NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 12/30/21

We've got back-to-back full slates of NHL action and have another seven-game slate on deck for Thursday night. Overs have hit in six of nine games since the NHL resumed play, with four of those games needing overtime or a shootout. Keep an eye on those trends, as six of the seven matchups tonight feature teams on the second night of a back-to-back.

These are a few of the wagers from our daily projections!

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators

Blue Jackets +1.5 (-260): 3-Star Rating out of 5
Blue Jackets Moneyline (-104): 1-Star Rating out of 5

The Columbus Blue Jackets resume play on Thursday night against the Nashville Predators, who will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The betting market favors the Preds tonight, but based on our algorithm, there's an advantage in backing the Jackets.

The Predators' offense has been underwhelming over their past couple of outings, putting up a combined 35 scoring chances at five-on-five and getting out-chanced in both games. Those decreased offensive metrics are reflected in their game scores on the road this season, with the Preds averaging 22.4 scoring chances per game as the visitors this season. Nashville has been even worse over their recent stretch, putting up 22 or fewer scoring chances in six of their past nine.

From an analytics perspective, the Jackets haven't looked good this season, but they have shown signs of improvement recently. Columbus has posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in two of their past four outings, relying on improved offensive performances to outplay their opponents. The Jackets have attempted 10 or more high-danger chances at five-on-five in three of their past five outings, getting out-chanced in just one of those games.

Four of the Jackets' past five games have been decided by one goal, and they are in a good position to continue their strong performances as they host the Preds for their second game in as many nights.

The biggest advantage in tonight's contest is backing the underdog home side on the puckline; however, there's also an advantage in backing them on the moneyline. We rate those plays as three- and one-star plays, respectively, per our projections.

New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres

Islanders Moneyline (-230): 2-Star Rating out of 5

The New York Islanders have underachieved relative to their advanced analytics this season, but they should get back on track over their coming games. That starts tonight when they host the Buffalo Sabres, who remain one of the worst teams in the league.

The Sabres have put forth the sixth-worst expected goals-for percentage so far this season, establishing a 46.6% rating this season. Buffalo is getting out-played on both ends of the ice, putting up some of the worst relative metrics in the NHL. At five-on-five, the Sabres rank in the bottom third of the league in relative possession, shots-for, scoring chances-for and high-danger chances-for categories. We're not expecting that to change against an Islanders team that is due for positive regression.

The Islanders actual goals-for percentage is nearly 5.0% off their expected values, as New York has the eighth-worst PDO at five-on-five this season. New York has posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in five of their past eight games, a span in which they have only three wins. We're expecting meaningful positive regression from the Islanders as their outcomes start to catch up with expected values.

Based on our projections, the Islanders are undervalued in the betting market, leaving an edge in backing them on the moneyline. Backing the Isles to win is a two-star play.