It’s a new week. The NHL gives us a 10 game slate to break down on Monday. Here are three of my favorite plays.
There’s a cliche out there that a lot of professional athletes use. It’s about not getting too high or getting too low. Try and maintain an even outlook. I think it’s sound advice when it comes to betting on hockey as well.
The Panthers and Lightning are playing each other for the third straight game. On Thursday, the Panthers pulled off a 5-2 win over the Lightning as near +135 underdogs. For Saturday’s game, the price cratered and the Panthers were going off at +120 on the moneyline. The Lightning exacted their revenge in a 6-1 win.
For Monday’s game, the oddsmakers have posted a line of +143 for Florida. What’s changed over these past two games? Florida won the first game and saw their odds drop for game two as a result. In the second game, Florida actually outshot the Lightning, but Sergei Bobrovsky posted a dreadful performance, getting beat six times on just 28 shots.
Steven Stamkos might return for this game after a potential false-positive landed him on the Covid list the past two nights. While Stamkos is a huge presence, Tampa Bay will be without their second-line center, Anthony Cirelli, for a few games.
So far to begin this season, the Florida Panthers are a top-five team when it comes to expected goals. Surprisingly, the Lightning have been fairly mediocre and are near the middle of the league. Over the first two games between these teams, Florida has a 4.2 to 2.25 advantage in terms of expected goals.
I’m not here to tell you the Lightning are in trouble. I’m simply saying the oddsmakers have overreacted to Saturday’s 6-1 scoreline and there’s value on betting the Panthers here.
Florida has been very good to begin the season and it’s impossible for them to get a worse goaltending performance than the one they got on Saturday.
Bet: Florida Panthers ML @ +143
I don’t know what happened on Saturday night between these two teams, but I don’t expect it to happen again.
The Calgary Flames are 6th in the league when it comes to expected-goal rate while the Vancouver Canucks find themselves at 24th, towards the bottom of the league.
Despite this discrepancy, it was Vancouver who dominated play on Saturday night to the tune of a 46-19 shot advantage. Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves on the night and held the Flames in the game until Vancouver sealed it with an empty-netter late.
Markstrom is only part of the reason why I like Calgary to bounce back.
The goaltending advantage for Calgary in this spot is tremendous. Markstrom, a former Canuck, has been great in his first month as a Flame. He ranks third amongst all goalies in terms of goals saved above average while also ranking in the top five in terms of goals saved above expectation.
In the other crease, the Canucks duo hasn’t been all that great. Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko have combined to post a -5.63 goals saved above expectation to begin the year.
The Canucks defense doesn’t help matters, as they give up a league high 2.7 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Maybe Saturday was a turning point, but I’m going to need to see more in order to not dismiss it as a one-off.
Calgary has the goaltending advantage, and they are a better team in terms of puck-possession and generating quality offensive chances. Vancouver struggles greatly to keep the puck out of their net. I expect Calgary to rebound after Saturday’s no show and pull out the win in game three of this series.
Bet: Calgary ML @ -130
Quarterbacks in football. Starting pitchers in baseball. Goaltenders in hockey. The three positions that can change any game at any time.
While both Anaheim and San Jose are below-average, mediocre at best hockey teams, there’s one huge difference between these teams, and it’s in net.
Anaheim’s saving grace has been the play of goaltender John Gibson. Gibson had a bit of a down year last season, but he’s bounced back to begin this campaign. Gibson finds himself in the top ten of both goals saved above average (GSAA) and goals saved above expectation (GSAx).
Gibson gives the Ducks a chance to win almost any night. If not for him, it’s hard to see this team having any success as they are dreadful offensively and below average defensively.
The Sharks big issue comes in between the pipes. The team bought in Devan Dubnyk in the offseason to tandem with Martin Jones, but Dubnyk is currently out with an injury. This means San Jose will rely on Jones for a few games here, and that could be a scary proposition. Jones has the worst GSAA mark in the league and he’s bottom five in terms of GSAx.
Anaheim ranks dead last in the NHL in terms of goals per game, but they still somehow have a 6-6-3 record. That “somehow” is John Gibson.
These teams aren’t separated by much when it comes to the metrics, but Anaheim has a better record for one reason. And it’s the same reason I like them as a small underdog in this contest.
Martin Jones is one of the worst goalies in the league while John Gibson is one of the better netminders in the sport. While Anaheim struggles to score on most nights, Jones’ presence alleviates that concern a bit. The Sharks might have more talent, but Gibson is more than capable of stifling them.
I would make this game a virtual pick’em, so at plus-money, I see value on Anaheim here.
Bet: Anaheim ML @ +100
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Expert NHL Picks
Panthers at Lightning - Panthers ML @ +143 (Click To Bet)
Flames at Canadiens - Calgary ML @ -130 (Click To Bet)
Ducks at Sharks - Anaheim ML @ +100 (Click To Bet)
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