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Morning Coffee: Panthers defy expectations again to reach Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers celebrate Florida Panthers celebrate - The Canadian Press

The Florida Panthers have been the series underdog in each of the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They’re 3-0 so far.

Matthew Tkachuk scored the winner with 4.9 seconds left in regulation last night as the Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 to complete the four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Cardiac Cats have now won 11 of their past 12 games dating back to the first round.

Anyone who bet on Florida to win the series at +120 at FanDuel cashed their bet without a sweat.

The Panthers were 26-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup at FanDuel at the start of the postseason.

In fact, the Cats were +1280 just to get out of the first round when they trailed the Boston Bruins 3-1.

They were as high as 150-to-1 to win it all at the time.

As if winning each series as the betting underdog isn’t impressive enough, Florida has actually beat the Stanley Cup favourite entering each of the first three rounds.

After rallying to knock off the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins, the Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Hurricanes on their path through the Eastern Conference.

Now it looks like they will be matched up against the Stanley Cup favourite again in the final, as the Panthers are currently the second choice to win it all at FanDuel this morning.

This is the Morning Coffee for Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Panthers defy expectations again to reach Stanley Cup Final

We want the Panthers.

It’s easy to forget now, but Florida had the fewest points of any team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After sweeping the Hurricanes, the Panthers became the third team in the expansion era to reach the Stanley Cup Final as the lowest-ranked team in the postseason.

Next up, Florida will look to become the first such team to win it all.

The Panthers, which could be found as high as 150-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup at FanDuel after going down 3-1 to the Bruins, are currently +125 to win it all at FanDuel.

The Vegas Golden Knights, which can sweep the Western Conference Final with a win over the Dallas Stars tonight, remain the favourite to win it all at -120 this morning.

That means that after beating the Stanley Cup favourite entering each of the first three rounds, the Cats can do it again versus Vegas in the final.

Meanwhile, after scoring the winner in three of Florida’s four wins versus Carolina, Tkachuk is the third choice to win the Conn Smythe Trophy at +400 at FanDuel this morning.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who gave up more than two goals in a game last night for the first time since Game 7 versus Boston in the first round, remains the favourite to win that award at +210.

Bobrovsky and Tkachuk are bookending Jack Eichel, who is the top choice to win the Conn Smythe for Vegas at +370.

Mark Stone (+600) and Jonathan Marchessault (+1200) round out the top five choices to win the Conn Smythe at FanDuel this morning.

One of the worst cash outs you will ever see

This is one of the worst cash outs that I have ever seen.

This bettor placed a $25 bet on a three-leg futures parlay with the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, UCONN to win the NCAA men’s title and the Denver Nuggets to win the NBA championship. 

The $25 bet would have paid $72,000 if all three legs hit.

Instead of letting it ride or looking for a chance to hedge, the bettor cashed out after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl for $122.18.


Anyone who regularly reads this column knows that I’m on the Nuggets to win the title.

Regardless of what happens tonight, I can promise you that I won’t be cashing out that bet anytime soon.

A FanDuel Best Bet For Thursday night’s NBA action

Speaking of FanDuel Best Bets, we got back in the win column with the NRFI in last night’s game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs.

That makes it a 9-1 run with the FanDuel Best Bets posted in this column.

While we have been on fire of late, a successful bettor always remembers the losses more than the wins.

The worst part about the one in that 9-1 record is the fact that I want with a NRFI on Tuesday night instead of sticking with the NBA Same Game Parlay best bet that I gave out for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final and then played again for Game 4 but didn’t publish in this column.

I’m running that Same Game Parlay back for Game 5 tonight.

Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin has scored 15+ points in each of the first four games of the series.

His over/under for Game 5 is 12.5. I’ll lock in Martin 10+ points at -310 as the first leg of my parlay.

Next up, Max Strus has scored 8+ points in 11 straight playoff games, including 10+ in eight of his last nine.

I’ll take Strus over 7.5 points as the second leg.

Finally, Boston Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart has scored 7+ points in every game this postseason.

He scored 11 points on 4-of-11 from the field in Game 4.

I’ll add Smart over 7.5 points as the final leg.

You can build an NBA Same Game Parlay with Martin 10+ points, Strus 8+ points and Smart 8+ points at +100 at FanDuel right now.

I’ll lock that in as my FanDuel Best Bet for tonight.

Good luck to anyone who tails!

Hopefully, we can cash another winner together as a little added entertainment value for Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Final.