NHL Best Bets

We’ve made it to the final day of the NHL regular season. Tonight, there are really only two games that matter when it comes to playoff seeding: Anaheim at Vegas and Chicago at the Los Angeles Kings, two games we’ll examine as NHL best bets.

If the Golden Knights win, they will face the Edmonton Oilers in round one. If they lose and the Los Angeles Kings win, they will have to face the Dallas Stars. The Oilers are probably the better matchup for Vegas, so I expect this team to come out and take game 82 as a very important one. 


Let’s get into it. 

Anaheim at Vegas (-395, 6)

The Vegas Golden Knights have started to hit their stride in the last week or so. They have won three straight games leading into the final one of the season. In these past three games, the Golden Knights’ power play has been at a beautiful 50% as they have scored on four of their eight attempts. Their special teams have given them a bit of a boost in these games, not only offensively but also on the defensive side, as they’re at a strong 80% on the penalty kill as well. 

The Anaheim Ducks have lost four of their last five games and have absolutely nothing to play for, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try and win. Something exciting for Anaheim is that Cutter Gauthier, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and was then a part of a wild trade that sent Jamie Drysdale to the Philadelphia Flyers, will be playing in his NHL debut tonight. Gauthier led all of college hockey in goals this season, scoring 38 times in just 41 games. The kid is an elite goal scorer and will be someone to keep an eye on. 

That said, this game is all about Vegas securing the first-round matchup against the Oilers. Adin Hill has been confirmed as the starter tonight and is looking to get his game going before the playoffs get underway. Hill has struggled a bit in his last 10 starts as he has gone 4-6-0 with a .868 save percentage and a 3.72 goals against average. This is a perfect game for him to get going. 

The Ducks have gone three straight games without a goal on the man-advantage and have only scored one goal on the power play in their last five games. This is somewhat of a revenge game for Vegas because the Ducks have won the previous two meetings. 

I think Vegas will control most of this game and get some key contributions from Jack Eichel and Tomas Hertl. 

NHL Best Bet: Vegas Golden Knights -1.5 -148 (play to -160) 

Chicago at Los Angeles (-375, 6)

This game is relatively similar to the Vegas vs. Anaheim game. The Los Angeles Kings have something to play for, and the Chicago Blackhawks do not. Even if the Kings win, they are not guaranteed to get the third spot in the Pacific division. However, they still want to set themselves up for the possibility. 

The Blackhawks have been a pretty bad team all year long, there’s no way around it. Chicago has allowed 12 goals against in their last three games and their penalty kill has been at 28.6% in those games. They have allowed five power play goals against on their last seven penalty kills, that is horrendous. 

Los Angeles has destroyed Chicago in their two meetings this year, outscoring them 11-2 in those games. 

The Blackhawks allow 3.51 goals against per game, while the Kings average 3.07 goals per game. This is a lopsided matchup, and I think the Kings will have zero issues. 

NHL Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings -1.5 -142 (play to -155)

April Record: 19-6 (+12.05 units)

2023-24 record: 148–138 (-17.44 units)