Welcome to the daily NHL betting market report, your source for comprehensive and dynamic hockey betting analysis. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date as I handicap the NHL each day.
Market Report for Saturday, Oct. 22nd
Recap: Saturday’s loss on the Red Wings marked the fifth time that a team I bet on led by two goals or more and failed to win the game.
Wins: 10 Losses: 11 Units Won: -2.32 units ROI: -11.5 percent
I’m tracking all my plays on Betstamp: a third party bet tracking app. The bets reveal themselves after the games start. I keep my own personal records as well and they may differ slightly from Betstamp due to several factors, but for the most part, it should line up closely.
Today: With injury lists growing and starting goaltenders unknown, Saturday’s games are tougher to handicap on average. There are a couple of teams (one short favorite and one underdog) that are worth betting to win on Saturday.
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 size.
San Jose Sharks (+ 175) at New Jersey Devils (-200)
This is the first half of a back-to-back for San Jose, who will complete a four-game road trip in Philadelphia on Sunday. The Sharks are a bad hockey team, but the Devils’ odds are inflated. Not so much that there is value on the Sharks, but there is certainly not any value on the Devils at the current price.
Update: MacKenzie Blackwood and Kaapo Kakhonen are the starting goaltenders.
Minnesota Wild (-105) at Boston Bruins (-115)
Boston is playing their fourth game in six days, and it’s unclear whether head coach Jim Montgomery will start Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman. On the one hand, Ullmark has been great so far this season. On the other, there’s probably at least a little bit of concern that Swayman could collect rust if he doesn’t play frequently enough. The Bruins will have a couple of days off before they finish up this four-game homestand with games against Dallas and Detroit, and that makes it a little bit tougher to predict which goaltender will start. Either way, though, the Bruins are in much better shape than the Wild so far this season.
Minnesota has been a top defensive team for several years, but they’re among the bottom-10 teams in expected goals against and shots attempts against per 60 minutes. Boston is generating roughly four expected goals per game to start the season, and rank among the top-10 teams in xGF60 and shot attempts. Ideally, Ullmark will start in goal, but my model estimates that the Bruins should be priced no lower than -125 in this game and I'm not going to pass on an opportunity to bet against Marc-Andre Fleury when it's advantageous to do so.
Note: Patrice Bergeron missed practice on Friday, but the team confirmed to reporters that it was a maintenance day. I would have had some reservations about betting on the Bruins if they had said otherwise, but that statement is a good indication that the captain will play on Saturday.
Update: Ullmark will start for the Bruins. Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Wild. There are good prices available on Boston currently (about 45 minutes before puck drop) but take my opinion on this game for what it's worth: Not much, according to the market. The game line has moved toward the Wild and the Bruins are now widely available at -110 or better.
Bet: Boston Bruins -115 Stake: 1.15 units to win 1 unit
Correction: I accidentally listed the Bruins at -125. That was an error, as the bet was tracked (on Betstamp and in my personal spreadsheet) at -115. That has been corrected.
Arizona Coyotes (+ 210) at Ottawa Senators (-240)
Is Ottawa good enough to be listed at -240 against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday? Yes. The Senators are good enough to carry this kind of price tag into a home game against the team many consider to be the worst in the league. Is Ottawa good enough to bet -240 on them to beat the Coyotes? No.
Update: Karel Vejmelka will start for the Coyotes.
St. Louis Blues (+ 135) at Edmonton Oilers (-155)
Edmonton defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in what was the Oilers’ most impressive performance of the season. Sure, Connor McDavid powered them to a comeback win over the Canucks on opening night, but outside of that, the Oilers has been stinking up Rogers’ Place in Edmonton. Still, it’s early in the season and Connor McDavid and Co. should be given the benefit of the doubt. My model prices the Oilers around -155, but that’s assuming Pavel Buchnevich doesn’t suit up for St. Louis. The Oilers’ odds shouldn’t be as high if the Blues’ forward does end up playing, but the odds aren’t big enough to make it worth monitoring.
Los Angeles Kings (+ 115) at Washington Capitals (-135)
Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov is back in the Capitals’ lineup after serving a one-game suspension. The market moved toward Los Angeles overnight, but it doesn’t matter to me much because my handicap still falls within the straddle. Both teams have had a day off to regroup after recent losses, but the Kings are playing their fourth game in six days, and according to my model, the Capitals deserved to be priced somewhere around -130 depending on what the lineups look like.
Update: Jonathan Quick and Darcy Kuemper are expected to start for their respective clubs.
New York Islanders (+ 110) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-130)
Tampa Bay didn’t have to travel far to play Friday’s away game against the Panthers, and now they’re back home to host the Islanders on Saturday. Andrei Vasilevskiy started in goal for the Lightning in their win over Florida and given that head coach Jon Cooper did not start in him in back-to-back games last season, there’s a good chance that they turn to backup Brian Elliott this time out. I would have liked to recommend the Islanders as a bet, but the odds moved early on Saturday and now the value is all gone.
Update: Ilya Sorokin appears to be starting for the Islanders. There could still be some lineup changes for both teams, though.
Pittsburgh Penguins (-155) at Columbus Blue Jackets (+ 135)
Jake Guentzel was banged up in the Penguins’ most recent game against the Kings, and if he and forward Teddy Blueger can’t play, the team might be forced to dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen on Saturday. Guentzel is travelling with the team as they head out on five-game road trip that starts in Columbus and ends in Seattle. Pittsburgh would be a great bet at -175 if Guentzel plays, but the team probably won’t make an announcement until closer to game time.
Note: Blue Jackets’ forward Patrik Laine remains out with an injury.
