NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 2/15/23
The Lightning and Avalanche met last night in Denver for a Stanley Cup Finals rematch, but the turbulent NHL schedule has put them right back in action on Wednesday.
How should we bet on their contests with goaltending oddities involved?
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.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Arizona Coyotes
Coyotes +1.5 (-124) - 2 Stars
If there are two unlucky "poor" teams in the NHL, we discussed Columbus in a game last week, and Arizona might be the other.
Since January 1st, the Coyotes' actual goals-for percentage (GF%) of 40.6% is dreadful. It's the second worst in the NHL ahead of the aforementioned Blue Jackets. However, their expected goals-for rate (44.5 xGF%) is just the fifth-worst in this span and what I'd call "normal bad".
Perhaps a date with the Bolts' backup netminder can change things. At 2.21 goals saved above expectation (GSAx), Brian Elliott has been far more beatable than Andrei Vasilevskiy (21.23 GSAx; sixth-best in the NHL). Arizona will counter with the capable Karel Vejmelka (13.34 GSAx).
Plus, Tampa hasn't been a juggernaut lately. Since that same January 1st cutoff, the Lightning are just 12th in xGF% (51.3%).
Our model expects the Coyotes to cover a one-goal margin 62.9% of the time versus these 55.4% implied odds. This is also a number that should improve throughout the day with not many rushing to back the Yotes.
Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild
Avalanche ML (+120) - 2 Stars
On tired legs, I agree with the model that the Avalanche bounce back.
The Avs and Wild are two similar hockey clubs. Since January 1st, the teams are 18th and 20th, respectively, in xGF%. The difference between them has been health. Minnesota's had a bulk of its top contributors healthy all season, and Colorado has battled injuries they won't quite be free of in this one. Cale Makar is still out with a head injury.
Still, a notable injury has swung this game away from the home favorite. Avs backup netminder Pavel Francouz was hurt late last week, so they'll task Alexandar Georgiev to man both ends of the back-to-back. Though there's a tiny advantage in resting them historically, the performance was similar when studied. Most teams just do it -- obviously -- to keep their guys fresh.
Georgiev (10.39 GSAx) with no rest is also quite a bit better than Minnesota's Marc-Andre Fleury (-5.39 GSAx) on solid rest.
With their top netminder working overtime, Colorado has been awarded a 53.6% chance to win by our model against 45.5% implied odds. This is numberFire's best wager of the day.