NHL Betting Guide: Friday 4/2/21

It's Friday night in the NHL, which means we're kicking off a weekend full of hockey. There are day games scheduled all day Saturday and Sunday, so if you play your cards right, you can get a seemingly endless amount of hockey this weekend.

Here are the plays from our daily projections.

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks

Kings moneyline (-130): 4-Star Rating Out of 5

It's the first night of a back-to-back between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. The Kings are coming off a momentum-building win against the Vegas Golden Knights, and there's reason to believe that continues against the Sharks.

Los Angeles is improving their play at five-on-five. The Kings have posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in two of their last three. Their proficiency relates to their offensive attack, as LA has managed 40 high-danger attempts at five-on-five over their last three games; consequently, all seven of their goals during that span have come from high-danger areas.

The Sharks struggle with defensive structure in their own end as the visitors. Opponents are averaging 12.8 high-danger chances over the Sharks' last four road games and have allowed nine high-danger goals against.

It's hard to win games when your defense is letting you down. It's even harder when your offense isn't picking things up. San Jose has just seven goals over that four-game road sample and a cumulative -9 goal differential over that span.

Keep in mind, the Kings have won three of their last four home games whereas the Sharks have lost four straight on the road.

Based on our analysis, the advantage lies in backing the Kings tonight. That is reflected in our projections, which give the Kings a 71.7% chance of winning. That's a substantive edge and comes out to a line of -251. This line is only -130. We rate LA on the moneyline as a four-star play.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Blues +1.5 (-122): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Blues moneyline (+198): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 5.5 (-130): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The St. Louis Blues have put forth some pretty impressive efforts over their last few games. They'll give the Colorado Avalanche more than they can handle tonight as the Blues look to increase their lead over the Arizona Coyotes for fourth place in West.

The Blues have put up expected goals-for percentages of 73.7%, 41.6%, and 62.4% over their last three games. They are composed on the backend, limiting opponents to an average of 17.0 scoring chances and 7.0 high-danger chances over that span. Defensive structure was the strength that helped them capture the Stanley Cup in 2019. They'll need to get back to that brand of hockey if they want to get past the Avs or Golden Knights atop the division.

St. Louis may not be in a position to catch the Avs, but Colorado's PDO has them poised for negative regression. Colorado has built up a 1.056 PDO over their last 11 games, with their season-long average cresting above the hypothetical average and sitting at 1.013. The Avalanche are on an unsustainable path and should start to work their way back down a bit.

Friday night is the first night of a back-to-back for these teams, and goaltending usage will go a long way toward determining who is successful. The Blues have elected to go with primary goalie Jordan Binnington, while the Avs will counter with Jonas Johansson. The strategy may fail the Blues tomorrow, but tonight, they hold a big advantage between the pipes. In his lone start for Colorado, Johansson allowed four goals on 32 shots.

Based on our projections, this is a good spot to back the Blues. St. Louis is leading with their primary goalie and has been playing solid defensive hockey. There is an edge backing them on the moneyline, but the biggest advantage comes backing them on the puckline, which we rate as a four-star play. Taking St. Louis to win and the game to go over are both rated as two-star bets.