rangers islanders betting preview prediction

The National Hockey League drops the puck on the 2021 season this week, and on Thursday night, we will see the first installment of the Battle for New York as the Islanders travel to Manhattan to take on the Rangers.

Let’s dive into this season opener from a betting perspective with some Rangers-Islanders odds, picks and predictions.

Islanders vs. Rangers Betting Preview

Two teams that made big strides in different ways last season hook up for what will be the first of eight meetings in this condensed campaign. The Islanders are coming off of their first Conference Finals appearance since the 1980’s, after losing in a hard-fought seven-game series to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Meanwhile, the Rangers overcame a tough first half of the regular season, and with a 18-10-1 run up until the season shutdown in March, they earned enough points to reach the postseason, where they were quickly swept away by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Both clubs are due to be competitive all season long in this newly formed Eastern Division.

Islanders vs. Rangers Betting Odds

Here are the lines for Islanders vs. Rangers at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Spread: Islanders (-1.5 +220); Rangers (+1.5 -275)
  • Moneyline: Islanders (-112); Rangers (-105)
  • Over/Under: Over 6 (-103)/Under 6 (-120)

Bets We Like With an Islanders Win

Mathew Barzal to Score a Goal Anytime (+250 DraftKings Sportsbook)

The speedy 23-year old will get plenty of time on the top forward line, as well as on the Power-Play this season. Fresh off signing a new three-year contract, look for Barzal to find the back of the net in this opening contest.

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Bets We Like With a Rangers Win

Rangers Team Total (OVER 3 -121 PointsBet)

This Rangers offense is absolutely loaded this season, with MVP finalist Artemi Panarin leading the way, along with #1 Overall Draft pick Alexis LaFreniere, and veteran forwards Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, the latter of which has been cleared to play in this contest after dealing with COVID-19 during Training Camp.

With Semyon Varlamov getting the start for the Isles, the Rangers will be able to fire off shots at will and find the back of the net more than three times in this showdown. Varlamov in his career is only 6-5-2 against the Rangers, with a 3.31 goals-against average and a .897% save percentage.

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Bets We Like Independent of the Outcome

First Period (OVER 1.5 Goals -134 DraftKings)

This is a big game to open the season for both squads as it is a rivalry showdown with division points at stake and a chance to draw early blood on what will be a furious paced season. I like both teams to score here in the first 20 minutes of play. The first period over has cashed in 6 of the last 10 meetings between the Islanders and Rangers.

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Islanders vs. Rangers Prediction

Both of these clubs play different styles, with the Islanders, a more conservative style of offense, and very disciplined defensive schemes going up against the more free-flowing, open offense style of attack sported by the Rangers.

I think the home squad is the better team, and at a pick’em price, I’m backing the Rangers to pick up a 4-2 victory to open the 2021 campaign.

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You can follow Alex B. Smith on Twitter @axsmithsports.

Alex B. Smith has been a Sports Handicapper since 2011. Emerging as one of the top up-and-coming Handicappers in the business, Smith has been heavily featured in Print and Radio Media over the years, Doing various interviews with WagerTalk on SB Nation Radio, PreGame.com, SportsXRadio on the Yahoo Sports Radio Network and on ESPN 1100 Radio in Las Vegas, Nevada, KDWN 720 in Las Vegas, Nevada, 93.7 The Ticket FM in Lincoln, Nebraska along with interviews & articles published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. In addition to currently co-hosting "The Box Seats" with Bob Sullivan on Tuesday nights on LateNightSportsRadio.com, Alex has also previously done some freelance writing with Bleacher Report during a brief stint as a Cutman's Assistant in Boxing.