NHL Betting Guide: Friday 2/17/23
There are just five games on Friday's schedule, but two of the model's strongest bets of the week have emerged from them.
Where should we close the week strong?
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.
New York Rangers at Edmonton Oilers
Under 7.0 (-140) - 4 Stars
What happens when two top-12 offenses meet two top-10 defenses? Not this total, according to our model.
Since January 1st, the Oilers have been the best team in hockey. They've posted the second-most expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 minutes themselves (3.69), and they've also amassed the second-fewest expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 (2.70) in this same time.
The visiting Rangers boast the 12th-best rate of xGF per 60 minutes (3.28) in that same period, and they're also allowing the 10th-fewest expected goals per 60 (2.95). That should lead to a middle-of-the-road total on both sides, but the 6.5 or 7.0-goal one here is elevated.
This under is a pristine bet when you also factor in two of the best netminders in the sport. Igor Shesterkin is 12th in goals saved above expectation this year (12.95 GSAx), and Stuart Skinner (11.43) joins him inside the top 15.
Overall, our model forecasts this game to feature seven or fewer total goals a whopping 76.4% of the time. Even when factoring in a push against these 58.3% implied odds, this is one of its strongest recommendations all week.
It would also take the under on a 6.5-goal total at anything longer than -115 odds.
Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks
Ducks +1.5 (-110) - 3 Stars
At the very least, we're getting the best possible price on the Anaheim Ducks today when the puck drops.
Anaheim has given up at least six goals in their past three losses, and they've failed to cover any of them. No one is rushing to bet on a team with the second-worst goals-for rate since January 1st (40.5%). Yet, when looking at their expected-goals-for rate (42.0 xGF%), they've actually been a little unlucky with their ineptitude.
This line (and recommendation) is much more about the Kings than Anaheim turning a corner. L.A. has the 10th-worst xGF% in that same span (48.7%) yet is ceding an even-money puckline to anyone? That seems suspect.
For transparency, there is a bit of drama here solely thanks to Pheonix Copley. Copley has amassed 4.15 GSAx in 22 appearances, which has been a better output than John Gibson (-1.87 GSAx) even when factoring in the defenses in front of them as GSAx does.
Still, these two mediocre hockey clubs profile to play the tighter game Anaheim desperately needs. Against these 52.5% implied odds, our model believes the Ducks cover the spread 62.1% of the time.