NHL best bets and expert picks
Last night was arguably the ugliest card I have had since I first began sports betting. I like to hold myself accountable to take responsibility when I don’t see the board well. Things just didn’t go my way at all. The beautiful thing about sports betting is that yesterday is done, and today is a new opportunity to get back on the winning side.
There are six matchups across the NHL tonight, with a lot of the league’s stars in action, such as Jack Eichel, Connor Bedard, Jack Hughes, Tage Thompson, and many more.
Even though there are plenty of games to pick from, I want to keep tonight’s card simple, especially with a huge Saturday slate of games tomorrow.
Let’s look at what we’ve got for Friday night’s action.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights are getting set to meet for the second time this week. On October 21st, these two teams played at the United Center in Chicago in a relatively even hockey game. The Golden Knights skated away with a 5-3 victory. Tonight, they look to extend their season-opening win streak to 8 games.
To no surprise, the key contributor for the Golden Knights this season has been none other than Jack Eichel. He is leading the way with eight points in the team’s seven games (three goals, five assists), but he also leads the team by a landslide in shots on goal. Eichel has 36 shots on goal. Jonathan Marchessault has the second-highest on the team with 23. Eichel has been hungry.
In his last five games, Eichel has had the following shot count, 8,8,3,4,4, and in those games, he has put up a combined two goals and four assists. One of those outings included that game in Chicago, where Eichel had four shots on goal and tallied one assist.
As a team, the Blackhawks are allowing the second most shots against per game (36.3), and I think the Golden Knights can pick this defense apart, just like they had earlier in the week.
Eichel continues to show each game that he wants to get pucks on the net, and with this game being in Vegas, I like the Golden Knights even more. Eichel hasn’t disappointed me, and I like his shot prop tonight.
Bet: Jack Eichel over 3.5 shots on goal -120 (play to -135)
The New Jersey Devils have had a very interesting start to the 2023-24 campaign. They were arguably the team with the most hype coming into the season, and they currently sit at 3-2-1, but they are 1-2-1 on home ice. The Buffalo Sabres have been a bit rocky as well. They’re coming off a big win on the road in Ottawa, where their offense finally exploded, but I wasn’t very impressed with their overall game.
Eric Comrie and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are now sharing the net for the Sabres due to Devon Levi’s injury. Luukkonen started in the team’s last game in Ottawa but could be expected to go again tonight. That was his only start of the season, but he made 34 saves on 38 shots, skating to a .895 save percentage and a 4.02 goals against average. I believe Comrie will be tonight’s starter for the Sabres, but neither has yet been confirmed. Comrie’s numbers are much better than Luukkonen’s, as he is 1-1-0 with a .923 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average.
The Devils are coming off their ugliest defensive performance of the season, so I’d expect them to tighten up in their own zone tonight. Akria Schmid was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots. Vitek Vanecek came in to relieve him, and he is expected to start tonight’s game. Vanecek is 2-2-0 with a .900 save percentage and 3.10 goals against average.
Buffalo hasn’t been very clean on the defensive end this season either, and with the pace at which the Devils are scoring goals, I like their chances to have control of this game. New Jersey is scoring the third most goals per game (4.00), the third most high-danger chances per game (13.56), and they have the league’s best power play at 42.3%. The Sabres are allowing 3.14 goals against per game and are allowing the sixth most high-danger chances against per game (13.37).
I know the Devils can score goals, but I am putting my faith in their defense to shut down Buffalo.
Bet: New Jersey Devils to win in regulation -115 (play to -130)
2023-24 record: 19-25-0 (-12.59 units)