Hockey season is upon us, and we’ve got a great betting opportunity on Monday with 10 NHL games scheduled. The season is still very young, so we don’t have many trends to compare, but with teams playing in their home arenas rather than in a bubble this year, it’s essential to keep a close eye on how it benefits home teams.
So far, home teams are a fantastic 22-10 against the spread (home favorites are 12-6; home underdogs are 10-4). On the Moneyline, home favorites are 13-4-0-1 straight up, while home underdogs are 7-4-2-1 straight up.
With those trends in mind, I’ve identified two home lines I think are soft, picking just one road team to win today. Because hockey typically has better lines on the Moneyline than the spread, two of the three are Moneyline picks. The lone pick against the spread is one for the bold!
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Buffalo Sabres @ Philadelphia Flyers (-165)
The Pick: Flyers (-165)
I’m a sucker for taking the goalie advantage. Flyers goalie Carter Hart has opened the season 2-0, saving 92.5% of shots. While the Flyers need to start creating more scoring opportunities on offense, their defense and Hart is a central bright spot. In two games against Buffalo last season, he saved 54-of-56 shots and looks to carry that momentum into tonight. The Flyers’ offense should provide relief. Philadelphia ended a two-game series with Pittsburgh last week with a solid +6-goal differential. They’re averaging a league-leading 5.5 goals per game so far.
On the other hand, Buffalo still has a big question mark at goalie. For now, it looks like they’ll lean on Linus Ullmark. While I’m optimistic he’ll entrench himself as their lead goaltender, he went 6-9-2 on the road last season. The Sabres’ offense hasn’t helped him much so far, either. They’ve only converted 1-of-8 power play opportunities and average just 28 shots per game. That ranks in the bottom half of the league.
With Hart in net for Philadelphia, take the Flyers at -165.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Nashville Predators (+100)
The Pick: Hurricanes (-120)
I’m shocked the oddsmakers are giving the Carolina Hurricanes this much value, even on the road. They may be coming off a 4-2 loss to the lowly Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, but this screams overreaction. The Hurricanes will remain among the NHL’s elites this season. Analytics guys love them, opponents fear them, and at -120, you should take them.
The Hurricanes’ bread and butter remain their offensive output — an opposing goalie’s nightmare. While the Preds will have the unbelievably talented Juuse Saros in the net, I always prefer a team that’s a sure bet to create havoc in the opponent’s zone. The Hurricanes are averaging 37 shots on goal this season, good for second-most in the NHL.
Saros heroically made 71 saves on 74 shots against Columbus last week. Eventually, something will give, and unless Nashville makes a multitude of changes tonight, I’ll take a potent Carolina offense to pull through. Take the Hurricanes.
Arizona Coyotes @ Vegas Golden Knights (-210)
The Pick: Golden Knights -1.5 (+140)
Smart hockey fans are probably upset at my lack of respect for the Coyotes, but the Golden Knights are still in a completely different tier. You can pretty safely bet Vegas nightly and expect to come out ahead. In my opinion, they have the best goalie duo in the entire NHL with Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury manning the crease every night. The Knights also have a formidable offense that scores a ton of goals.
The rejuvenated Phil Kessel now leads the Coyotes offense, but we can’t forget they were in the bottom half of the league in scoring last season. Arizona has allowed an average of 34 shots on goal so far this season, so I see value in the Vegas puck line who will have plenty of opportunities to score tonight.
If you don’t want to tail this pick, I understand as it’s a large number. Consider throwing Vegas (-210) in a parlay instead. At relatively respectable odds, you could do a lot worse. For the bold, take the Knights -1.5.
Here’s to another fun day of betting! Best of luck if tailing.