NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 2/1/23

We really couldn't have asked for a better slate given the circumstances.

With most teams on a bye week and the All-Star break starting tomorrow, there are only two games today. However, we get a tremendous chance to support a couple of rested home underdogs.

Why are we backing the 'dogs on Wednesday?

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.

Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres

Sabres +1.5 (-200) - 2 Stars

We just saw (and wagered on) Carolina yesterday. That under was smashed by a rare off night for the Canes' Frederik Andersen, who ceded four goals to the mediocre Kings offense.

However, in terms of goals saved above expectation (GSAx), the Canes were definitely in better shape with Freddy (-0.34 GSAx) than tonight's starter, Antti Raanta (-2.29 GSAx). Plus, their legs are a bit tired after the thrilling overtime comeback.

On the other side, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been a surprise contributor for the Sabres thus far, posting 0.30 GSAx since getting called up from the AHL in emergency conditions.

With a rest and goaltending advantage, Buffalo is a dangerous team to make a home 'dog. Not only do the Sabres lead the league in goals scored per 60 minutes (3.72), it's mostly backed up by sitting 11th in expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 (3.28).

Our model thinks Buffalo covers a one-goal margin 70.8% of the time here versus these 66.7% implied odds, but I'll sprinkle the moneyline, too.

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs ML (+106) - 2 Stars

At least we'll head into the break with a gem.

Boston and Toronto could be an Eastern Conference Finals preview. Some hockey fans just laughed at that notion with the Leafs being the Dallas Cowboys of the NHL, but on paper, they are that caliber of team.

You could also make an argument that, when setting luck aside, Toronto might be better. If you don't believe me, here are the ranks of the two teams in xGF per 60 minutes, expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes, and their primary goaltender's rank in GSAx:

Rank of xGF
(per 60 minutes)
Rank of xGA
(per 60 minutes)
Rank of GSAx
(Primary Goaltender)

These are elite clubs in both facets, but as you can see, the Bruins have been a bit fortunate to sit 3rd in actual goals per 60 minutes (3.65) while sitting 12th in expected goals per 60 (3.28).

Plus, Toronto is at home, and they've been there since January 22nd. This is the Bruins' third game in five days, and they've been on the road since January 23rd. Yikes.

Our model believes the Leafs win this game 56.6% of the time against these 48.5% implied odds. I'll skip the puckline for an outright with this guy.