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Market Report for Saturday, Oct. 15th
Recap: Montreal kept it close but couldn’t find the back of the net thanks to an amazing performance by new Red Wings’ goaltender Ville Husso. Luckily, both big favorites (Carolina and Tampa Bay) won their games.
Today: I've handicapped Saturday's huge slate of games and found a few value bets.
All game lines via DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook, but I will sometimes use the consensus odds from the VSiN NHL Odds page if it is a better price and widely available. All recommended bets will be accompanied by recommended stake.
Vancouver Canucks (-125) at Philadelphia Flyers (+ 105)
Vancouver lost their season opener in Edmonton earlier this week, but the team continues to look solid under head coach Bruce Boudreau. The Flyers put up four goals in their win over the Devils, but on Thursday, but unlike Devils’ goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood, Canucks’ goaltender Thatcher Demko isn’t likely to let in any soft ones. It’s egregious to price the Canucks, one of the top offensive teams in the league since the middle of last season, in the same way as the Devils, but that’s what the market has done heading into this game.
My model prices the Canucks around -150, and therefore, there’s a lot of value in betting -125. The Flyers are still without Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier, not to mention, they were one of the worst offensive teams in the league last season, so I think this is a good bet even if Spencer Martin starts for some reason. I would still make this bet at -130, -135 and -140, but it's obviously a good idea to shop around because, as the price gets worse, the bet gets smaller.
Bet: Vancouver Canucks -125 Stake: 2 units to win 1.6 units
Ottawa Senators (+190) at Toronto Maple Leafs (-220)
The Senators’ hype train hit a bump when they lost to the lowly Buffalo Sabres on opening night, but a win over their arch rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, would immediately quell any concern. That’s not likely to happen, though, as my model is in line with the betting market. The Maple Leafs should be a big favorite. Not big enough to justify betting -220, though, and that’s a relief because Toronto often doesn’t play up to their potential against weak opponents.
Update: Maple Leafs' goaltender Matt Murray left practice with an apparent injury. Toronto's goaltender is to be determined.
Arizona Coyotes (+ 280) at Boston Bruins (-340)
Boston looked good in the season opener, and if the line of David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha can outperform expectations, the team will be in good shape. We can’t forget that the team is without Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, though, and now Jake DeBrusk is also out with an injury. My model estimates that the Bruins should be priced around -350 under the current circumstances, and while my heart tells me to bet on them to cover the puck line, my model suggests I should steer clear. This is a game I might end up having action on, because intuitively, I think the Bruins will come out flying in their home opener against the worst team in the league, but I don’t think anybody is coming here for my ‘just for fun’ bets.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+125) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-145)
There isn’t much to take away from the Penguins win over the Coyotes. We didn’t learn anything about the team, and we might not learn much about on Saturday, either, unless they fail to win the game. The Lightning played on Friday, and this will be their third game in four days. The Penguins are in a good position to win this game, given that backup goaltender Brian Elliott will almost certainly get his first start of the season for the Lightning. My model favors the Penguins, but I was never as high on them as the rest of the market was. There’s been a big shift in the odds since the game opened, mostly because Andrei Vasilevskiy played the first half of the back-to-back, but I was never interested in betting the Penguins at -135 or -140, and I’m certainly not interested in doing so at -145 or -150.
Detroit Red Wings (+ 145) at New Jersey Devils (-165)
To say that the Devils’ season opening loss to the Flyers was disappointing wouldn’t do it justice, but the team can, at least somewhat, redeem itself when they take on a tired Red Wings team at home on Saturday. Detroit generated 40 shots against the Canadiens on Friday and only scored one goal when prior to Montreal pulling their goaltender near the end of the game. Not a good first impression after finishing as one of the worst offensive teams last season. However, as bad as I think Detroit is, I don’t know what to make of the Devils. I’m not high on them, that’s for sure, but I can also see that they have a lot of speed and talent. It’s raw, though, and they don’t seem to know what to do with it. My model is neutral, thankfully, because I don’t want to bet on either of these teams. But, with that said, I will reluctantly back the Red Wings if the market pushes their odds to a point where taking a shot would be a no brainer. Alex Nedeljkovic was so bad last season, though.
