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NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, December 10th
Recap: Friday was not fun as I went 0-2 on my bets. Seeing the Kraken lose wasn’t all that surprising, as they were an underdog and didn’t play good enough to win the game, but the Bruins dominated the Coyotes and should have won big. Expected goals were 5-2 in Boston’s favor and that was a game the Coyotes win maybe once every 10 tries. It was the fourth game this season that Boston finished with an expected goal differential of at least +3 and the first that they did not win by at least three goals.
Saturday’s Bets: Tampa Bay Lightning -135 (see write up for details)
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: 38 Losses: 43 Units Won: -6.39 units ROI: -13.5 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.
Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning -135
Risk: 1.35 units
To Win: 1 unit
Andrei Vasilevskiy is well rested heading into Saturday’s game against the Panthers, and that’s bad news for the Florida Panthers, who will likely have to rely on Sergei Bobrovsky. Spencer Knight might play, but he’s regarded as day-to-day with an illness and that could keep him out. Knight has been good for Florida this season, saving approximately four goals above average, which is the opposite of what Bobrovsky has done for the team. The 34-year-old has an .884 save percentage and has cost the team about six goals above expected.
Vasilevskiy hasn’t been playing great lately, but the Lightning have been at their best, and I’m not worried about the Big Cat. He’s been good this season, and he’s still one of the best goaltenders in hockey. He’ll figure it out. The Lightning score more goals than the Panthers per 60 minutes, and they allow fewer. Bobrovsky hasn’t had good luck against the Lightning in his career. He’s only beat them four times in 12 games with the Panthers and he’s only got one win at Amalie Arena since 2019.
Spencer Knight hasn’t been ruled out, but I’m going to take a chance here and bet on the Lightning at -135. Teams have been seemed to use caution when it comes to sick players, and the Panthers play the Kraken on Sunday, so they might be a little more inclined to take a wait-and-see approach with Knight’s illness. The home team should be priced closer to -150 if Bobrovsky is guarding the cage. Shop around if you’re going to tail, you might save yourself a few cents. Every little bit counts.
Ottawa grades out as a better team than Nashville in many ways, but the Predators get much better goaltending, on average, from Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen than the Senators get from Cam Talbot and Anton Forsberg. There’s no word on who will start in goal for either team on Saturday, but it looks like the Predators will have an edge in goal regardless. There’s always a chance that things could fall apart for backup goaltender Kevin Lankinen, but as the season goes on, he’s looking more and more like the goaltender who burst onto the scene in Chicago a few seasons ago. Saros is still Nashville’s No. 1 goaltender, but Lankinen has played almost 400 minutes so far this season and in that time, he’s saved the Predators almost seven goals more than an average goaltender would have.
Both teams rank among the bottom-10 in shot attempts against and expected goals against over the last month, but the Senators grade out as the seventh-best team on offense through the lens of expected goals and have been rather unlucky. Their offense should be producing more, and it looks like it’s only a matter of time before they break out. No team has generated more shots on a per 60-minute basis, either. Nashville is a dull team that relies on goaltending. They’re capable of winning this game, but there’s some betting value on the Senators. Not enough to justify betting on them, though, as the odds moved from +130 to 115 overnight. I would only consider betting on the Senators at +125 or better.
Detroit is such an up and down team that it makes them hard to assess, but at least we know that Ville Husso will be back in the crease. I mean, it hasn’t been confirmed, but with Alex Nedeljkovic allowing five goals in his first start since Nov. 30th, head coach Derek Lalonde will likely turn back to Husso on Saturday. After all, the Stars are a good offensive team, and Jake Oettinger has been great this season. It’s a bad combination and a bad matchup for the Red Wings, and they’ll need a lot of help from their goaltender to get a win. Husso will likely be peppered with shots, though, as only one team has generated more shots than Dallas has per 60 minutes over the last month. Injuries are also a problem for the Red Wings, who are without Tyler Bertuzzi and a few other serviceable players, but the current odds (-190) don’t offer any value.
Note: Stars’ backup Scott Wedgewood could always start this game, and that would obviously shift things in Detroit’s favor, but since the Stars have a back-to-back coming up, I expect to see Oettinger between the pipes.
The Penguins came out on top in overtime on Friday in Buffalo, and now the teams will meet in Pittsburgh for a rematch on Saturday. The game wasn’t as close as the score would suggest, though, as Pittsburgh owned roughly 70 percent of the expected goals. It took a while to get there, but it was the 16th time in their last 20 games that they’ve combined with their opponents to score seven or more goals, and I can’t help but think so much money could have been saved by exclusively betting Sabres’ games to go over the total. It should be another wild one today, as the Penguins and Sabres both rank among the top-10 teams on offense and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who is expected to start for Buffalo, has been awful this season. Both teams are tired, though, and the fact that the Penguins had to travel back to Pittsburgh has taken a bite out of their home-ice advantage. Casey DeSmith hasn’t been good as of late, either.
If I had to guess, losing 3-1 to the Blue Jackets on Friday didn’t feel very good. The Flames had a chance to stick it to Johnny Gaudreau, and instead, they blew a game that they should have won easily. Not only did Jacob Markstrom fail to outplay the goaltender at the other end of the ice, but the Flames once again did not provide their goaltender with enough offensive support.
These are big problems to have heading into a game against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has allowed fewer than two goals per 60 minutes over the last month (third in the NHL) and unlike the Flames, they’re an above average team on offense. The ceiling is higher for the Maple Leafs, too, as they have players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner leading the charge. I’m not saying the Flames don’t have a chance, they do, but I’m not going to give them a look at the current odds.
Note: Matt Murray will start for the Maple Leafs.
The only reason I’m mentioning this game is that I wanted to highlight some important news. Los Angeles was a team that I was considering betting at -155 earlier, depending on what the Canadiens’ lineup looked like, but now that it looks like Mike Matheson and Mike Hoffman will suit up, and Pheonix Copley will start in goal for the Kings, I’m glad I held back. The market had moved to -165, across the board, but the news caused things to shift back to where they were earlier and I wouldn’t bet either side at this point.
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