Finding NHL value on draft night


All eyes will be on the NFL draft Thursday night, but bettors shouldn’t pass up value with 10 games on the NHL schedule. If you choose to follow along, compare the projected line to the odds the sportsbook is offering, and if you see a significant difference, ensure that there are no surprises and bet accordingly. Here are some tips.

New York Islanders at New York Rangers

The Rangers still have a chance to make the playoffs, and at the very least, this is a team looking to play meaningful games until the end of the regular reason. The Islanders will have home ice when the teams meet again Saturday, but the Rangers have the edge here. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin will start every Rangers game that’s not a back-to-back, and that’s a positive.

Projected line: Rangers -122

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin was listed as day-to-day, so he might not be in the Capitals’ lineup. On the other side of the ice, it’s probably a good idea to be on the lookout for Evgeni Malkin to return. The Penguins’ superstar has been out for over a month with a lower-body injury, but he’ll likely be back soon. Malkin might not return Thursday, but there are no guarantees.

Projected line: Capitals -128 with Ovechkin, -106 without

Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning

Anytime the defending Stanley Cup champions slip up, even a little bit, the hockey world asks if they’re just biding their time until the playoffs. That has been the case with the Lightning. If anything is wrong with the team, it’s because Steven Stamkos is out of the lineup. This Lightning team is deep, but after the injury to Nikita Kucherov that has kept him out all season, subtracting another big star will obviously have a negative impact. However, the Lightning have played some of their best defensive hockey against the Stars and are 4-1 in the season series. As long as Andrei Vasilevskiy is in goal, the Lightning will carry a big price tag into this game, and rightly so. It will be the Stars’ third game in four days.

Projected line: Lightning -165

Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils

This will be the teams’ third meeting in about a week. Both are out of the playoff race, and not much separates them in terms of overall strength. 

Projected line: Flyers -110

Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes

Surprisingly, the Red Wings have given the Hurricanes a lot of trouble this year, defeating them in regulation three times. Forward Dylan Larkin is out for the rest of the season, which hurts the Wings’ chances, and it definitely makes a difference whether the Red Wings start Jonathan Bernier or Thomas Greiss in goal, as Bernier is far superior. This will be a tough spot for the Hurricanes, who will be playing their third game in four nights. Expect to see forward Teuvo Teravainen back in the Hurricanes’ lineup, and goaltender Petr Mrazek could suit up and face his former team.

Projected line: Hurricanes -305

Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins

Since Taylor Hall joined the Bruins, betting him to register more than 2.5 shots on goal in a given game has been one of my go-to bets. Fortunately, I picked the right time to back off Sunday, which was the first game Hall failed to register a shot on goal. Before that he had gone 6-1 to the Over. Hall has really ramped things up against his former team. He has registered at least three shots on goal in all four meetings against the Sabres and more than three in three of those meetings. A few shops offer this prop globally, and I’ll be laying -150 or better on Hall to get at least three shots on goal again.

Projected line: Bruins -327

Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs

Things are back to normal in Vancouver, but don’t think the Maple Leafs have forgotten what took place there just a week ago. The Canucks took not one but two games from Toronto after having their season put on hold for nearly a month and missing several key players. Now the Canucks travel across Canada to play twice in Toronto. Goaltender Thatcher Demko suffered an injury in Monday’s morning skate and could be questionable. Braden Holtby probably doesn’t have another magical performance in him. Both teams will have played the night before.

Projected line: Maple Leafs -350 vs. Holtby, -275 vs. Demko

Florida Panthers at Chicago Blackhawks

A lot depends on who starts in goal for these teams. Chris Driedger gives the Panthers the best chance to win, while Kevin Lankinen does the same for the Blackhawks. It’s the third game in four days for the Panthers, but expect Driedger to get the start, assuming Sergei Bobrovsky played the second half of the back-to-back in Nashville. Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe could still be out of the Panthers’ lineup, and that would help the Blackhawks’ chances of winning in an already favorable spot. The Panthers have won four of six meetings between the teams.

Projected line: Panthers -139

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

Kirill Kaprizov deserves a lot of credit,  but the Wild owe much of their success to goaltender Cam Talbot and his .926 save percentage. The Blues’ success can be attributed to sheer will and determination. This team has battled through countless injuries while barely holding on to the final playoff spot in the West. These teams have met only three times, with the Blues taking one in regulation and another in extra time. The teams also meet the previous night, and who starts in goal in that game will play into how bettors should approach Thursday’s tilt.

Projected line: Wild -140 assuming Talbot vs. Jordan Binnington, Wild -140 assuming Kaapo Kahkonen vs. Ville Husso

Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers

After taking four of six possible points from the Canadiens, the Flames’ playoff chances have gotten new life. Of course, a lot still has to go right, but the spark is there. The Oilers will be on the second half of a back-to-back but Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom has to be feeling the wear and tear of playing night in and night out. The Oilers have won five of eight meetings against the Flames this season and should be favored despite the circumstances.

Projected line: Oilers -140

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