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NHL Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, December 27th
Recap: Friday’s best bet on the Boston Bruins was a winner.
Pittsburgh Penguins -130
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: 47 Losses: 48 Units Won: -2.77 units ROI: -5.8 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.
Pittsburgh Penguins (-130) at New York Islanders (+110)
Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins -130 Risk: 1.3 units To Win: 1 unit
Pittsburgh comes out of the break having won 13 of their last 17 games and since the start of December, they’ve outscored teams by more than a goal per game on average thanks to great goaltending from Tristan Jarry and an elite power play. The Penguins will likely have the elite power play on Tuesday, but there’s no guarantee that Jarry will be in goal as they are scheduled to play again on Wednesday.
The Penguins’ next opponent is the Red Wings, though, and I’m willing to bet that head coach Mike Sullivan goes with his best goaltender against Ilya Sorokin and the Islanders, who have been very average as of late. Whether we’re talking about offense, defense or Sorokin’s goaltending, it’s all been middling since the start of December.
The Penguins score nearly 0.5 goals more per 60 minutes than New York and only two teams have allowed fewer goals than Pittsburgh over the last month. There’s also a chance the Islanders will be without key players like Brock Nelson, Adam Pelech and Zach Parise on Tuesday, but even if the home team does ice their best roster, my model sees the Penguins as a -145 favorite if Jarry is in goal.
Washington Capitals (+130) at New York Rangers (-150)
If the Capitals were anywhere close to full strength, betting them at +130 would be a no-brainer. Washington is a better team than New York and, even in their current state, they should give them trouble. But with no status update on Tom Wilson or Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson out, there’s just no telling what we’re getting here.
New York has been winning a lot recently (nine of their last 10 games) but they’ve been totally mediocre. The Rangers rank 18th in expected goals percentage since the start of December and they’ve simply been breaking even in terms of shots and chances. They haven’t been outplaying teams, and Washington has (third in expected goals since the start of the month).
It's nearly impossible to put a price on this game with the uncertainty surrounding the Capitals’ lineup, but I’m looking to be incentivized to bet on Washington. In other words, if the team announces that Wilson will be back, the current odds would be good enough for me.
Notes: Igor Shesterkin and Darcy Kuemper are expected to start in goal.
Boston Bruins (-185) at Ottawa Senators (+165)
Boston is the best team in hockey, while the Senators are one of many teams that are up and down. It’s mostly been down, though, and their lineup is depleted. Many of the injured players are regarded as day-to-day and could play on Tuesday, but if there are even a few more holes in the lineup than usual, it could be disastrous.
Linus Ullmark gives Boston the best chance to win, but the Bruins play again on Tuesday against the Devils so there’s a chance Jeremy Swayman will start, but this price is tough either way. The Bruins will likely win the game, but even though my model sees them as a -200 favorite with Ullmark in goal, the drop off in win expectancy if Swayman starts is enough to scare me off.
Minnesota Wild (-120) at Winnipeg Jets (EVEN)
Winnipeg’s season likely won’t be derailed by injury unless the injured player is Connor Hellebuyck, but with Blake Wheeler now on the shelf along with Nikolaj Ehlers the Jets are a little worse off. The Jets only lost five games between October 24th and December ninth, but they’ve lost five of their last eight games and they’re catching Minnesota at a bad time. The Wild have won 12 of their last 16 games and have allowed two or fewer goals in six out of their last seven.
The Jets should still test the Wild considering they rank among the top-10 teams on offense and Hellebuyck is arguably the best goaltender in the league, but between the holes in their lineup, and Minnesota’s turn around, it has all the makings of a close game. If not for home ice, the Wild would be the favorite, but because the Jets have been so good at home this season it sees them as a small favorite.
Edmonton Oilers (+125) at Calgary Flames (-145)
Edmonton went into the break losers of six of their last 10 games and 11-14 since November 3rd, but their rivals, the Calgary Flames, have gone 11-17 since October 29th and have also lost six of their last 10 games. Calgary grades out better than Edmonton overall, because they often outplay the opposition, but the Oilers have something that they don’t, and it results in the teams being relatively equally matched.
The Flames rank second in shot attempt percentage since the start of December and ninth in expected goals percentage, but their offense has been lacklustre. There’s an element of bad luck, but after 35 games it has become more of an issue of chemistry. The Flames just haven’t found it. Holding out that Calgary will turn it around is fine hope is fine, but I think you’d need to ignore a whole lot to justify betting them at -145 against the Oilers.
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