time since 2006. They're the consensus underdogs entering Game 1 against the Florida Panthers, who are making their second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance.

The puck will drop at 8 p.m. ET at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla., and the Panthers are the favorites to win their first Cup in our Stanley Cup odds. The Oilers have proven their mettle while ousting the Pacific Division and Central Division winners, while the Panthers dominated most facets of their three series, i ncluding territorially and in the expected goals battle. 

Accompanying our Stanley Cup odds and betting preview, here are our best Oilers vs. Panthers predictions and NHL picks (odds via our best NHL betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Oilers vs. Panthers Game 1 expert picks

  • Connor McDavid Over 3.5 shots (+105 via Betway) ????
  • Matthew Tkachuk Over 0.5 assists (+100 via Betway) ????
  • Leon Draisaitl Over 0.5 assists (-110 via Betway) ????

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Oilers vs. Panthers predictions for Saturday

Game 1 of any series is the most challenging to predict, with the difficulty heightened entering the Stanley Cup Final.

Veer away from locking in too many shot-prop wagers, at least for the opener. The Panthers are the league's best team at preventing shots. Their oppressive, aggressive defense is nearly impenetrable, like the heavily armored limousine protecting the president. 

However, McDavid is the exception to that otherwise iron-clad rule. He possesses an unrivaled ability to create enough pace and space to get consistently good looks.

Whether he's in the shooting mood and how effective Aleksander Barkov and Co. are at limiting his time and space will determine the outcome of this prop. But I'll take my chances on McDavid at plus-money odds.

He posted four-plus shots on goal in four of his last six games and should be poised to make a blue-whale-sized splash in his first Stanley Cup Final contest. The +105 odds imply a probability of 48.78%, and a $10 bet pays a profit of $10.50 if it hits.

Best odds: +105 via Betway

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Matthew Tkachuk registered two goals and one assist in his first three Stanley Cup Final games against the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023. He eventually succumbed to his injuries and was forced to miss Game 5, which the Panthers lost 9-3. The Panthers' leading scorer has logged 14 assists in 17 playoff games and will be hellbent on righting the countless wrongs from the 2022-23 Cup final.  

The agitator was held off the scoresheet in Games 5 and 6 against the New York Rangers, but he registered at least one apple in four of the previous five encounters. His production will be integral to the Panthers' quest for Stanley Cup redemption.

Tkachuk notched an assist in the series openers against the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, and he scored a goal against the Boston Bruins. Look for him to get on the scoresheet in Game 1 against the Oilers, thereby tallying at least one point in all four series openers in 2024.

The +100 odds here imply a probability of 50%, and a winning $10 bet pays a profit of $10.  

Best odds: +100 via Betway

Draisaitl wasn't able to dominate the Stars like he did the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. I expect a similar outcome against an elite Panthers defense. His scoring prop odds lengthened in the Dallas series, offering higher value for targets he can achieve with a single moment of inspiration. And if we've learned anything about Draisaitl, he logs more possible moments of inspiration in the locker room for one game than most do an entire series. 

Draisaitl finished the Western Conference Final with an assist in Games 5 and 6. His Game 5 apple ended a barren run of four games. Before Game 1 against Dallas, Draisaitl had notched at least one helper in 11 of 12 contests before Game 1 against Dallas.

Additionally, Edmonton's power play finished the Western Conference Final on a 4-for-5 run. With the Oilers' power play returning to its unstoppable best, I like the -110 odds of Draisaitl registering at least one assist. Those odds imply a probability of 52.38%, and a $10 winning bet pays out $9.09. 

Best odds: -110 via Betway

Oilers vs. Panthers Game 1 info & odds

  • When: Saturday, June 8
  • Puck drop: 8 p.m. ET
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise, Fla.
  • How to watch: ABC, Sportsnet
  • Favorite: Panthers (-140 via Betway)

Oilers-Panthers predictions made Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET.

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