NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 8th

December 7, 2022 11:11 PM

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NHL Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 8th

Thursday’s Bets: Winnipeg Jets -115 (see write up for details)

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: 37 Losses: 41 Units Won: -5.14 units ROI: -10.8 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.

Winnipeg Jets (-115) at St. Louis Blues (-105)

Bet: Winnipeg Jets -115

Risk: 1.15 units

To Win: 1 unit

Home teams have won just 51.5 percent of the games so far this season, so the Blues, who are playing their third game in four days, won’t get much of a bump from playing in St. Louis when they host the Jets on Thursday. The Blues haven’t beaten a good team on home ice all season, and given their defensive woes, they’ll likely be in tough against goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The 32-year-old has posted a .932 save percentage and is saving the Jets almost one goal per game more than an average goaltender would if they faced the same shots.

Winnipeg hasn’t confirmed that Hellebuyck will start on Thursday, but given the schedule, it seems likely. This is the first half of a back-to-back for the Jets, and their next opponent is one of the worst teams in the league. The Jets should be able to beat the Chicago Blackhawks with backup David Rittich in the net, and this is a chance for them to create even more separation between the two teams in the standings. Winnipeg has two games in hand on St. Louis and they currently hold a nine-point lead over the Blues in the Central Division. This is an important game.

St. Louis has been better on offense over the last month, but they could be without their leading goal scorer, Pavel Buchnevich, and power play quarterback, Torey Krug. Winnipeg has been just as good, if not better, on offense, and they rank among the top-five teams in goals against thanks to Hellebuyck. Only five teams have allowed more goals per 60 minutes than the Blues this season, and that hasn’t gotten any better lately. Jordan Binnington, who I expect will be back in goal, has allowed approximately eight goals above expected in 20 games this season.

I’m betting the Jets at -115 to win one unit, while accepting that it will be a terrible bet if Rittich ends up getting the start.

Update: Hellebuyck will start for the Winnipeg Jets and it looks like both Buchnevich and Krug will sit out again. Jordan Binnington was in the starter's crease at practice but it looks like backup goaltender Thomas Greiss could make his second start in a row.

Detroit Red Wings (+170) at Florida Panthers (-190)

Now that the Panthers are back in Florida following a five-game road trip through Western Canada, there’s a good chance that Aleksander Barkov will be back in the lineup on Thursday when the Panthers host the Red Wings. The Panthers’ captain was dealing with a bout of pneumonia, but he is now healthy and has returned to skating with the team. It sounds like he will play, but either way, it’s hard to put a price on this game with that hanging over it. Call me crazy for not questioning it, but my model sees the Red Wings as a good bet at +170 whether Barkov plays or not.

However, there’s another thing hanging over this game that makes me feel uneasy and that’s Detroit’s goaltending. Head coach Derek Lalonde has been riding Ville Husso hard lately, and while I do think he will most likely go back to him again on Thursday, there’s always a chance that he turns around and gives Alex Nedeljkovic the nod. Nedeljkovic hasn’t played November 30th, while Husso has started three games in five days. I need Ville Husso to be in the net to be able to justify betting on the Red Wings at the current odds. The Panthers have a lot of holes, and their goaltending is bad, but they’re still a dangerous team that can score in bunches.

Ottawa Senators (+170) at Dallas Stars (-190)

Goaltender Cam Talbot had a high save percentage in Minnesota, but the Senators are a bad defensive team, so it hasn’t transferred over, and it probably won’t. The Senators rank 28th in shot attempts against and 25th in expected goals against per 60 minutes. Talbot had saved the team about five goals above expected in his first 12 games, but he gave it all back on Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Kings when he was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots. There’s a chance that head coach D.J. Smith will turn to backup goaltender Anton Forsberg, who has been good this season and outside of the 25 minutes and change that he played on Tuesday in relief, he’s only started one game in the last three weeks.

Dallas has an Eastern Conference road trip coming up that will see them play games in Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington, Carolina and Columbus. First, though, they’ll play the Senators and Red Wings, and I think there’s a good chance backup goaltender Scott Wedgewood will start one of the two games. Starting goaltender Jake Oettinger has had two days off, though, and although the team is coming off a shutout loss to the Maple Leafs on home ice, they’ve scored four or more goals in 13 out of their last 17 games. In other words, depending on which goaltender starts, the Stars could end up being a terrible matchup for the Senators.

Update: Jake Oettinger will start in goal for the Stars.

Los Angeles Kings (+150) at Toronto Maple Leafs (-170)

With just three losses in their last 12 games, the Maple Leafs have started to shut up some, but not all, of their doubters. The Kings, meanwhile, have only won four of their last 11 games. I’m not as high on either team as I was heading into the season, but I’m especially low on the Kings. They’re a decent team, but they don’t have good goaltending. I mean, their neck-and-neck with the Maple Leafs in terms of expected goals percentage, and they even have an edge in shot attempt percentage. The Maple Leafs have scored 60 percent of the goals over the last month, though, while the Kings have allowed just as many as they have given up. Jonathan Quick is rested heading into this game, and the Maple Leafs have not announced a starter, but I’m expecting to see goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who hasn’t played since November 30th, return to action soon.

Update: Ilya Samsonov will start in goal for the Maple Leafs.

Nashville Predators (+175) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-200)

The Predators fell to the Lightning by a score of 3-2 in overtime back on November 19th. It’s one of only two losses that the Predators have suffered in their last nine games. The Lightning have also been hot, though, winning eight of their last 11 games, and unlike the Predators, their underlying metrics suggest that they’re a good hockey team. The Lightning grade out as a top-10 team by expected goals and they’ve really been clicking lately. Only three teams have generated more expected goals per 60 minutes over the last 10 games, and only three teams have allowed fewer shots. Nashville’s best hope is that Juuse Saros consistency holds up. My NHL betting model sees the Lightning as a -190 favorite that will win the game about 65.5 percent of the time.

Update: Backup goaltender Brian Elliott will start for the Tampa Bay Lightning and that's obviously had an impact on the game line. Elliott has posted an .886 save percentage this season but somehow the Lightning have managed to go 5-1 with him in goal. A lot of closing line value has been torched in those games.

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