NHL betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 12/30

December 30, 2021 08:11 AM

Welcome to the daily NHL betting market report, your source for comprehensive and dynamic hockey betting analysis. This page will be updated throughout the day as needed. Be on the lookout for our best player prop bets powered by Range Hockey’s Puck Propagator.

All game lines via VSiN NHL Odds Page

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Market Report Recap for Wednesday, Dec. 29th

Despite blowing a 3-0 lead, the Capitals pulled ahead late and defeated the Predators by a score of 5-3, which cashed the only official play on Tuesday. It was my only win of the night, as Rangers blew a lead and lost to the Panthers as + 165 underdogs and the Oilers (+ 130) wasted a bunch of closing line value in a loss to the Blues.

Game Lines:

48-45, -0.62 units, -0.7 percent ROI, Avg. Odds -108

Player Props: 

107-101, -6.15 units, -2.48 percent ROI, Avg. Odds -108

Market Report for Thursday, Dec. 30th

Thursday offers seven games, barring any changes to the schedule due to COVID, and most sportsbooks waited until this morning to start hanging numbers. 

Let’s look at things from a betting perspective:

Tampa Bay Lightning (+ 130) at Florida Panthers (-150)

Tampa Bay has one game under their belt since returning from the break, as do the Panthers, however, the Panthers played on Wednesday and that puts them at a bit of a disadvantage. It's unclear who will start in goal for the Panthers, as Sergei Bobrovsky played a strong game against the Rangers and will be tired, but the Panthers might be reluctant to turn to Spencer Knight, who was sent down to the minors after allowing eight goals against the Senators back on December 14th. Knight's .892 save percentage is well below average and he has generally looked out of place in the games that I've watched him in this season. I haven't watched every start, but I've seen enough that I don't feel great about betting the Panthers when he's between the pipes.

With that said, the Lightning aren't at full strength, and more specifically, Andrei Vasilevskiy won't be in the crease due to COVID. Brayden Point is back in the lineup, and the Lightning still have a solid group, but without Vasilevskiy, Sergachev and Cirelli in the lineup, we shouldn't expect them to be at their best. A lot of the time, the Lightning get away with things that other teams don't. They get outplayed far more than anyone cares to admit, but they have elite shooters and Vasilevskiy often bails the team out when they don't play well in their own end. According to my model, the Panthers should be priced somewhere between -130 and -145, depending on who they start in goal.

Updates: Spencer Knight will start in goal for the Panthers.

Nashville Predators (-120) at Columbus Blue Jackets (+ 100)

Columbus head coach Brad Larsen has said that the team will not rush forward Patrik Laine back into the lineup, but he has been practicing (albeit mostly with the extra forwards) and there's always a chance that something chances. For now, though, I'm going to assume that Laine is not going to be in the lineup on Thursday and that's how I'm handicapping the game. Elvis Merzlikins is expected to start in goal for the Blue Jackets, who will be without Oliver Bjorkstrand due to COVID. On the flip side, Nashville is coming off a loss on Wednesday night in Washington, and it's unclear who will start in goal as Juuse Saros faced a heavy workload in that game. The Preds play again on Saturday. Roman Josi will not be in the lineup, but the team did just see the return of three of their best forwards, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Mikhail Granlund. Nashville probably a better team than I give them credit for, and I would need to know that Saros will be on the bench before taking a position on the Blue Jackets. According to my model, the Blue Jackets should be a small favorite if David Rittich is in goal, but the Predators should carry the chalk if Saros is back between the pipes.

Update: Well, it turns out Brad Larsen was full of it, as the Blue Jackets are seemingly rushing Laine back into the lineup. This obviously changes my handicap, but I also think there's a chance that Laine's playing time will be limited, and therefore, his impact could be very subtle. David Rittich will start for the Predators.


Over 5.5 -120 (half size)

Montreal Canadiens (+ 310) at Carolina Hurricanes (-370) 

The Hurricanes will probably destroy the Canadiens on Thursday, but unfortunately, my model estimates that they should be priced around -385, and therefore, there's just not enough value to justify a bet. Antti Raanta is expected to start in goal, and that has resulted in the Hurricanes being smaller favorites than they would have be if Frederik Andersen was healthy. Montreal is missing a bevy of important players due to injury and illness, and that makes this game tough to price, but I feel fairly confident that the I have the Hurricanes priced correctly, given the rust factor, and the fact that the backup goaltender will likely be in the crease.

