Welcome to the weekly installment of my “NHL Games To Watch” betting column. I’ll preview some of the marquee games each week taking place between Thursday and Sunday targeting some interesting betting spots and looking for potential value with undervalued sides and totals.
St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche
Saturday, Jan. 18, 3 p.m.
The Blues and Avalanche will face off in a matinee matchup in Denver. St. Louis leads the Central Division and was 11 points ahead of third-place Colorado going into Wednesday night’s games. The Blues have had few lulls this season and have felt no effects of a Stanley Cup hangover. St. Louis is a top-10 defensive team and is improving at the offensive end, having scored three or more goals in 10 of its last 11 games. David Perron has been excellent with a team-leading 46 points, and Tyler Bozak has stepped with goals in three of the last four games. On the other side, it has been a struggle for Colorado, which is 0-2-2 in its last four. The Avalanche have had problems keeping opponents from scoring despite getting much healthier from an injury perspective in recent weeks. Colorado had dropped two in a row to St. Louis head to head before posting a commanding 7-3 victory over the Blues on Jan. 2 in Denver. If the price is right, the road underdog Blues could be a good bet.
Boston Bruins @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Sunday, Jan. 19, 12:30 p.m.
A national TV audience will witness a great matchup between the defending Eastern Conference champion Bruins and a Penguins team with a healthy Sidney Crosby back. Pittsburgh got Crosby back from injury this week but did an incredible job in his absence, repeatedly finding ways to win. The Penguins have been resilient, with one AHL roster call-up after another making immediate impacts. They entered the week having won back-to-back road games in comeback fashion against Colorado and Arizona, two teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, before throttling Minnesota 7-3 at home. Pittsburgh has scored four or more goals in seven of its last 10 games and has trended to the Over at a 7-3 clip during that span. The Penguins have also gotten steady goaltending from Tristan Jarry, who has gradually gotten more starts with the inconsistency of Matt Murray. Boston has been decidedly mediocre, guilty of surrendering leads multiple times in recent games and on a two-game losing streak. With Crosby returning in Tuesday night’s rout of the Wild and scoring four points, the price will likely be higher on Pittsburgh here, and the value could be on Boston.