NHL Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 29th

December 29, 2022 09:56 AM

Welcome to VSiN’s NHL Best Bets page. Your source for comprehensive and dynamic hockey betting analysis. Read on for odds, predictions and best bets for December 29th. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date.

NHL Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 29th

Recap: Wednesday’s best bet on Boston was a winner as the Bruins skated away with a 3-1 victory in New Jersey.

Best Bets

It’s a big slate, and I put off publishing the article in the hopes that a good bet would reveal itself, but the betting market is rather efficient these days and prices are tough. So, as of now, there are no best bets. That could change, but it will likely depend on injury news or a big shift in the market.


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.

Wins: 48

Losses: 49

Units Won: -3.07 units

ROI: -6.5 percent

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. All stats via Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

Los Angeles Kings (+135) at Colorado Avalanche (-155)

Nathan MacKinnon could make his return to the Avalanche lineup on Thursday. Colorado’s star player participated in practice on Wednesday (albeit in a non-contact jersey) and took part in team drills. I’m only interested in betting on the Kings, though, as the Avalanche still aren’t at full strength due to injury.

Val Nichushkin, Bo Byram, Darren Helm, Josh Manson and Gabriel Landeskog are all still sidelined for the time being and over the last month the Avalanche have scored just 42 percent of the goals. The team has won six of its last eight games, but they haven’t scored more than three goals in a game since December 1st.

Los Angeles is a mediocre team, but they’re always competitive and they’ve won five of their last six and my model sees Colorado as a -120 favorite if they’re forced to play another game without MacKinnon. If he does play, the Avalanches’ current line (-155) would better represent the true odds of the game.

Ottawa Senators (+150) at Washington Capitals (-170)

Last week I bet on the Capitals at -115 in Ottawa. It closed -130 because Darcy Kuemper returned to the lineup. The Capitals dominated the game, but they needed overtime to beat the Senators. Unfortunately, they lost John Carlson to injury the very next night and now the team will be without their best defenseman long term.

Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom will not play in this game, and T.J. Oshie is still regarded as day-to-day. Washington was able to blank the Rangers 4-0 on Tuesday, but the fact that the team probably won’t get any of their injured players back makes them a tough sell at -165, even if Kuemper is between the pipes.

However, several of Ottawa’s players (Nikita Zaitsev, Artem Zub, Erik Brannstrom, Mathieu Joseph, Tyler Motte and Josh Norris) are out of the lineup. Washington has dealt with injuries all season and they’re 11-6 record at home is one of the best in the NHL, but my model sees them as a -175 favorite and that’s in line with the market.

Detroit Red Wings (+140) at Buffalo Sabres (-160)

Detroit fell behind 4-0 early in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but they came all the way back to win 5-4 in overtime. Goaltender Ville Husso was pulled following the first period after he allowed four goals. Magnus Hellberg relieved him and stopped all 19 shots that he faced on route to a shutout win.

Heading into Thursday’s game against the Sabres, it’s a bit difficult to guess which goaltender will start for the Red Wings. I was hoping it would be Alex Nedeljkovic so that I could bet the game to go over the total (6.5, -120) but they’re carrying three goaltenders on their roster.

Head coach Derek LaLonde might choose to go back to Husso given that he only played 20 minutes last night, and if that’s the case, the Sabres should be priced around -160. The Sabres are good enough on offense to pick up a win on that alone, but their blue line could still be without some key pieces like Owen Power.

New York Rangers (+110) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-130)

The Rangers have had a lot of good fortune lately, winning eight of their last 10 games, but they haven’t been playing well. New York ranks among the worst teams in the league in expected goals percentage over the last month. The Rangers are overperforming expected goals by quite a bit, and unless their play improves, Igor Shesterkin is really going to have his work cut out for him in the crease.

New York is a trendy pick today due to the assumption that Brian Elliott will start in goal for Tampa Bay. It’s a good assumption, as Andrei Vasilevskiy started for the Lightning on Wednesday, but my model doesn’t see the Rangers as a good bet. And, if Jon Cooper surprises us and decides to start Vasilevskiy again, I’ll probably shop around and look for a bargain price on the Lightning.

Dallas Stars (EVEN) at Minnesota Wild (-120)

There’s not much separating these two teams right now, as the Wild and Stars sit fourth and fifth in goals for percentage (all situations) since the start of December, but the Wild have had better luck at even strength.

Both teams rank among the top-10 on defense over the last month, but the Wild’s offense has been producing 3.5 goals per 60 minutes (8th in the NHL) while the Stars offense has been average, but Dallas does have a big edge in goal.

Marc-Andre Fleury is no longer an above average goaltender, and Jake Oettinger is one of the best goaltenders in the league. Oettinger has saved the team approximately a dozen goals above expected, and if he’s between the pipes for the Stars, my model sees Dallas as a -105 favorite.

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