NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 10/13/21

Darcy Kuemper leads the Avalanche into the 2021-22 season as Stanley Cup favorites. Can the Avs win their season-opener against the Blackhawks?

The 2021-22 NHL season is underway! The league kicked off with a modest two-game slate on Tuesday night, including the Seattle Kraken's inaugural game. Both games made their way over the total, but, based on our projections, we should see a reversal of that trend tonight on the five-game slate.

These are the best plays from our daily projections.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks +1.5 (-146): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.5 (-114): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Colorado Avalanche enter the season as the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup, and that begins tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Avs earned a reputation for their dynamic offense last season, but what can't be overlooked is their strong defensive presence. Colorado allowed the fewest scoring and high-danger chances at five-on-five last season, while also limiting opponents to the fewest shots by a significant margin. We're expecting a similar structure from the Avs this season, as they look to limit their opponents' chances to ease Darcy Kuemper's workload.

Chicago is six years removed from their most recent Stanley Cup victory, but they made several moves this offseason to extend their Toews-Kane dynasty. The Blackhawks shored up their defensive end by acquiring Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury. Both players will be fundamental to improving the Hawks standing in the goals against column, in which Chicago finished with the seventh-worst at five-on-five last season.

Our algorithm projects the Avs as 55.2% favorites over the Hawks, which roughly equals a -123 moneyline. At the current prices, that leaves an edge in backing Chicago tonight. The biggest advantage comes in backing them on the puckline, which we rate as a three-star play. That can be added to taking the under, which we rate as a two-star play as well.

Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

Capitals (-108): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Metropolitan division schedule opens up with a clash between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. The game is lined as a pick'em, but our projections indicate that the Caps hold the advantage tonight.

The Capitals finished last season with the 11th-ranked expected goals-for percentage on home ice but underachieved relative to their production metrics. In 28 home games, the Caps established an expected goals-for percentage of 52.7% but finished the year with an actual goals-for percentage of 51.4%. Washington posted positive relative possession metrics and out-chanced their opponents in scoring and high-danger opportunities. Home ice was an advantage for Washington, and there's room to grow this season.

The opposite was true for the Rangers as visitors last season. New York finished with negative relative metrics in Corsi, shots, and scoring chances, meaning they gave up more shots and scoring chances than they created while getting out-possessed at five-on-five. The Rangers were unable to keep pace with their opponents on the road last season, and it's unlikely they are successful against one of the better home teams in the league on opening night.

According to our projections, there is an advantage in backing the Capitals at a short price tonight. Washington has the advantage of last change and will use that to neutralize a one-dimensional Rangers attack.

The Caps moneyline is the play.