Update: Tristan Jarry and Elvis Merzlikins will start in goal for their respective teams. Jake Guentzel WILL NOT play on Saturday, and that has caused the market to shift heavily toward the Blue Jackets. Too much of a shift, according to my model. Guentzel is arguably the Penguins' most important player, but even without him the Penguins should be priced quite a bit higher than -155. And I bet if it had been announced that he would be in the lineup, the odds would have moved in favor of Pittsburgh. Thursday's bet against the Blue Jackets didn't work out, but I have to trust my model and hope that this bet on the Penguins will.
Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins -155 Stake: 1.55 units to win 1 unit
Dallas Stars (-170) at Montreal Canadiens (+ 150)
After Scott Wedgewood made a surprise start in Thursday’s loss to Maple Leafs in Toronto, there’s a high likelihood that we will see Jake Oettinger back between the pipes on Saturday in Montreal. In that case, Dallas is priced appropriately at -170. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Update: Jake Oettinger will start for the Stars. Montreal's first overall pick, Juraj Slafkovsky, is out day-to-day with an injury.
Toronto Maple Leafs (-170) at Winnipeg Jets (+ 150)
Both Toronto and Winnipeg are missing important players coming into Saturday’s game. But the Maple Leafs have grown accustomed to playing without veteran defender Jake Muzzin. Nikolaj Ehlers is a big part of Winnipeg’s attack, and not having him in the lineup reduces their chances of winning a given game. The market makers that set the opening line for this game at -138 clearly underestimated the markets’ desire to bet the Leafs with their odds now sitting at -170, but according to my model, they shouldn’t be priced any higher than -160 assuming they’re going to be facing goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Note: The Jets are playing their third game in four days.
Update: Ilya Samsonov and Connor Hellebuyck will be the starting goaltenders.
Philadelphia Flyers (+ 175) at Nashville Predators (-195)
Philadelphia finishes up a three-game road trip in Nashville on Saturday, but there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The Flyers will play again on Sunday when they host the San Jose Sharks. Juuse Saros will likely be back in goal for the Predators after they chose to start Kevin Lankinen in his place on Thursday and lost 5-3 to the Blue Jackets. Leave it to head coach John Hynes and his galaxy brain to make it impossible to predict when he’s going to give his workhorse goalie some rest. My model is showing an edge on the Predators, but given how they have played, and how the Flyers have punched above their weight class, I’m not going to bite. Nashville will likely win the game, but I can’t remember ever betting on a team with a 44 percent expected goal share at -200.
Colorado Avalanche (EVEN) at Vegas Golden Knights (-120)
Pavel Francouz and the Colorado Avalanche fell 3-2 to the Seattle Kraken on Friday, and now they’re in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. The Avalanche are 2-3 straight up to start the season and there’s about a 53.5 percent chance that they will be 2-4 by the end of Saturday’s game. Vegas has only lost one of its five games so far this season and their peripherals are strong. The Golden Knights have the third best expected goal share in all situations and grade out as the eighth best team in shot attempt percentage. My model estimates that they should be priced at -115.
Carolina Hurricanes (+ 115) at Calgary Flames (-135)
I bet on Carolina to beat Edmonton at around even money. It didn’t work out. And at 115, I don’t like the idea of betting on them to beat a better team in Calgary. The Flames and Hurricanes might just be the two best teams in the league when it’s all said and done. They were my picks prior to the start of the season. This should be a great game. However, with Frederik Andersen getting lit up against Edmonton, there’s a little bit more uncertainty surrounding who they will start on Saturday at the Saddledome. Calgary is coming off a bit of an embarrassing loss to the Sabres and they’ll be up for this game, but my model falls within the straddle and therefore I am neutral on this game.
Update: Jacob Markstrom will start in goal for Calgary.
Buffalo Sabres (+ 155) at Vancouver Canucks (-175)
The Canucks are finally back in Vancouver after a five-game road trip to start the season, and typically this would be a spot where you would expect the home crowd’s energy to push the team to perform at a high level. However, the Canucks have yet to win a game, and have blown several multi-goal leads, so there’s no telling what the vibe will be like at Rogers’ Arena on Saturday. Vancouver is playing their fourth game in six days.
Buffalo, on the other hand, is off to a surprisingly good start. The Sabres have won three out of four, including two in a row where they doubled up the Oilers and Flames. Impressive. They’ll finish up this four-game road trip on Tuesday in Seattle, which means they’ve got plenty of rest coming up. It would be ideal if they went back to goaltender Eric Comrie on Saturday, but veteran Craig Anderson hasn’t played since Oct. 13th and the team is probably looking to get him back between the pipes.
Either way, the Sabres are strong play at the current odds thanks to some overnight movement toward the Canucks. It’s still early in the season, obviously, but Buffalo has seemingly taken huge strides. They’re generating a lot of quality chances and scoring a lot of goals as a result. I still believe Vancouver is a much better team than Buffalo, but they don’t deserve to be priced any better than -145.
Bet: Buffalo Sabres + 155 Stake: 0.9 units to win 1.4 units
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2021-22 Betting Season Recap:
NHL Betting Guide (Futures): 25.9 units
Reg Season (Sides and Totals): 6.22 units
Player Props: -15.33 units
Playoffs (Sides and Totals): -14.43 units
Thoughts: I tried to do too much last season (The Propagator is one example) because it was the first time that I was going to be producing content at large scale. I was worried that my typical betting habits would be seen as too selective and therefore not enough for the average VSiN subscriber. I was wrong.
Going forward: I am back to focusing on what has worked for me all along: Making long term forecasts for futures markets and handicapping all 1,312 regular season games.