NHL Betting Guide: Friday 1/27/23
Unders have been hot for the bulk of the week, and on Friday's slate, we've got three more to round it out.
Where are they specifically?
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.
Vegas Golden Knights at New York Rangers
Under 6.0 (-118) - 2 Stars
These two defensive-minded hockey clubs should produce a tight one in New York tonight.
Vegas allows the 3rd-fewest expected goals (xGA) per 60 minutes in the NHL (2.79), and the Rangers aren't too far behind with the 10th-fewest themselves (2.90).
Surprisingly, after hot starts, both of these teams have cooled off on offense, too. The Golden Knights now sit a mediocre 18th in expected goals (xGF) per 60 minutes (3.10), and despite a star-studded lineup, New York is just 14th in that same category (3.25).
Solid defenses and fledgling offenses check two boxes for an under, but how about in goal? Well, we're halfway there. Igor Shesterkin, the reigning Vezina winner, is ninth in the NHL again in goals saved above expectation (15.85 GSAx). On the Knights' side, Logan Thompson (-2.96 GSAx) hasn't been world-class, but with a .914 save rate, he might just be penalized a bit in the advanced metrics for Vegas' stellar defense.
Overall, our model sees six or fewer goals in this one 64.6% of the time. Even factoring in a potential push, this is a two-star (i.e. two-unit) recommendation against the 54.5% implied odds.
Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders
Under 6.0 (-118) - 2 Stars
Here's another matchup of solid defensive teams.
The visiting Red Wings have been a decent bet for an under all year. They've posted the eighth-fewest xGA per 60 minutes (2.88), and 26 of their 47 decided totals have landed under the projected total.
It's been a bit offputting to see Ville Husso (-1.86 GSAx) slide from a top-10 season to a negative GSAx, but if anyone can help turn it around, it's a pedestrian Islanders offense that's posted the 13th-fewest xGF per 60 minutes (3.04) this year.
Of course, we know why the Isles work for an under, too. The gold standard is in Long Island tonight. That's New York's Ilya Sorokin, who leads the NHL in GSAx (31.31) by over four goals. He's on any Vezina Trophy shortlist at present.
Sorokin's turned a team allowing the 5th-most expected goals into a team allowing the 10th-fewest actual goals.
As a result, our model here sees six or fewer tallies in this one 66.7% of the time. Even against these 54.1% implied odds, this is the model's best bet of the day.
New Jersey Devils at Dallas Stars
Under 6.0 (-108) - 2 Stars
If anyone ever tries to tell you that goaltending is overrated when handicapping the NHL, show them last night's Devils box score.
New Jersey and Nashville's under was our lone loser last night. It's because, instead of Vitek Vanecek (12.44 GSAx; 12th in the NHL), we got Mackenzie Blackwood (1.29 GSAx), who ended up ceding five goals to the Preds.
On tired legs, it won't get easier for the Devils today. They're taking on the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars in Big D, and that means a run-in with Jake Oettinger. Oettinger's nuclear playoff run has materialized into a Vezina Trophy candidacy, amassing the fifth-most GSAx (23.11) in the league.
These two contenders in their respective conferences are also above-average clubs in xGA per 60 minutes. New Jersey is allowing the 13th-fewest, and Dallas is allowing the 14th-fewest.
With two capable netminders -- and largely without the possibility of a Vanecek disappearing act -- we can turn back to the under in this one. Our model expects six or fewer tallies in this one 63.3% of the time. These are longer implied odds (52.3%) than our previous bets, so all share nearly the same value.