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Rangers vs. Panthers prediction: NHL Eastern Conference Final Game 1 odds, pick, best bets

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Madison Square Garden will be rocking when the Rangers host the Panthers in a pick ’em’ game Wednesday.

The Blueshirts are slight -105 underdogs on Caesars Sportsbook to take Game 1, compared to -115 for Florida.

Caesars Vice President of Trading Craig Mucklow told The Post on Tuesday money has been coming in on Florida in Game 1, as they are one of the few books pricing the Panthers as small road favorite.

A big piece of this is goalie Sergei Bobrovsky getting hot at the right time.

The Panthers‘ goaltender hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of his last five games, with an impressive .921 save percentage and 1.62 goals against average.

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin figures to be up to the challenge on the other end, having not allowed three goals in 30 straight playoff games before struggling in the last three games against the Hurricanes.

This series figures to be decided by the matchup between the pipes.

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 odds

Puck line Moneyline Total
NYR -1.5 (+235)
FLA +1.5 (-295)
NYR (-110)
FLA (-110)
Over 5.5 (-110)
Under 5.5 (-110)
Odds via FanDuel

Rangers vs. Panthers Game 1 prediction

(8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Should the goalie matchup wind up being a wash, it’ll come down to how many penalties we see referees call in the series.

The Panthers were the second-most penalized team in the NHL (5.06 per game) during the regular season, but we do see referees swallow their whistles more often than not in the playoffs.


The Rangers will need to show their toughness early against the Panthers. Getty Images

That number has dropped in the playoffs, down slightly to 4.64 penalties per game.

The Rangers will need some good penalty variance, considering their bread and butter is killing penalties and scoring on them when given the opportunity.

DraftKings‘ Director of Trading Johnny Avello told The Post that the Rangers are likely to be +120 to +130 underdogs in Game 3 in Sunrise, Fla., while being near pick ’em status at home.


Follow The Post’s coverage of the Rangers in the NHL playoffs


Penalties notwithstanding, this game should be won and lost in the neutral zone, as the hard-hitting Panthers look to impose their will for what many expect to be a long series.

Not picking the winner here, instead, we’re targeting the unders on a key cog in the Panthers’ offense.

Matthew Tkachuk has cleared 3.5 shots in only three of his last 10 games against the Rangers.


Betting on the NHL?


Under 3.5 shots is the spot to target for bets Wednesday night.

PICK: Matthew Tkachuk under 3.5 shots (-114, BetRivers)

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