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NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, December 3rd
Saturday: It’s a big sports day, and the NHL is mostly waiting until this evening to kick things off, as there is only one afternoon game scheduled.
Saturday’s Bets: Seattle Kraken EVEN, San Jose Sharks +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: 35 Losses: 38 Units Won: -3.64 units ROI: -7.7 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: San Jose Sharks +130
James Reimer likely won’t be tending the goal for the San Jose Sharks this weekend in Ottawa or Buffalo, but that didn’t stop them from beating the Senators (5-1) at home two weeks ago. It was one of only two wins that San Jose has picked up in its last seven games, but the team deserved a few more in the month of November. The Sharks are keeping pace with most teams in terms of their ability to drive play, which has been average over the last 15 games, but they haven’t been rewarded, losing a third of those games in overtime or a shootout.
Ottawa is a better team than San Jose, but there’s not a whole lot separating them. The Senators expected goals percentage is only one point higher than the Sharks, and San Jose has owned a much larger share of the goals. Ottawa is coming home after a big win at Madison Square Garden over the Rangers on Friday, and while it’s unlikely that they will look past the Sharks, they’ll be playing tired, and it will be tough for them to be at their best. The Senators deserve to be a small favorite, but they shouldn’t be carrying such a big price tag into this game.
Assuming Kaapo Kakhonen and Anton Forsberg are the starting goaltenders, the Sharks are a good bet at +130 or better. I’m not expecting them to win big, or even win, but the road team’s chances are better than the current odds suggest.
Bet: Seattle Kraken EVEN
I feel lucky to have won my bet on the Kraken on Thursday given that they didn’t play well, and as good as they’ve been on offense in the month of November, it’s clear that they’re playing over their heads right now. I mean, it’s great that the team is scoring goals, but while having the highest shooting percentage in the NHL is a blessing, it can also be a curse, as it’s not necessarily sustainable or repeatable.
Still, Seattle grades out as a top-10 team in expected goals against, and when you combine that with an offense that’s feeling it, good things (like winning seven games in a row) happen. More than half of those wins came in overtime, though, which is a good example of how fortunate the Kraken have been. There’s reason to be concerned about where the team is heading long term, but stylistically, they match up well against the Panthers.
Florida is without their top star, Aleksandar Barkov, and their defense is full of holes. The Panthers rank 20th in expected goals against and while they are still a top offensive team, they’re not the force that they were in 2021-22. Seattle does a good job of limiting scoring chances, so if the team can continue to thrive offensively, it will be bad news for the Panthers, who ranked just outside the bottom-10 in goals against last month.
There’s no telling who the starting goaltenders will be, but the best-case scenario would for Kraken bettors would be Martin Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky. I’m projecting Spencer Knight in goal, given that he should be their starting goaltender, but the hope is that Bobrovsky will get the nod. Either way, the Kraken should be the favorite in this game, not the underdog. Seattle is a decent bet at even money or better, but bettors should shop around as I was able to bet better odds.
Any bettors that haven’t been keeping up with injuries around the NHL might look at this line and question it, but the Avalanche are hurting. Forwards Val Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog been out for a while, and the team is without defenders Josh Manson and Bowen Byram as well as several depth players. Colorado still has enough star power to get by most nights, but the Bruins are the top team in the NHL for good reason.
Outside of the New Jersey Devils, no team has really been able to touch the Bruins in terms of how dominant they’ve been, but even with the injuries, the Avalanche aren’t that far behind. In all situations, both Boston and Colorado ranked among the top-five teams in goals and expected goals in the month of November. Still, my NHL betting model suggests the Bruins should be priced around -165 if Linus Ullmark makes his return to the crease.
Ullmark has been one of the best goaltenders in the league this season, but he hasn’t played since November 25th and head coach Jim Montgomery has not yet named his starting goaltender. Ullmark was cleared to backup Jeremy Swayman against the Lightning, though, so I’m projecting that he will start versus the Avalanche on Saturday. Boston has had three days off, which adds to their edge.
Tampa Bay has played great as of late, and although Toronto has their No. 1 goaltender, Ilya Samsonov, back in the fold, veteran Matt Murray will be the one guarding the cage for them on Saturday against the Lightning. As a result, the home team is a bigger favorite than they would’ve been otherwise, and but unless you’re able to really shop around, you’re not going to find value betting on them.
