How are those brackets looking? Fairly busted, we imagine.
The 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs have been somewhere between unpredictable and outright stunning, with both regular-season conference champions -- Tampa Bay and Calgary -- ousted in the first round. What could the second round hold for bettors? Here's a glimpse.
Note: All odds are via Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of April 24.
Eastern Conference semifinals
(Atlantic 2) Boston Bruins (-160) vs. (wild card 2) Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)
This is a case study in momentum. The Blue Jackets had it when they shocked the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, winning seven of eight games to qualify for the playoffs before sweeping the Bolts. But they haven't played since April 16, and no scrimmage can replicate playoff hockey. Boston, meanwhile, last played on Tuesday, closing out Toronto in seven games. Columbus has the edge in forward depth, Boston in defensive depth. One expects the Columbus power play won't click at 50 percent as it did in Round 1, but its penalty kill was tied for tops in the regular season and limited Tampa to 1-for-6. One key to the series: if goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets has, in fact, figured out this playoff thing after posting a .932 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average in Round 1.
The play: Blue Jackets plus-140.
Trend to watch: The total has gone over in nine of Boston's past 10 games against Columbus.