NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 3/23/22

The intensity should be ratcheted up a few notches over the coming weeks as teams jostle for essential points and position in the standings. Three of the four matchups on tonight's slate feature teams headed towards the postseason, but there are a few edges to be had in those games.

These are the wagers we're highlighting from our daily projections!

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New Jersey Devils

Under 7.0 (-110): 4-Star Rating Out of 5

The New Jersey Devils have no conceivable way of making the postseason, and it's just a matter of time before they are mathematically eliminated from contention. Conversely, the Toronto Maple Leafs are pushing up the standings as they battle for home-ice advantage in the playoffs. The moneyline price accurately reflects both teams' chances tonight, but there's a notable advantage on the total.

After a period of defensive zone lapses, the Leafs have gotten back to more structured play in their own end. Toronto has limited their opponents to 9 or fewer high-danger chances in five of their past six and 23 or fewer scoring opportunities in four of six. That's impacted goals-against, with Leafs goalies posting above-average save percentages in two of their past three -- after a six-game stretch in which they were stopping only 84.4% of shots.

The Devils come into tonight's contest on a four-game over streak, but we're anticipating some regression over their coming games. New Jersey is averaging 12.0 high-danger chances per game over their past seven, going north of 13 attempts in five of those contests. The Devils have a season average of 10.2 quality opportunities per game, and we're expecting their production metrics to tail off and their output to fall with it.

This is a steep total, and there's a significant edge in taking the under. Toronto is getting back to defense-first hockey, and the Devils' offense should regress over their coming games. Backing the under is rated as a four-star play, per our projections.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks

Avalanche Moneyline (-275): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Nobody is catching the Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division, but there's still a lot on the line for the Vancouver Canucks as they look to make up much-needed ground in the Western Conference playoff race. There are a few factors that indicate that the Canucks will be chasing the puck against the Avs tonight.

The Avs are one of the best possession teams in the NHL this season, posting the seventh-best Corsi rating. Moreover, they've been almost unbeatable at home this season, losing just three games in regulation and going 25-3-3. Their recent efforts match those elite rankings, as they've outplayed their opponents in three straight games, out-scoring their opponents 11-5 over that span.

Vancouver is on the other side of that coin, dropping three straight decisions and losing to some questionable teams along the way.

The Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres were both victorious over the Canucks during their three-game slide, and their advanced metrics illustrate how deeply-rooted their issues are. The Canucks have been outplayed at five-on-five in six straight games, posting a cumulative 42.2% expected goals-for rating.

The Canucks will have to turn their efforts around before the wins start to follow. Based on our projections, that's not going to come against an Avs team that doesn't miss out on points at home. Backing Colorado to win is rated as a one-star play.