Montreal Canadiens (+ 230) at Washington Capitals (-270)
Washington has dropped its first two games, but they’ll likely get back on track when they host the Canadiens, who played Friday, on Saturday. Washington was bad on special teams in Toronto on Thursday. The Capitals had almost seven minutes of 5-on-4 power play time but attempted just eight shots. They didn’t generate a single scoring chance, or a goal, and they even gave up a short-handed tally. There’s a good chance that they’ll get their power play back on track on Saturday, though. Only one team was worse than Montreal on the penalty kill in 2021-22. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate to an edge, as my model is in line with the betting market at around -270. No bet.
Anaheim Ducks (+145) at New York Islanders (-165)
Who will start in goal? John Gibson or Anthony Stolarz? Ilya Sorokin or Semyon Varlamov? My guess is Gibson and Varlamov, but we don't know yet, and it matters a lot. Depending on how things play out, I could end up with a bet on the Ducks, as unappealing as it sounds.
Update: Sorokin will start for the New York Islanders.
Columbus Blue Jackets (+ 190) at St. Louis Blues (-220)
So far, Columbus has played two games, and I’ve bet against them twice. During that stretch, they lost sniper Patrick Laine to injury, and their starting goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins, hasn’t been able to play due to illness. Saturday’s game in St. Louis will be their third in four days, and their second in as many nights after falling 5-2 to the Lightning at home on Friday. St. Louis is a top offensive team, and my model suggests they should be priced closer to -240.
Bet: St. Louis Blues -220 Stake: 1 unit to win 0.45 units
Los Angeles Kings (+150) at Minnesota Wild (-170)
Los Angeles has not looked good to start the season, but there are some big questions about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and whether he’s going to be able to cut the mustard in Minnesota. The Wild have been an elite defensive team for a long time, and goaltenders, like Cam Talbot, have benefited. But things have not gone well for Fleury since he arrived in the State of Hockey, and my model suggests that I bet against him and his team today IF Viktor Arvidsson plays. He missed Thursday’s game due to an illness and whether he plays or not will have a significant impact on the Kings odds. Given that he’s such an important player, it’s best to wait for the team, or a news outlet, to release some information pertaining to his status for Saturday night’s tilt against the Wild. The Kings are a good hockey team, and they should have their legs under them at this point. Like the Wild, they were one of the top teams last season when it came to driving play, and while Minnesota is far better offensively, the Kings are in a position to be a lot better this season than they were last.
Update: Fleury will start for the Wild, and Arvidsson is expected to play for the Kings, which is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Not a confirmation, but it's close enough.
Bet: Los Angeles Kings + 150 Stake: 1 unit to win 1.5 units
Vegas Golden Knights (-135) at Seattle Kraken (+ 115)
The NHL’s two newest clubs go head-to-head on Saturday in what will be the Kraken’s third game in four days. Seattle lost in embarrassing fashion when they opened the season in Anaheim, but they picked up a win over the Kings the next night, and already, goaltender Martin Jones has earned some favor with his new teammates and could be on the fast track to push Philipp Grubauer out of the starting role. Of course, Grubauer is signed to a long-term contract, but if he can’t get it together soon, the Kraken will have no other choice. It’s unclear who will start in goal for Seattle today, but I would not be surprised to see them go back to Jones. Vegas could go back to rookie goalie Logan Thompson, or turn to Veteran Adin Hill, as they look to make it three wins in a row to start the season. My model landed smack dab in the middle here, though. I mean, right on the straddle. So, unless the line moves a bunch, one way or the other, I’m not going to have a bet on this game.
Update: Martin Jones will start for the Kraken.
Calgary Flames (+ 105) at Edmonton Oilers (-125)
I have the Flames projected to finish with 110 points and the Oilers to finish with 105 points. Calgary is the better team. However, what I mean is that I believe the Flames are better suited to compete on a nightly basis and put-up points in the standings. I don’t mean that they’re a better team than the Oilers head-to-head. They might be, as the team is led by different players than last year, but stylistically, the Oilers don’t seem to be a great matchup for the Flames. My model suggests that this game ought to be priced like a coin flip, though, so I suggest making on a small bet on the Flames like I did.
Bet: Calgary Flames + 105 Stake: 0.6 units to win 0.63 units (see update below)
Update: Darryl Sutter is full of surprises, but in hindsight, it's not all that shocking that he wants to shield his starting goaltender from the Oilers. Connor McDavid and his team have had Markstrom's number, and while I wouldn't have bet the Flames at + 105 if I had known Markstrom was going to backup, I don't know that it's a bad thing. I guess we'll find out.