NHL

NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 4/8/21

What a delight! We have 11 games scheduled tonight in the NHL, with a major focus on Eastern time zone games. Eight of the 11 games start at 7 pm ET, with the other three starting before 9 pm ET. We're digging into a couple of the earlier games to find value on the betting board at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Here are the plays from our daily projections!

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers

Hurricanes moneyline (-156): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 5.5 (-140): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Carolina Hurricanes continue their eight-game homestand on Thursday when they take on the Florida Panthers for the second time in three nights. The Canes used four third-period goals to get past the Panthers last time out, and based on our numbers, we should expect more of the same tonight.

Wednesday night's encounter was the first time in five games that the Hurricanes were outplayed at five-on-five. Carolina ranks third in possession metrics and sixth in production metrics, culminating in the fifth-best expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five. The Canes' 1.005 PDO also implies that they've found a sustainable way of winning games.

The Panthers have had improved metrics at five-on-five over the last couple of games. However, that was the first game in Carolina this season in which the Panthers posted an expected goals-for percentage above 36.7%.

Regardless of the venue, the Canes have been effective at limiting the Panthers' offense. Through five games, the Panthers are averaging 19.0 scoring chances and 8.8 high-danger chances at five-on-five when playing Carolina.

Carolina projects to win 67.8% of the time tonight, per our projections. However, at their current price of -156, the Canes' implied win odds are 60.9%. On that basis, we rate the Canes moneyline as a two-star bet. There's also some value in taking the over, which we rate as a one-star play.

Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils

Sabres moneyline (+104): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Sabres +1.5 (-245): 5-Star Rating Out of 5

The Buffalo Sabres have put forward some pretty impressive efforts on home ice over their last six games. We're anticipating an impressive offensive effort to help them win three straight games for the first time all season.

Buffalo has 11 or more high-danger chances in four of their last six games, out-chancing opponents in all four. The Sabres have also posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in three of the six games, which is a pretty impressive feat for a team that is 9-23-6 on the season.

Linus Ullmark has been an invaluable part of the Sabres' success this season. Ullmark has been the goaltender of record in eight of the Sabres' nine wins this season and has above-average supporting metrics. Ullmark has 5.46 goals saved above average, as calculated by Hockey-Reference, and he's in the top half of the league in terms of save percentage. We've seen how bad the Sabres are without him.

The New Jersey Devils are electing to go with Aaron Dell on the first night of their back-to-back. Dell has appeared in two games this season -- both losses -- and has put up a 3.72 goals-against average while stopping only 87.7% of shots faced.

Dell's job is going to be made more difficult by the Devils' lackluster road metrics. New Jersey has allowed at least 11 high-danger chances in six of their last seven and 27 or more scoring opportunities in five of seven. On average, New Jersey's opponents are attempting 12.4 high-danger and 29.1 scoring chances over the Devils' last seven road games.

According to our projections, there are two substantive edges in tonight's Sabres-Devils contest. Buffalo has a distinctive home-ice advantage over the Devils, which is made even more substantial by the difference in each team's goaltender. It's on that basis that the Sabres moneyline and puckline wagers are rated as four- and five-star plays, respectively.