NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 3/9/23

Whether you best like betting NHL spreads, moneylines, or totals, the model has one of each for you today.

Which best bets stand out on the ice for 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.

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens +1.5 (-108) - 3 Stars

These two Original Six rivals could produce a tighter affair than expected in Montreal tonight.

There's no doubt New York is the better team. Since January 1st, the Rangers have posted 3.24 expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 minutes to Montreal's 2.70. On defense, the Rangers have tallied 3.01 expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 compared to 3.56 xGA per 60 for the Canadiens.

However, there is variance in goal tonight. Both teams here have top-25 goaltenders in terms of goals saved above expectation (GSAx). Igor Shesterkin (10.50 GSAx) and Jake Allen (7.69) have both been incredibly solid, which could lead to the lower-scoring game this needs to cash.

Our model isn't delusional; it's expecting the Rangers to win 62.6% of the time here. However, in this lower-paced environment, it expected Montreal to cover 62.0% of the time versus these 52.3% implied odds. This is numberFire's second-strongest wager of the day.

Edmonton Oilers at Boston Bruins

Under 6.5 (-102) - 2 Stars

With all of the individual stars in this game, it might be a surprise the model is taking the under.

Well, it did cash in Boston's 3-2 win in Edmonton last month. There's just no scoring on this elite Bruins defense some nights, and they've posted the under in 33 of their 59 decided totals to prove it.

Since January 1st, Edmonton is actually ceding fewer xGA per 60 minutes (2.76) than Boston (2.80). Plus, the B's offense has crawled into the home stretch, posting just 3.01 xGF per 60 in the same time period. That's the 11th-worst mark in the NHL.

Of course, the netminders are elite here, too. Linus Ullmark (30.41 GSAx) is likely the Vezina Trophy winner this year, and Edmonton's Stuart Skinner (12.61 GSAx) has recorded a tremendous rookie campaign as well. He'd be a Calder Trophy candidate if not for Matty Beniers.

Overall, our model sees fewer than seven tallies in this game 56.9% of the time. There's plenty of value here against these 50.2% implied odds.

Ottawa Senators at Seattle Kraken

Senators ML (+114) - 3 Stars

This is my favorite wager of the day.

The Senators are finally cashing in on their offseason moves (and the deadline deal for Jakob Chychrun) recently. Since the start of 2023, they've actually got the fifth-best expected-goals-for rate (53.8 xGF%) in hockey. While they're still a bit vulnerable in goal, the skaters are crushing it at present.

Seattle would probably get my vote for the luckiest team in the league. Their actual GF% (55.7%) in that same period is so far above their xGF% (51.8%), and that spread is actually narrower than their season-long split.

Largely, I have a tough time getting to Ottawa because of their inconsistent goaltending, but it doesn't really matter tonight. Philipp Grubauer has odd GSAx splits due to the danger level of the chances, but in terms of the standard goals saved above average (GSAA), Ottawa's Mads Sogaard (-0.39 GSAA) has been a safer bet than Grubauer (-6.41 GSAA) most nights they've played.

Overall, our model gives Sogaard and the Sens the edge. It expects them to win 57.4% of the time versus these 46.7% implied odds.