A fair price for this game is -128, according to my NHL betting model, and while some shops are offering attractive odds, the price that most shops are offering (-125) doesn’t meet the threshold. Toronto is a good team, but they probably should be struggling more than they are. They were propped up by a bit of a weak schedule in the latter half of November, and the Lightning are the best team they've played in a couple of weeks.
The Lightning are decent bet at -120, but more shops are going to have to move their line before that price will be widely available. I’d have the Lightning priced slightly higher, but this is their fourth game in six days and the Maple Leafs have had two days off. Of course, depending on how they spent those two days off, it could end up being a disadvantage. I guess I should check Mitch Marner’s Instagram.
Note: Anthony Cirelli has missed the entire season due to injury, but he is close to return and could be activated before Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs. Cirelli is Tampa Bay's best defensive-minded forward and if he does end up playing, there would be enough value to justify betting the Lightning at -125. Of course, the odds will move quick once the news becomes public, though.
Vegas came into November on a nine-game win streak, but they’ve lost six of ten games since the end of that run, and they’ve dropped off in other areas as well. The Golden Knights ranked second in expected goals (all situations) in October, but they fell off by almost seven percentage points in the last month. The team still ranked among the top-10 in that regard over that 30-day stretch, but surprisingly, so did the Red Wings. Detroit still hasn’t had much success, though, and whether they find success on Saturday against the Golden Knights will depend heavily on two things: Will Ville Husso start in goal for the home team and will the road team be without Alex Pietrangelo.
Detroit plays again on Sunday, so they could choose to start either goaltender, but given that the Golden Knights are a stronger team than their next opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, I think they’ll more than likely give Husso the nod. Pietrangelo’s status is unknown, though, as he has missed the last two games due to personal reasons. The last I saw was that he was back home in Vegas and the Golden Knights said they hoped to have him back on Saturday in Detroit. If he doesn’t play, and Husso starts, I will consider making a small bet on the Red Wings at +130 or better.
Update: Husso was the first goaltender off the ice for the Red Wings but the odds moved fast and I won't be able to recommend a bet as a result.
Montreal pulled off a big upset in Calgary on Thursday, but let’s not dismiss the fact that they were badly outplayed. The Canadiens opened the scoring after a giveaway by Flames’ goaltender Jacob Markstrom just 13 seconds into the game and they never recovered. Calgary did 46-19, though, and therefore, it’s tough to give the Habs any credit for the win. It’s amazing that the team has won seven of their last 11 games given that they graded out as the worst team through the lens of expected goals in the month of November and were outscored 3.85 – 2.6 on aggregate.
The Oilers aren’t an elite team this season, and maybe they never were, but they’ve played a tough schedule this season. Things get a lot easier for them starting on Saturday, and they’ll close out 2022 by playing a lot of teams in the middle of the pack. However, if Jack Campbell is playing as many games as Stuart Skinner. The latter should be the starting goaltender, and while I do think he’ll go today, until the Oilers show that they are willing to sit Campbell down for a long period of time, they’re going to be a frightening team to bet on.
Edmonton will probably win the game, but my model doesn’t see the home team as a value bet, and that’s a relief because I don’t like the thought of betting -220 on two players (Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) dragging the team to victory.
With starting goaltender Thatcher Demko struggling this season, it seems the Canucks have trended toward using backup goaltender Spencer Martin a little more. This team has already shown that they’ll kick a goaltender (Jacob Markstrom) to the curb in a heartbeat but given that Demko has been the team’s most valuable player for a while, it was a bit surprising to see everyone turn on him. Well, they’ll get what they want, because Demko is injured and will miss the next six weeks.
Martin has now been thrust into the starting role, but luckily for him, and the Canucks, their upcoming schedule is easy. It’ll get a lot tougher in January, but for now, Vancouver should be able to pick up some wins. That said, there’s a good chance that if they do pick up wins, the team and the goaltender will start to be overrated by the market. So, while I’m not interested in betting on or against the Canucks on Saturday, I’m going to be watching them closely over the next month. I don’t think Vancouver is a good hockey team, they’re just good offensively, and maybe there will be good opportunities to bet against them down the road if they go on a run here. Go Canucks, I guess?
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