NHL best bets and expert picks
It could have been the best Friday of all-time had the Pittsburgh Penguins not given up a 2-0 lead in Buffalo. It was too good to be true, but guess what, we’ve got another full day of NHL games starting at 1pm EST.
There are eight different games today across the board, featuring some unbelievable matchups.
The first game of the day might be the most exciting one of them all.
The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers both played 1 p.m. games yesterday, so this is a very quick turnaround for both teams. The Bruins fell 5-2 on home ice at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings, while the Rangers first line finally got going at 5-on-5 as Mika Zibanejad’s two goals helped lift them to a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not only are the Rangers and Bruins Original Six teams, but they are also two of the top three teams in the entire NHL right now, so this matchup should be an absolute classic.
Both teams have played a very strong stretch of hockey as of late, the Bruins going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games while the Rangers are 8-1-1 in that same span. One thing that both of these teams have in common is their strong defensive play.
As it stands right now, the Rangers are the best defensive team in the NHL, only allowing 2.22 goals against per game. The team that’s right behind them? The Bruins, who are only allowing 2.26 goals against per game.
It is assumed that Jonathan Quick will be starting against Linus Ullmark. In his last two starts, Quick is 2-0-0 with a 1.46 goals against average and a .950 save percentage. He currently has the third-best goals saved above expected in the NHL, skating to a +9.3 rate. Quick has been an incredible surprise. Ullmark’s last two starts have been very similar to Quick’s. He is also 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a .952 save percentage and he is skating to a +6.6 goals saved above expected.
The Bruins and Rangers have both been incredibly successful on the penalty kill this season. Boston is the best team in the NHL on the man-down, skating to a 89% success rate while the Rangers are sixth in this category, at a 86.7% rate.
All signs in this game point to a low-scoring affair. The Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these two teams in New York.
Bet: Under 5.5 -102 (play to -120)
Well, you know what they say. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This has been one of my favorite matchups of the NHL season because it’s the best offense going up against the worst defense.
This will be the third time that the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks are meeting and the Canucks have covered the puck line in both of the previous matchups.
In those two games, the Canucks have outscored San Jose by a combined 13-2 and they will both be playing the second leg of a back-to-back.
Not much has changed since the last time these two teams met just a few days ago on November 20th. The Canucks are still the highest-scoring team in the NHL, averaging 4.05 goals per game, while the Sharks are still the worst defensive team, giving up 4.20 goals per game.
Vancouver is skating to the league’s fourth-best power play at 29%, going up against the Sharks penalty kill which is the fourth-worst at 73.2%.
The Canucks have three of the top 10 league’s scorers in Quinn Hughes (2nd), J.T. Miller (3rd) and Elias Petterson (7th).
Simply put, the Canucks are too much to handle for the Sharks. Vancouver is 6-0 in their last six trips to the Shark Tank and I don’t expect any different results today.
Bet: *3 Units Vancouver Canucks -1.5 -108 (play to -130)
2023-24 record: 40-46-0 (-10.45 units)