Expert NHL best bets and predictions for Saturday, December 16


NHL best bets and expert picks

It’s going to be a jam-packed Saturday with 13 NHL games across the board, starting at 2 p.m. ET. 


Multiple teams are playing their second night of a back-to-back. Some teams had exciting wins last night, while others may have had extremely disappointing losses. 

Let’s get into the action. 

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NY Islanders at Montreal (+120, 6)

Last night, I bet against the Islanders in a game that turned into an absolute sweater against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders let a lead slip away and lost a great opportunity to beat one of the best teams in the NHL. They lost 5-4 in a shootout after playing a relatively strong game. 

Tonight, I think they will have a chip on their shoulder as they head into Montreal to take on the Canadiens. Montreal has lost five of its last seven games, and they haven’t been consistent on home ice this season. The Habs are skating to a 6-9-2 record at home, and they have an Islanders team coming in that has gone 6-1-3 in its last 10 games. 

The Islanders have been buzzing on the offensive side of the puck in December. They are the third-highest-scoring team this month, scoring 4.29 goals per game while skating to an impressive 35% conversion rate on the man-advantage. 

Montreal’s offense has been nowhere near as good as New York’s. The Canadiens are the fourth-lowest scoring team right now, averaging 2.33 goals per game and are only converting at 18.2% on the power play. 

Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat have become quite the dynamic duo. In the team’s last ten games, Barzal has tallied five goals with 11 assists while Horvat has added six goals and nine assists. 

Since Ilya Sorokin started last night, Semyon Varlamov will likely get the nod for the Islanders tonight. He is 3-0-0 in his last three starts, so he wants to keep that rolling. 

The Islanders are playing good hockey right now, and I think this is a good bounce-back opportunity for them. 

Bet: New York Islanders ML -135 (play to -150)

Los Angeles at Seattle (+136, 6)

The Los Angeles Kings have been on their worst skid of the season thus far, but they are too good of a team for this to continue. The good news for Los Angeles is that they’re taking on the Seattle Kraken tonight, who might be the perfect opponent for them to find their way back into the win column. 

That said, the Kraken have won two straight games, so they’re finding a bit of a rhythm, but prior to that, Seattle couldn’t buy a win. In their last 10 games, the Kraken are 2-6-2, and they have been one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL. 

In December, Seattle has been averaging 2.43 goals per game while skating to a 16.7% power play percentage.

The Kings have lost three straight games, but they have been one of the best road teams in the NHL, skating to an 11-1-1 record as the away team. With that said, they’re one of the best teams at creating offense at 5-on-5. The Kings are generating the ninth-most high-danger chances per 60 minutes, and on the defensive side of the puck, they’re the best team at preventing high-danger chances against at even strength. 

Even if the Kraken have won two games in a row, I know that this Kings team is much more well-rounded, and they’re coming off of a game where they let a two-goal lead slip away. 

I like the Kings to get back on track today. 

Bet: Los Angeles Kings to win in regulation -105 (play to -120)

Florida at Edmonton (-142, 7)

The Edmonton Oilers have been one of, if not the hottest teams in all of hockey as of late. Yes, they lost their most recent game to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but that shouldn’t take away from how much this team has accomplished lately. 

The Oilers are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, and a lot of their success is thanks to their captain, Connor McDavid. McDavid has been ridiculous in this span, tallying 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) in 10 games. This is a massive reason as to why Edmonton has been the best offensive team in December, averaging 4.40 goals per game and skating to an incredible 42.9% on the power play. 

On the flip side, the Florida Panthers have now been shut out in back-to-back games, so their offense couldn’t be more opposite of what the Oilers are doing. 

Stuart Skinner has put together an outstanding stretch of goaltending. In his last nine appearances, he is 7-2-0 with a 2.55 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. 

The Panthers are set to play their sixth game in the last 12 days and their fourth straight game on the road. The odds are certainly against them in this situation. 

Sergei Bobrovsky will most likely get the nod for the Cats, and his last two performances have not been pretty. In those two games combined, he has allowed seven goals on a total of 39 shots faced. Not good. 

With the way both teams have been trending, this one should be all Oilers. 

Bet: Edmonton Oilers ML -142 (play to -160)