NHL Best Bets: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, January 5th


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NHL Best Bets: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, January 5th

Recap: Dallas owned 56 percent of the shot attempts and 66 percent of the expected goals, but Ducks’ goaltender John Gibson saved 3.2 goals above expected and shut out the Stars in one of the best performances we’ll see out of any goaltender this season.

Best Bets

Washington Capitals -200


I’m tracking all my plays on Betstamp: a third party bet tracking app. The bets reveal themselves after the games start. I keep my own personal records as well and they may differ slightly from Betstamp due to several factors, but for the most part, it should line up closely.

Wins: 50
Losses: 54
Units Won: -7.52 units
ROI: -15.8 percent

All game lines via DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook, but I will sometimes use the consensus odds from the VSiN NHL Odds page if it is a better price and widely available. All recommended bets will be accompanied by recommended stake size. All stats via Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

Washington Capitals (-200) at Columbus Blue Jackets (+175)

Bet: Washington Capitals -200

Risk: 2.00 units

To Win: 1 unit

Washington likely isn’t going to get Tom Wilson or Nicklas Backstrom back in time for this game, and there’s a chance that backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren will start but, regardless, the Capitals should be priced no worse than -225 in Columbus on Thursday.

Columbus has scored two or fewer goals in 12 of their last 18 games (only two teams have scored fewer goals this season) and they ranked as the fifth-worst team in expected goals throughout the last month. They’re among the worst defensive teams of all time, too, allowing approximately four goals per 60 minutes.

Washington has lost two of its last three games, but the team has been rolling for more than a month and only one team has scored more goals (per 60) during that stretch. The Caps’ also have the best goals against over their last 15 games and grade out as the third-best team by expected goals.

Head coach Peter Laviolette might decide to rest starter Darcy Kuemper for the Predators, as Nashville will be in Washington on Friday, but the Blue Jackets have lost 15 of their last 20 games and they’re coming into this game having lost eight of their last nine, so this is a winnable game for Lindgren, who has not allowed more than three goals in his last 11 games played.

Update: Darcy Kuemper is expected to start.

Pittsburgh Penguins (EVEN) at Vegas Golden Knights (-120)

This is the start of a seven-game home stand for the Vegas Golden Knights, and with Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchesseault expected to be back in the lineup soon, there’s a lot of optimism right now. However, while it might be nice to experience the comforts of T-Mobile Arena for a while, there is some stiff competition coming to town, starting with the Penguins.

Pittsburgh has lost five games in a row and six of its last seven, but if they bring the same compete level to this game that they did to the Winter Classic, it’ll spell trouble for the Golden Knights. The Penguins are missing two important pieces, though, as both defenseman Kris Letang, and starting goaltender Tristan Jarry, are out of the lineup.

If Eichel and Marchesseault are back in the lineup, the home team should be priced somewhere around -130, give or take a few cents. If not, flip a coin.

Update: Jesse Granger of The Athletic reported that Eichel was involved in line rushes at practice and should be in the lineup, but as far as I can tell, he’s still a game-time decision. And, Adin Hill, not Logan Thompson, is expected to start in goal, which tips the scales in Pittsburgh’s direction a bit. 

Nashville Predators (+190) at Carolina Hurricanes (-220)

Carolina recently set a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins, but that streak was snapped in New York at the hands of the Rangers on Tuesday. They’ve got a good shot to start a new win streak on Thursday, though, and there’s chance we’ll see forward Max Pacioretty make his long-awaited debut as a member of the Hurricanes.

Unfortunately, the team will not hold a practice today and, therefore, we likely won’t get any information on Pacioretty until later in the day, if at all. The Hurricanes might keep the information close to their vest and, if that’s the case, we won’t know anything until the teams hit the ice for warmup.

The Predators are a beatable team. They’ve lost nine of their last 13 games. But I wouldn’t recommend betting -220 unless there’s confirmation that Pacioretty is going to be in the lineup.

Update: Pacioretty will make his debut on Thursday. The Hurricanes are now priced as high as -250 at some shops.