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NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, December 9th
Recap: Thursday’s best bet on the Winnipeg Jets was an easy 5-2 win.
Friday: I don't think there's a whole lot to like about Friday's NHL schedule, but I do have one bet. I could be incentivized to bet more games, but due to other factors, like injuries and starting goaltenders, I'm holding off for now.
Friday's Bets: Boston Bruins (-1.5) -125
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: 38 Losses: 41 Units Won: -4.14 units ROI: -8.7 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.
Bet: Boston Bruins (-1.5) -125 Risk: 1.25 units To Win: 1 unit
Arizona’s 14-game road trip (yes, you read that right) started off great with three wins in a row, but the Coyotes have lost 10 of 11 games since then, allowing at least four goals in eight. Now, after being on the road since for over a month, they get host the best team in the hockey right now, the Boston Bruins. The Coyotes rank 13th on defense since November 5th, but only three of their last 14 opponents ranked among the top-10 teams on offense.
Boston ranks second in goals per 60 minutes in all situations and their power play is the fifth-best in the NHL. Not many teams can touch them offensively, but their defensive play is the biggest reason they’ve been so dominant. The Bruins have only allowed 1.9 goals per 60 minutes, and it’s not a fluke, as they ranked first in expected goals against. Their ceiling isn’t as high with backup Jeremy Swayman in goal, but they should be able to make easy work of the Coyotes.
Swayman has had some bad games, and those performances have brought his save percentage down, but he’s only played nine games this season and has been fine overall. Besides, only four teams have scored fewer goals than the Coyotes have this season. They’ve played 25 games and have scored three or fewer goals in 21 of those games. No team takes fewer shots per 60 minutes than the Coyotes.
Little is known about the impact playing at the 5,000-seat Mullet Arena (the Coyotes have only played five home games) but the ice is apparently some of the best in the league and Boston’s attack should thrive in such an environment. The Coyotes, who have the second-worst shot attempt percentage in the league, probably won’t get many touches, or generate many shots, and my NHL betting model suggests the Bruins should be priced around -400, and therefore, their odds of covering the puck line (-1.5 goals) should be sitting closer to -140, not -125.
Note: I bet this at around -115, and there are still shops offering -115 and -120, so shop around.
Update: Kuemper and Orlov will not play for the Capitals. Charlie Lindgren will start in goal. Grubauer is the starting goaltender for Seattle, and head coach Dave Hakstol also announced that forward Jaden Schwartz will miss the game. However, despite what I said about this game below, the market has shifted far too heavily toward the home team. You can now bet Seattle at +130, and I did just that. It's available at several shops.
Bet: Seattle Kraken +130 Risk: 1 unit To Win: 1.3 units
I bet on the Kraken against the Capitals about a week ago, and I was lucky to get the win. Washington outplayed Seattle, and the latter had to overcome a two-goal deficit to win the game in overtime. However, since then, Washington has lost their starting goaltender, Darcy Kuemper, to injury, and it’s unclear if he will be ready to return to action on Friday.
Seattle has played well this season, but they’ve started to dip over their last handful of games. Sure, they’ve won seven of their last 10 games, but their underlying metrics aren’t as strong as they were in the middle of November and their defense has started to revert to below league average. The Kraken are scoring goals at a high rate, but their defense has given up 4.3 goals per 60 minutes over their last seven games and that’s a scary development considering all the trouble that this team has keeping pucks out of their net.
Washington is still dealing with a lot of injuries, and it doesn’t sound like there’s been any change in the status of players like Dmitry Orlov, but the team has picked things up as of late, and after making some adjustments to my power ratings, there are too many red flags to justify betting on the road team at +110. Especially if there is a small chance that Kuemper will be cleared to play.
To the casual observer, a game between the Flames and Blue Jackets might not seem like a big deal, but it is. A lot of hockey fans, especially those who reside in Southern Alberta, would say that Johnny Gaudreau turned his back on Calgary when he signed with the Blue Jackets at the end of last season, and I imagine that some of the players feel the same way. Of course, the NHL is a business, and players understand that better than anybody, but Calgary was on an upward trajectory and Gaudreau’s action showed a total disregard for the hard work of others, including his teammates.
Calgary will face off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday, so there’s no telling who they will start in goal, but they did add an interesting player to their roster on Thursday. Matthew Phillips (24) has been called up from the American Hockey League after putting up more points than any other player. He’s produced 98 points in his last 85 AHL games and if he can do it at the NHL level, it will help the Flames a lot. Calgary hasn’t been good on offense this season. Even the Blue Jackets have scored more goals on a per 60-minute basis.
Columbus allowed nine goals against the Sabres in their last game, so they will probably try to tighten up defensively, but that’s going to be easier said than done. Only three teams have allowed more goals than the Blue Jackets in the last month. Calgary will likely win this game, but my model sees them as -265 favorite and a one percent end isn’t big enough to justify betting on them.
By now, the Avalanche’s injury woes are well publicized, and the market understands the current roster is bad. It’s always tough to price teams that have been decimated by injury, but I feel somewhat confident in my assessment that there is no value in betting the Rangers at -150. According to my model, the Avalanche should be priced around +130. New York hasn’t announced a starting goaltender, but Igor Shesterkin is expected to be between the pipes until head coach Girard Gallant says otherwise.
New York is a tough team to figure out. They grade out as one of the best teams in the league by expected goals, but their offense has been inconsistent. The Rangers will score three or fewer goals most games, but occasionally, they explode and score a bunch. Colorado would be able to contain a team like New York at full strength, but in their current shape, it’s going to be tough. The Avalanche have allowed at least four goals in six out of their last seven games. Colorado is going to struggle to score goals, too. They’ve been shut out twice in their last five games.
Only one team has scored fewer goals than Chicago has over the last month, and only one team has allowed more goals. The Jets are tired after playing the Blues on Thursday, and head coach Rick Bowness almost certainly start David Rittich in goal, but I’m still interested in betting on them to beat the Blackhawks on Friday. I mean, the Blackhawks are 4-9 straight up on home ice this season and haven’t won a home game in over a month.
Winnipeg is a top-10 team on offense, and while they won’t be able to prevent goals as easily with Connor Hellebuyck on the bench, the Blackhawks are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to generating shots and expected goals. The Jets should win this game, but I do have concerns about betting the Jets at -140, though. They have two wins over the Blackhawks already this season (4-0 and 7-2) but Hellebuyck was in goal for both of those games.
The most recent game was played in Chicago, and the Jets closed at -165. They weren’t playing tired, either so the current odds might come down a bit give the road team’s lack of rest and the Rittich’s sub-par numbers.
Jack Eichel left last Saturday’s game versus the Red Wings with a lower body injury, and he missed the following game versus the Bruins. Eichel did not practice with the team this week, but head coach Bruce Cassidy said that he is feeling better. He didn’t offer much else, though, aside from saying that Eichel wasn’t ready to go just yet, so I am going to consider him questionable heading into Friday’s game against the Flyers. Alex Pietrangelo will miss the game, as he will be away from the team due to personal reasons for a little while longer. If Eichel plays, the Golden Knights price should shoot up north of -300, but if he doesn’t suit up, I don’t see any reason to bet on the favorite in this one.
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