NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 12/29/22

The key holidays fell on the weekend this year, which means this is -- oddly -- the last NHL betting guide of the year with three days left in 2022.

It's been a great week and a great year, so let's close strong on Thursday.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres

Sabres ML (-164) - 3 Stars

I'm not afraid of the juice here because Buffalo is in a great spot to win.

Detroit emerged from the nine-goal circus in Pittsburgh last night with the victory, but it'll likely be at the sacrifice of today. Again, I'm not keen on "tired legs" narratives, but there is something to be said for having to turn to a backup goalie.

Ville Husso is solid, posting 5.28 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) for the Wings this year. However, he was used yesterday, which means Detroit will turn to Alex Nedeljkovic (-10.21 GSAx). That hasn't been a good thing so far.

Craig Anderson (6.46 GSAx) is a huge advantage in goal relative to Nedeljkovic, and Detroit (50.1% expected-goals-for rate) and Buffalo (49.8%) are pretty even teams in a vacuum. This is no vacuum, though, with Buffalo on a rest advantage at home.

Our model sees the Sabres as 72.2% likely to win against these 62.1% implied odds. Lay the juice.

Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues

Over 6.0 (-118) - 3 Stars

You guessed it -- our under-laden model all year ends with a pair of overs to round out 2022. This one is the stronger recommendation.

The Blues are hosting the Blackhawks in a game that should feature scoring. St. Louis is allowing the most expected goals (xGA) per 60 minutes (3.32), and Chicago (3.28) isn't far behind. Plus, Jordan Binnington (-0.92 GSAx) and Petr Mrazek (-11.43 GSAx) aren't exactly standing on their head behind these leaky defenses.

Of course, the tradeoff with these two bottomfeeders is they're not good offensively, either. Chicago is second-to-last in expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 (2.47), and the Blues are also a bottom-10 squad (2.83).

Still, this low total is a small hill to climb -- especially with overtime or multiple empty-net goals a possibility. Our model sees the over hitting 68.8% of the time, so even factoring in a potential push, it's a three-star bet at these 54.1% implied odds.

Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche

Over 6.0 (-106) - 2 Stars

A low Avalanche total cashed for us on Tuesday. Why not today?

As mentioned then, I'm not sure the market has adjusted to Colorado's returning injuries. They scored three and ceded six on Tuesday, and I think that's a bit more in line with what to expect from them moving forward.

After all, they were 10th in xGF per 60 minutes last year. Plus, Alexandar Georgiev is a goaltender I want to sell moving forward. His 6.83 GSAx this season is significantly better than the -5.30 GSAx he posted last year in New York.

Los Angeles is a great team to face when expecting a surge in offensive regression. They're 11th in Corsi For (total shot attempts) generated, and their goaltender, Jonathan Quick, has been awful (-8.84 GSAx).

Our model expects at least six goals 61.9% of the time against these 51.5% implied odds. That also accounts for a push but still makes for a quality wager.