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NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, November 26th
Recap: Thursday’s best bet on the Boston Bruins cashed in overtime after the home team battled back from a 0-2 deficit. A late add on the Pittsburgh Penguins to cover the puck line again the Flyers also hit, and it wasn’t a sweat at all.
Saturday: Due to the packed schedule on Friday, there aren’t as many games on Saturday as hockey fans are used to. But there are still plenty of betting opportunities.
Saturday’s Bets: Calgary Flames +120
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.
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: Calgary Flames +120
Heading into the season, I had Carolina and Calgary projected to be the top teams in their respective conferences and those predictions aren’t looking good. However, there still isn’t much separating these two teams, and despite Carolina’s strong underlying metrics year-to-date, the Flames have been better over the last 10 games. In fact, Carolina’s really dipped during that stretch. The Hurricanes were the third best team in expected goals throughout the first month of the season, but they’ve ranked 12th in that category dating back to November 6th. Only two teams have scored fewer goals than the Hurricanes in those 10 games.
Of course, Calgary is also struggling to score. The Flames are a little bit better off than the Hurricanes are, though, and there isn’t much separating their goaltending. Flames’ backup goaltender Dan Vladar has been just as good as Hurricanes’ goaltender Antti Raanta this season. He might even be slightly better right now. Carolina is the better defensive team overall, but in their current form, it wouldn’t spurries me if the Flames outplayed them. Carolina’s shot attempt percentage is still the highest in the league, but the Flames are catching up (fourth highest shot attempt percentage over their last 10 games) and they own a better goal share.
Both teams played and lost on Friday, and both had to travel in order to play this game. That cuts into Carolina’s home-ice advantage, and according to my NHL betting model, the Hurricanes shouldn’t be priced any higher than -115. Therefore, I can justify betting on the Flames at +120 or better. I’ll grade the bet at +120, because that’s what is widely available, but I was able to bet +131, and if you’re taking +120, you’re either not shopping around or you don’t have enough outs.
Bet: Vegas Golden Knights -170 (see update below for details)
Vegas fell to Seattle at home on Friday with Adin Hill in goal. Now, starter Logan Thompson will get a chance to go for his third-straight win and help his team bounce back. The 25-year-old rookie goaltender from Calgary, Alberta has played great this season, posting a .926 save percentage and saving the Golden Knights about six goals above expected. Vegas is a great team, but Thompson has been one of players driving the bus.
Vancouver plays again on Sunday against the Sharks in San Jose, and it isn’t clear which goaltender will start each game. Head coach Bruce Boudreau will likely turn to starter Thatcher Demko, as the Golden Knights are one of the best teams in the league and backup Spencer Martin started the team’s last game. However, Martin did beat the Avalanche, so maybe Boudreau rewards him with an important start in Vegas.
Since the start of November, the Canucks rank 27th in expected goals, 23rd in shot attempt percentage and they’re the seventh-worst team on defense. Offense is only reason that they aren’t lower in the standings, but Vegas can match them in that area. Vegas dominated the Canucks the last time they played them (November 21st) and although the score was close (5-4) it was not indicative of the way the game was played.
The Golden Knights should have won that game easily, and despite being on the second half of a back-to-back, they’re in a good position to beat the Canucks again. I have interest in betting Vegas, but if, by chance, Martin ends up getting the start, the market might have already moved toward Vancouver in anticipation of Demko starting, and the odds on the home team will be better than they are now.
Update: It appears as if my suspicions might have been correct. Spencer Martin is now the expected starter for the Canucks:
Now, I'm sure Patrick here has been wrong before, but Martin is coming off his best performance of the season and, like I said earlier, the coach probably wants to reward him with this start. Martin has been slightly better than Demko this season, albeit in a small sample size, but he hasn't been good, and the Canucks are awful defensively. Only three teams have allowed more shots on a per 60-minute basis than Vancouver has over the last few weeks (11 games) and they grade out as a bottom-10 team all defensive categories. Oh, and they have the worst penalty kill percentage in the NHL. Anyway, you get the picture. My NHL betting model suggests that the Golden Knights should be priced around -190, and therefore, I'm betting on them at -170 or better (one shop has them at -162 right now).
Igor Shesterkin will start in goal for the Rangers, and the betting market has moved in New York’s favor as it typically does when the team announces that he will play. The Oilers have yet to announce a starting goaltender, and it’s anybody’s guess which goaltender head coach Jay Woodcroft will choose to go with. The Oilers didn’t provide Jack Campbell with any offensive support in their 3-0 shutout loss against the Islanders on Wednesday, and they might want to give him another chance on Saturday, but Stuart Skinner has had four days off and is also a candidate to start.
Campbell has been awful as a member of the Oilers, and Stuart is, by far, the better goaltender. If Campbell starts for Edmonton, my NHL betting model suggests that the Rangers will win the game more than 62 percent of the time (-163). If Stuart ends up guarding the cage for the Oilers, the Rangers will win the game closer to 58 percent of the time (-138). Obviously, if you bet on the Rangers earlier when the odds were better, and Campbell does indeed start, you did good. But, if it’s Skinner, it’s a -EV bet. That’s why I didn’t bet the Rangers earlier.
On the one hand, I’m happy the Penguins were able to chase Carter Hart from the crease on Friday. After all, I needed them to cover the puck line. On the other hand, though, I’m not happy about it because it makes betting on the Islanders tougher. If Hart had played the entire game, there would be a higher likelihood that we might see backup Felix Sandstrom play on Saturday, but since Hart only played half the contest, there’s a good chance that Tortorella pulled him in order to rest him for this game.
There’s a chance that I will still bet on the Islanders to hand the Flyers their tenth loss in a row, but the market will likely move after the team’s announce who the starting goaltenders will be, and I might be able to bet the Islanders at better odds as a result. Semyon Varlamov is expected to start for the Islanders after Ilya Sorokin stopped 24 of 26 shots in Friday’s win over the Blue Jackets. Check back later for an update.
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