NHL best bets and expert picks
We’ve got a jam-packed Saturday with 13 NHL games starting at 11 a.m. ET. There are a ton of fun matchups between divisional rivals, but on nights like this, you certainly don’t want to overdo it.
I’ve got three different plays that I feel strongly about, so let’s take a look.
The Edmonton Oilers seem to have started to turn their season around over the past few games. They’ve won three straight games but are 2-0 under their new head coach, Kris Knoblauch, and they’re looking to keep it rolling as they head into Tampa Bay this afternoon.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had an interesting start but have been very average as of late. They won their most recent game, but that’s their only win in their last four games.
Since November 9th, the Tampa Bay Lightning are tied for lowest-scoring offense in the NHL, averaging 1.75 goals per game in that span. Their special teams have also been very weak these past nine days, with their power play clicking at a 16.7% rate while their penalty kill is at 70%.
The Edmonton Oilers have been much better, scoring 3.50 goals per game, but they have turned it around defensively, only giving up 2.00 goals against per game. Edmonton has scored at least four goals in each of their last three games, and the Lightning have scored four total goals in their last three games combined.
Edmonton has the hot hand, and I’m rolling with the Oilers today.
Bet: Edmonton Oilers ML -122 (play to -135)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are on full fade watch right now. This team has completely fallen apart. They’ve gone 1-7-2 in their last 10 games, and they’re currently on a seven-game losing streak.
The Washington Capitals had a rough start to the season, but they have picked up their play as of late, winning their last three straight games and four of their last five overall.
Since November 4th, the Capitals have been the best defensive team in the NHL, only allowing 1.60 goals against per game, and they haven’t allowed a single goal on the power play.
Charlie Lindgren has been on fire in goal. In his last three starts, he is 3-0-0 with a 1.01 goals against average and a .969 save percentage.
November 4th is when the Blue Jackets losing streak began, and in that time, they’re 0-5-2, allowing 4.00 goals against per game and skating to the league’s third-worst power play at 5.6%.
These two teams have been trending in opposite directions as of late, and I like the Capitals to take care of business on home ice.
Bet: *2 units Washington Capitals to win in regulation -115 (play to -130)
The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils renewed the Hudson River Rivalry last season, and tonight will be the first edition of the rivalry in the 2023-24 campaign.
The good news for both teams is that they will each have a star player returning to the lineup. Jack Hughes has missed some time due to injury for the Devils, but the word is that he is set to return tonight. For the Rangers, Igor Shesterkin has been day-to-day for the past few weeks, but he is likely to start in goal.
Four out of the last five meetings between these two teams have gone Under, and with the way the Rangers are playing defensively, their focus tonight will be slowing down the Devils. The Rangers are currently the second-best team in the NHL, allowing 2.14 goals against, and they’re tied for the league’s seventh-best penalty kill at 86.7%.
The Devils haven’t been as consistent defensively in regards to the league, but the Rangers have struggled to score goals against them in recent history. In the last five meetings between them, the Rangers have only scored seven goals.
Shesterkin is 6-2-0 on the season with a .913 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. Vitek Vanecek is expected to start for New Jersey, and his numbers might not be as strong this season, but against the Rangers in his career, he is 7-3-1 with a 2.54 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
I think this game will have a defense-first feel to it, and I like the under in this divisional rivalry matchup.
Bet: *2 units Under 6.5 -120 (play to -135)
2023-24 record: 36-42-0 (-10.33 units)