Welcome to the weekly installment of my “NHL Games To Watch” betting column. I’ll preview some of the marquee NHL games each week taking place between Thursday and Sunday, targeting some interesting betting spots and looking for potential value with undervalued sides and totals.
Washington Capitals @ Colorado Avalanche
Thursday, Feb. 13, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Both teams have heavy Stanley Cup aspirations. Washington has been struggling big time at the defensive end of the ice, surrendering 32 goals in its last eight games. Braden Holtby’s confidence has been shaken, and the former Stanley Cup champion goalie is not playing well. But the defense has not been playing lock-down hockey, and the penalty kill has struggled, giving up at least one power-play goal in four of the last eight games. That could be trouble against a very explosive and potent Colorado squad that was averaging an NHL-best 3.7 goals per game heading into Tuesday night’s contest against Ottawa. The Avalanche will be in the midst of a lengthy homestand, and I expect them to be fired up. However, Washington could be a sneaky road underdog bet in this spot, coming off two terrible performances in losses to the Flyers and the Islanders by a combined score of 12-5. Washington lost to Colorado 6-3 at home in October, but the Capitals will take a commanding 20-7 road record into this game, which could point to them as live road underdogs.
St. Louis Blues @ Vegas Golden Knights
Thursday, Feb. 13, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
The Central Division-leading Blues will battle a Vegas team in hot pursuit of first place in the Pacific in a matchup of playoff contenders. St. Louis was limping with a 1-3-1 record in its last five games before facing Anaheim on Tuesday night. The Blues’ typically strong defensive game had deserted them, allowing 16 goals over their four most recent losses. Vegas is still battling with consistency of its own since coach Peter DeBoer was hired to replace Gerard Gallant. The Golden Knights are 4-2-2 in eight games under DeBoer. Their last loss was brutal, as the host Golden Knights gave up four goals in the third period against Carolina and lost 6-5 in a shootout. Max Pacioretty has sprung to life for Vegas with three goals and four points in the last two games and might be worth backing in goal-scorer and point-total player props. St. Louis had gone just 14-10-4 away from home. I’ll look to back the Golden Knights as they finally get multiple home games in a row after what felt like an endless road trip.