NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 1/19/23
Thankfully, this slate has a whopping 13 games, so where are the best spots to rebound 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.
Canadiens +1.5 (-106) - 4 Stars
Canadiens ML (+210) - 2 Stars
The Panthers have underperformed from the Stanley Cup-level expectations, ranking just ninth in expected-goals-for rate (52.7% xGF) this season and posting a 21-20-5 record. The public still appears to be in on the Ice Cats given 59% of bets are still in favor of their pricy puckline.
Yet, in that same split, 85% of the money is backing the Canadiens at home with the one-goal cushion. They've outperformed expectations for one reason -- and it isn't their 40.8% xGF rate (third-worst in the league). It's upstart netminder Sam Montembeault, who has gone from a targetable backup to a guy ninth in the entire league in goals saved above expectation (11.85 GSAx).
Yes, that means Montreal has the goaltending edge with Sergei Bobrovsky (-3.06 GSAx) struggling for yet another year on his mammoth deal.
This is our model's best bet of the day. It expects Montreal to cover the one-goal spread 66.3% of the time against these 50.6% implied odds. Plus, it expects them to win outright 41.9% of the time against these 33.3% implied odds. My main play will be the puckline, but the outright is worth a sprinkle, too.
Under 6.5 (-120) - 2 Stars
Star power is one thing, but data is another. Despite Kyle Connor and Auston Matthews lurking, these two clubs are both incredible defensively, ranking in the bottom seven of goals allowed per 60 minutes this year. They do it in different fashions, though.
Winnipeg's expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes (3.10) is midpack, but they lean heavily on former Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck, who is fifth in the NHL in GSAx (21.28). The Leafs get it done with their skating, ceding the third-fewest xGA per 60 (2.80). Matt Murray (3.24 GSAx) has performed modestly, too.
Despite getting just 48% of bets, 63% of the handle is on the under here. I'd grab this line at 6.5 before it moves down. Our model believes this game has fewer than six goals 61.9% of the time versus these 54.5% implied odds.
Coyotes +1.5 (-148) - 2 Stars
In a horrific season, the Coyotes have been a decent bet in this fashion.
They're 23-21 against the spread (ATS), and they're built like a club that'll pull maddening, frustrating upsets. Despite being comfortably last in xGF% (39.8%), their goaltender Karel Vejmelka can put forward gems to topple superior clubs. Vejmelka is 15th in the NHL in GSAx (8.07).
It's also worth noting the visiting Capitals have actually underperformed this year, too. They're just 15th in xGF% (51.2%), which is a far cry from the days of Alex Ovechkin's prime. They've battled key injuries all year, including star blue-liner John Carlson still out after the puck-meets-face incident over a month ago.
In Arizona's odd home environment, this is a modest puckline to back the bottom feeders against an average club. Our model expects the Yotes to cover 64.6% of the time against these elevated 59.6% implied odds, so there is still value despite the juice.
As with most Arizona lines, this one should improve throughout the day as the public fades them.