Notes: Samuel Montembeault is expected to start in goal for the Canadiens. At least two more members of the Canadiens have entered COVID protocol. 

Buffalo Sabres (+ 175) at New York Islanders (-200)

Given how the Islanders have played this season, you'd have to be out of your mind to lay -200 on their best day, let alone one where they're returning from a long break and are missing several players due to injury and illness. Not only is their best defender, Ryan Pulock, still sidelined, but Kyle Palmieri is also out with an injury. There are also several players on the COVID list, including Brock Nelson, Oliver Wahlstrom and Anthony Beauvillier.

The Sabres are a bad hockey team, but they've been playing good hockey as of late, and last night, they debuted two new players, Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs. However, they're missing a couple of regulars, including Jeff Skinner and Dylan Cozens, and they'll likely turn to Malcolm Subban after Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen took the loss against the Devils on Wednesday. According to my model, the Islanders should be priced no higher than -185.

Update: Malcolm Subban will start in goal for the Sabres.

Calgary Flames (-150) at Seattle Kraken (+ 130)

The Flames haven’t played since December 11th which means there could be some rust, but they’re one of the best teams in the league and the Kraken are not. Seattle fell 3-2 to the Flyers on Wednesday, but my handicap doesn’t have much to do with the fact that they’re on the second half of a back-to-back. This is just a lopsided matchup. The Flames grade out as the best team by expected goals (for and against) according to Evolving Hockey, while the Kraken rank 25th.

Calgary has scored 60 percent of the goals this season while Seattle has scored 43 percent. Jacob Markstrom (.933 save percentage) will almost certainly get the start, too. It’s unclear who will start for the Kraken, as Philipp Grubauer played on Wednesday, but it will likely be Christ Driedger. Either way, the Flames are an excellent road team (11-4-2) and they should be priced somewhere around -173, according to my model. I recommend laying the favorite on the money line at -160 or better and I bet them to cover the -1.5 puck line at + 160 or better.

Update: Jacob Markstrom and Chris Driedger will be the starting goaltenders.


Calgary Flames -160

Calgary Flames Puck Line -1.5, + 160 (half size)

Philadelphia Flyers (+ 135) at San Jose Sharks (-155)

San Jose has been playing some awful hockey as of late. According to Evolving Hockey, the Sharks have only owned about 43 percent of the expected goals over their last six games. So, s bad as the Flyers are, and despite the fact that Martin Jones is likely going to have to play his second game in as many nights, my model estimates that the Sharks will win the game approximately 59 percent of the time, which converts to a fair moneyline of about -145.

Notes: Flyers' forward Sean Couturier is in COVID protocol, as is starting goaltender Carter Hart.

Vancouver Canucks (+ 115) at Los Angeles Kings (-135)

The Canucks pulled off another win on Wednesday, this time in Anaheim. They trailed 1-0 before tying the game and winning it in overtime. Forward Brock Boeser was placed in COVID protocol a few hours prior to the game, which means he likely won't be available for Thursday's game against the Kings. Los Angeles could get some players back from the COVID list today, but the situation is still fluid. For example, forward Philipp Danault resumed skating on Wednesday, but he has not yet cleared COVID protocol. If Danault is back in the lineup, I might be incentivized to lay the favorite, but I might not make a decision until the Canucks announce a starting goaltender. Jaroslav Halak could get the start in Los Angeles on Thursday, but Boudreau isn't scared to run his starting goaltender hard, which means he might decide to go back to Thatcher Demko after another solid performance. I'll circle back to this game later in the day.

Update: Jonathan Quick and Jaroslav Halak will be the starting goaltenders. Despite that, the market has moved in the direction of the road team throughout the day. Philipp Danault will also return to the Kings lineup. I haven't taken a position yet, because I wasn't sure I would get the best of it if I did. I'm going to monitor the game line for now.

Betting Summary

Early Bets:

Calgary Flames -160

Calgary Flames Puck Line -1.5, + 160 (half size)

Late Adds:

Nashville - Columbus Over 5.5 -120 (half size)

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