We had a decent start to the post-Christmas part of the NHL schedule, winning our Best Bet last night on the Wild Team Total Over 2.5 (needed overtime in that one) and going 5-4 overall including leans.
The suggestion of betting the Islanders/Capitals Over 6 instead of 5.5 at +175 also hit (we’ll only count the Over 5.5 lean for tracking purposes). We’ve noticed that when games go Over 5.5, they often go Over 6 as well, which makes sense because there are so many 1-goal games in the NHL these days. We plan to write an article on that soon to explore those stats a bit more.
The Blue Jackets continued to roll, winning their 13th straight game last night against Boston, but we’re starting to see a few cracks in Columbus’ game lately. They let an early 3-0 lead evaporate and they’ve now been outshot by 48 shots in their last 4 games.
On one hand, we’ve been kicking ourselves a bit for not continuing to ride the Blue Jackets money train over the past week after cashing in on them a lot earlier this month. But on the other, they’ve been pretty lucky in 3 of their last 4 victories, so maybe it was right to jump off after all.
There was a deluge of goals in the opening period of the early games last night, which made us think defensive intensity might have been affected by the 3-day break for Christmas. But we looked back over the past several years and more games actually went Under than Over in the first day after the Christmas break. And things settled down last night in the later games, with only one of the last 5 games featuring more than 5 goals.
Five games in the NHL tonight, and 9 of the 10 teams haven’t played since last Friday or even Thursday. It’ll be interesting to see if Pittsburgh has an early advantage tonight after playing last night, or whether the Hurricanes will benefit from having the fresher legs.
Good luck tonight!
Odds below are at the time we made the pick. Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
The young Leafs struggled on the road for the first couple months of the season, but they showed signs of turning that around going into the Christmas break. Toronto is 3-0-1 in its last 4 road games and racked up 10 goals in victories in Colorado and Arizona before the 3-day shutdown. The offence looks to have awoken after scoring 2 goals or less in 8 of its previous 9 games, and we’ll look for that confidence to carry over into tonight’s game in Florida.
The Panthers have been playing a higher-scoring style of game than we’ve been used to from Florida teams in the past. They’ve gone Over in 7 of their last 10 games (pushing once and going Under twice), and they’ve scored 3+ goals in 4 of their last 5 outings. As much as they’re producing offence, however, they’re also allowing it to the opposition, giving up 3+ goals in 5 of 6 games and 8 of their last 10.
Toronto already exceeded this team total in its two prior meetings with the Panthers, beating Florida 6-1 November 17 and 3-2 October 27. Both those games were in Toronto, but the recent scoring trends suggest the Leafs can do it again tonight in Sunrise.
Bet this game at Pinnacle – The best NHL odds online!
Reasons to bet Carolina: The Hurricanes went into the Christmas break on a 3-game winning streak and with points in 8 of their last 9 games (6-1-2).
Reasons to bet Pittsburgh: The Penguins are 15-2-2 at home and got a chance to shake their Christmas rust off last night with a game in New Jersey. Carolina is playing its first game since Friday and has lost 9 of 12 in Pittsburgh.
Other things to know:
- Carolina is 5-8-6 on the road
- The Over is 23-9 in Pittsburgh’s games this year
- Carolina has scored 3+ goals in 7 of its last 8 games
- Carolina has allowed 4 goals in its last 3 games
- 3 of Carolina’s last 4 games went to OT
- Pittsburgh has scored 9 goals in its last 2 games and 17 in its last 4
- Pittsburgh has allowed 2 goals or less in 5 of its last 6
- Pittsburgh is averaging 3.89 goals per game at home
Probable goalies: Ward (confirmed), Murray
Reasons to bet Montreal: The Canadiens have won 5 straight trips to Tampa. The Lightning has lost 6 of its last 9 overall.
Reasons to bet Tampa: The Lightning is 9-5-1 at home and could be getting several injured regulars back in its lineup, including leading scorer Nikita Kucherov. Montreal is just 6-6-2 on the road.
Other things to know:
- Montreal beat Tampa 3-1 Oct. 27 in Montreal
- Montreal has scored 2 goals or less in 5 of its last 6 games
- Montreal has allowed 6 goals in its last 2 games after allowing 10 regulation time goals in its previous 6
- Tampa has scored 3+ goals in 4 of its last 7
- Tampa has allowed 3+ goals in 6 of its last 8
- The Over is 5-2-2 in the last 9 meetings in Tampa
Probable goalies: Price (confirmed), Vasilevskiy (confirmed)
Reasons to bet Philadelphia: The Flyers swept the season series last year and have won 4 of their last 6 meetings with St. Louis. The Blues have lost 3 of their last 4 and 5 of 7.
Reasons to bet St. Louis: The Blues are back home, where they are 13-2-4 on the year. Philadelphia has cooled off a bit after its 10-game winning streak, losing 3 of its last 4.
Other things to know:
- Philadelphia is 8-7-1 on the road
- Philadelphia has scored 4 regulation time goals in its last 4 games
- Philadelphia has allowed 3+ goals in 3 of its last 5 games
- St. Louis has scored 2 regulation time goals or less in 3 straight games and 5 of 9
- St. Louis has allowed 3+ goals in 3 of its last 4 and 5 of 7
- The Over is 18-13 in Philadelphia’s games this year
- The Over is 5-1-2 in St. Louis’ last 8 home games
Probable goalies: Mason (confirmed), Hutton (confirmed)
Reasons to bet Los Angeles: The Kings are playing their 8th straight road game, but got a chance to go home for a few days because of the Christmas break. Vancouver’s lost 3 of 4 and 6 of 8.
Reasons to bet Vancouver: The Canucks are 10-6-2 on home ice this season. Los Angeles has scored 9 goals in its last 5 games.
Other things to know:
- Los Angeles beat Vancouver 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 22 in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles is 7-9-3 on the road
- The Under is 17-11 in Los Angeles’ games this year
- The Over is 16-12 in Vancouver’s games this year
- Los Angeles has gone Under in 5 straight games
- Los Angeles has allowed 6 regulation time goals in its last 6 games
- Vancouver has scored 1 goal in each of its last 2 games after scoring 17 in its previous 4
- Vancouver has allowed 3+ goals in 6 of its last 8 games
Probable goalies: Budaj, Miller (confirmed)
Sign up below to get our daily NHL tips sent to your email the minute we post. That way, you will always get the best odds on each game…