Handicapping the NHL: Thursday's Best Bets

Handicapping the NHL: Thursday's Best Bets

This article is part of our NHL Picks series.

RotoWire's AJ Scholz takes a deep dive into his favorite bets ahead of Thursday's 10-game slate, including a look at the Moneyline, Puckline, total and player props with odds courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook

Moneyline Targets

Picking the Favorite: It's certainly an option to take the easy road here and take either the Predators or Golden Knights who enter tonight's matchup at -110 apiece on the money, so really just a coin toss. If you want to go with one of these teams, I would stick with the Predators who aren't dealing with a roster full of injuries, including preferred starting netminder Robin Lehner (upper body). Those are the best odds you are going to find among the favorites, especially compared to Winnipeg which is -285 against the Senators. With Vegas' injury woes, it makes more sense to target that 50/50 game instead of looking at Tampa Bay v. Boston which is similarly priced at -110 apiece. 

Finding an Underdog: At +225 it might be worth the value to target Ottawa on Thursday when you consider Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck had given up three or more goals in 11 straight games before bouncing back with a shutout performance against Vegas on Tuesday. The Senators' offense hasn't been exactly stellar this year, generating just 2.56 goals per game (third-fewest in the league). Still, those odds are just too good to pass on considering the Jets' defensive struggles. 

Covering the Puckline

Favorite Team to Cover: The Panthers will almost certainly cover the Puckline against the Canadiens considering that their already stocked offensive group added Claude Giroux at the deadline, but is the -110 value worth it compared to the other options on Thursday's 10-game slate? Probably considering Montreal has the league's worst goals allowed per game (3.76) and lowest goals per game (2.51) on the season. Of the Habs' top-five point producers this year, two of them are no longer on the roster in Artturi Lehkonen and Tyler Toffoli

Best of the Rest: It's rare that you can find decent value while getting +1.5 goals but if you like the idea of the Senators but want a little less risk, you can target them on the Puckline for -120 value. Similarly, the Sharks are facing the Oilers and sit at -130 for +1.5 Puckline. Edmonton features two of the biggest offensive stars in the game but has lacked solid netminding all year which could open the door for San Jose to at least keep it within a goal. 

Betting the Total

Taking the Over: While Boston v. Tampa Bay will feature two netminders in Andrei Vasilevskiy and Jeremy Swayman who have racked up wins this season, neither goalie's save percentage is above .915 in March. On the offensive side of the puck, Patrice Bergeron (arm) is poised to return while the Lightning have split up Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, which will give both squads formidable top-six line combinations. At just 5.5 for the total for -115, there seem to be too many factors pointing to at least six goals in this one. 

Spotting the Under: Despite all of the reasons to expect the Panthers to put some goals in the net, the total in their matchup with the Canadiens sits at 6.5 which just feels a little too high when you consider Montreal may not be able to even add one goal which would require Florida to rack up seven tallies. Looking at the under here at -110 is certainly the safer option. 

Favorite Player Props

Anytime Goal Scorer: Despite a seven-game goal streak, David Perron has the fourth-best odds in the Blues v. Flyers matchup at +170. Obviously, at some point, he is going to miss putting one into the netting but the lowly Flyers, who have allowed 18 goals in their last five outings, aren't exactly the most defensively gifted team in the league. Not to mention the fact the club traded away two of its best players, including defenseman Justin Braun

Earning an Assist: Roman Josi is riding an 11-game point streak during which he has garnered an assist in all but one of those contests. You can get the Preds' defenseman at modest -145 value to grab a helper versus Vegas. If you want more value out of the 31-year-old defenseman, you could look at him getting a power-play point for +145 which is a solid play considering he has seven points with the man advantage over that same 11-game stretch. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AJ Scholz
Co-Host of PuckCast with Statsman and AJ and unabashed Penguins fan.
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