NHL

NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 2/4/21

We are using Thursday night as an excuse to roll into a weekend full of hockey. There are 25 games scheduled before the Super Bowl on Sunday, and that's taking into consideration the seven postponements due to covid-19.

Here are a few wagers to consider from tonight's NHL board at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames

Jets moneyline (+108): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Jets +1.5 (-230): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (+100): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Thursday night's game will be the third meeting between the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames in four nights. These teams split the first two, with the Flames winning the first game in overtime before the Jets won the second night of the back-to-back.

The Flames have been on a bit of a slide offensively. In terms of shooting percentage, they are in the middle of the pack this season at 9.3%, but during their current five-game road trip, that has dipped to 7.7%. Production has been less efficient as well, as the Flames are below season-averages in three of those four games.

One thing that has been missing from Jets' games early this season is a dominant Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck has allowed three or more goals in five of seven and four straight. He's posted a 90.7% save percentage through seven games, which is below his career average of 91.7%. That has dipped even further over the last four games, as he's stopping only 88.5% of shots. Hellebuyck's numbers won't stay deflated, and as he brings his save percentage back up to average, more wins should follow for the Jets.

Scheduling certainly favors the Jets in this one. This will be the Flames fifth road game in eight nights. Although travel isn't as demanding as in previous years, that is still a lot of games away from home in a short amount of time. The Jets, on the other hand, have been at home since January 22.

There are three plays in this game, as per our projections. Expect the Jets to use home ice to their advantage as they take on a well-traveled Flames team. The betting market at FanDuel Sportsbook has them listed as underdogs, which is in contradiction to our model, which gives them a 54.1% chance of winning. That means taking the Jets on the moneyline is a 2-star play, while the puckline is a 3-star play. The Flames' offensive woes and progression from Hellebuyck also suggest that the game will be of the low-scoring variety. That makes the under 5.5 a 1-star play.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Blackhawks moneyline (+158): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Blackhawks +1.5 (-172): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.5 (-130): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping that they have turned the corner offensively. The Hawks were lackluster through their first seven games, averaging 23.9 scoring chances and 7.7 high-danger chances. Those numbers have jumped to 27.8 and 11.8, respectively, over their last four games. Output hasn't jumped to match production, but if they continue with increased offensive pressure, it won't be long before output starts to match.

Petr Mrazek got the Carolina Hurricanes off to a hot start by collecting shutouts in two of his first three starts. However, he was injured in his fourth game and required surgery to repair his thumb injury, meaning he's out indefinitely. That means that James Reimer will have the starter's crease for the foreseeable future. Reimer has been a complementary goalie for the last few seasons and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to increased usage, particularly in a condensed schedule.

Carolina has been doing him no favors recently with their defensive play. They are allowing 28.2 scoring chances and 13.8 high-danger chances per game over their last four. They've also had trouble finding the back of the net, as evidenced by their 8.3% shooting percentage, which ranks 24th in the league.

Although our model has the Canes as slight favorites, the price in backing them in the betting market is far steeper than what should be expected. That leaves an advantage in taking the home side on the moneyline and puckline, which are rated as 2- and 3-star plays, respectively. Neither team has been lighting the lamp excessively, making under 6.5 (-130) an actionable play -- we rate it as a 2-star bet.