NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 4/20/21

We have another eight-game slate to look forward to tonight. It was a chalky Monday night in the league, with seven of the eight favorites winning. We're betting on that trend to reverse tonight with some underdog plays highlighted in today's betting guide.

Here are the plays from our daily projections.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks

Canucks +1.5 (-106): 5-Star Rating Out of 5
Canucks moneyline (+265): 4-Star Rating Out of 5

What better place to start than a game that features four- and five-star recommendations? The Vancouver Canucks return for their second game following their COVID-19 hiatus; the 'Nucks host the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time in three nights and will look to build off their 3-2 overtime victory versus Toronto on Sunday.

The Canucks came out a little rusty against the Leafs and rightfully so. They went 24 days between games after nearly all of their roster tested positive for the virus. The Canucks were due for progression at some point this season, and it started to come right before they had to shut things down. Overall, the Canucks have put up a PDO above 1.000 in six of their last eight games and remain slightly below average with a .994 PDO this season.

Vancouver now has five games in hand over the Montreal Canadiens and is only 10 points back of them for the final playoff spot. If Vancouver continues to progress, they can put some pressure on the Habs for the fourth spot in the North Division. The Canucks will be well aware of their position in the standings and will look to make a push towards the playoffs.

Toronto has cooled off over their recent sample. They have lost four in a row, suffering decreases in their shooting and save percentages. The Leafs have scored on 6.5% of their shots over their last four games and are stopping only 85.1% of shots. Their PDO has sunk to .917 over that span after running at a 1.049 clip in their five previous games. Overall, the Leafs remain slightly above average, with a 1.010 PDO on the season, which is above the Canucks' .994 mark.

Based on our projections, the Canucks are a near coin-flip in tonight's contest. Vancouver has a 49.3% chance of winning against the Maple Leafs but is priced as a +265 underdog, which carries an implied probability of 27.4%. That leaves substantial value in backing the Canucks to win (four-star play) and cover the +1.5 puckline (five-star play).

Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres

Sabres +1.5 (-110): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Sabres moneyline (+265): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Buffalo Sabres are another steep home underdog that presents value in the betting market. The Sabres and Boston Bruins kick off a three-game in four-night span on Tuesday, with all the games being played in Buffalo.

The Sabres have had some of their best efforts of the season over the last few games. Buffalo put up an expected goals-for percentage of 64.7% against the Washington Capitals three games ago and followed that up with an expected goals-for percentage of 56.6% against the Pittsburgh Penguins last time out. Overall, the Sabres have posted a cumulative expected goals-for percentage of 57.9% over their last three games.

We're seeing improved defensive efforts from the Sabres, especially on home ice. Buffalo has limited their last three opponents to nine or fewer high-danger chances and 27 or fewer scoring opportunities in three straight home games. Opponents are averaging 22.0 scoring and 8.0 high-danger chances over that span across all strengths. Continued defensive efforts will go a long way toward helping the Sabres secure a few more victories.

This has been a busy stretch for the Bruins. Tonight marks their 10th game over the last 16 nights, and they will have played 12 games in 19 nights after their three-game set with the Sabres. That's a lot of hockey for a team trying to keep their place in the competitive East.

The other factor working against the Bruins is that they have been less effective on the road this season. The B's have posted an expected goals-for percentage below 50.0% in four of their last seven games. They are averaging only 8.3 chances from high-danger areas and out-chanced only one of their opponents during that span.

There's an edge in this game, and it lies in backing the Sabres. Our model projects the Bruins to win just 63.4% of the time, but their price in the betting market carries a 76.7% implied win probability. That means that betting on the Sabres to win is a two-star play and betting them to cover +1.5 is a three-star wager.