NHL Best Bets
As we approach All-Star weekend, NHL teams tend to trend in certain directions—some positive, others negative. But these few games leading into it are always odd. Some players are guilty of having their minds wander to where their vacation is. Even traveling with family for All-Star weekend itself can be a distraction. For my NHL best bets today, I think it’s better to pick sides than individual player props during times like these. I like a couple of NHL matchups in tonight’s seven-game slate.
The Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs are getting set for their first meeting of the season. They are two of the most talked about teams in the NHL for different reasons.
The Jets have been one of the league’s biggest and most exciting surprises. A lot of that is due to the success of their goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck is 23-8-3 on the season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average. He also has a league best +21.4 goals saved above expected.
The Jets are only allowing 10.57 high-danger chances against at 5-on-5 per 60 minutes, so while the Maple Leafs pose an offensive threat, the Jets have the blue line and goaltending to slow them down. Winnipeg is 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and are coming off a 4-1 loss against the Boston Bruins, so this will be an opportunity for a bounceback.
Toronto is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, but the theme of their season has been inconsistency while also struggling in the defensive zone. They’re coming off of a win, but they have lost five of their last seven games, and they’re just a flat-out tough team to trust. Yes, they have offensive weapons like Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, but I love the team game that Winnipeg is playing as opposed to the individual talent on display for the Maple Leafs.
I’m taking Winnipeg’s defense and goaltending all day.
NHL Best Bet: Winnipeg Jets ML +110 (play to -110)
I have found a trend with the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been struggling to score goals without their star player, Connor Bedard. The Blackhawks have scored less than two goals per game in six out of their last seven games. This team is struggling mightily in the offensive zone right now. Tonight, they’re facing a team that’s been solid defensively and needs all the points they can get.
Since Christmas, the Kraken have allowed 2.27 goals against per game, but the Blackhawks have only been scoring 1.57 goals per game.
Joey Daccord is expected to get the start tonight for Seattle. Since the Winter Classic, he has become a household name around the NHL. In his last nine starts, Daccord has gone 6-3-0 with a 1.89 goals against average and a .941 save percentage.
The Kraken currently sit four points back of the second Wild Card spot in the West, so they have no business taking any opponent lightly. The Blackhawks, however, have lost 17 straight games on the road and appear to be a bit hopeless. They’re probably not as focused with the All-Star break coming up as well. It’s easy to let your mind drift in times like these.
I think Seattle shuts them down tonight.
NHL Best Bet: Chicago Blackhawks Team Total Under 1.5 +150 (play to +130)