NHL Betting Guide: Friday 1/15/21

Steven Stamkos paced the Tampa Bay Lightning with three points in their season opener. Will Tampa keep the offensive momentum going against the Blackhawks?

The excitement that is the 2021 NHL continued last night. We saw four games need overtime or a shootout, and the high scoring trend continued with 6 of the 10 games going over the total. There are five games to swoon over tonight, and the numberFire projections have a few wagers worth considering.

Here's what we're looking at!

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Lightning moneyline (-300): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

We can borrow a line from Dennis Green about the Chicago Blackhawks: they are who we thought they were. In a word, bad.

In their first game of the season, the Hawks managed just two high-danger chances across all strengths. Shots and scoring chances were also on the low-end of the spectrum at 23 apiece. Obviously, the Tampa Bay Lightning are among the elite teams in the NHL, but if the Hawks aren’t able to be generate a little more offense, this is going to be a long season for them.

Considering their offensive corps, there’s probably not much hope on the horizon. Jonathan Toews has been placed on the LTIR along with Kirby Dach, which means they will be out for at least 10 games and 24 days. That leaves the team with 13 forwards who have a combined 2,261 career points. If we remove Patrick Kane's 1,022, that means the remaining 12 forwards have a combined 1,241 career points. Not only will goals be hard to come by, but production in general will be for the Blackhawks this season.

As expected, the Lightning picked up exactly where they left off last season. They controlled possession, offensive/defensive play, and, consequently, relative metrics against an inferior Hawks team. The top line of Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, and Ondrej Palat combined for six points, and the Bolts had nine players record at least a point in the victory.

There’s no reason that the onslaught doesn’t continue tonight. The Bolts moneyline (-300) is a one-star play.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Blues +1.5 (-210): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

Blues moneyline (+125): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The St. Louis Blues live and die with their defensive system, and if Wednesday night was a preview of what to expect this season, then they should thrive this year. In the first game of the season, the Blues limited the Colorado Avalanche to 11 scoring chances and 6 high-danger chances at five-on-five, winning 4-1. They were also efficient on offense, creating 22 scoring chances and 6 high-danger opportunities on 27 shots at five-on-five.

Colorado’s only goal came with the man-advantage, and, similar to their five-on-five metrics, the supporting powerplay metrics were also cause for concern. Colorado managed six shots and two high-danger chances on four powerplays. Philipp Grubauer had a bit of an off night on Wednesday, stopping only 87.5% of shots. Considering what we've seen from Grubauer over the years, it’s likely that he bounces back tonight.

Reconciling the defensive metrics from Wednesday with a better performance from Grubauer would suggest that the under 5.5 (+115) might be worth a look. But according to our algorithm, the biggest advantage lies in taking the Blues on the puckline, which we rate as a two-star play. There’s also an implied advantage in taking the Blues on the moneyline at +125. We rate it as a one-star play. Don't be surprised if this one gets sorted out in overtime or a shootout.