NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 3/16/23

Yesterday's slate had a three-star wager with just four games. This one has none with a whopping 11 games taking place tonight. You can't make this stuff up.

Which of our two-star wagers stands above their counterparts?

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.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

Rangers ML (-146) - 2 Stars

Tonight's primetime showdown is the Pittsburgh Penguins traveling to visit the New York Rangers, and New York seems well-positioned to avenge their road loss to Pittsburgh last week.

These two clubs are very similar until they're not. Pittsburgh is second in expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 minutes since February 1st (3.87), leading the Rangers (3.21) by a decent margin.

But, on defense, New York leads the way with just 2.94 expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 in that same period. The Pens (3.19) lag behind defensively, which is not the place to do so considering the goaltending matchup between these two.

Igor Shesterkin has followed last year's Vezina win with 11.79 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) this year. That's 11th in hockey, but Pittsburgh's Tristan Jarry (0.03 GSAx) ranks 58th of 91 goalies to lace them up this year.

Most times when these teams clash, New York should win. At home and rested, numberFire's model believes they emerge victorious 63.6% of the time tonight versus these 59.3% implied odds.

Calgary Flames at Vegas Golden Knights

Golden Knights ML (-120) - 2 Stars

This is another matchup where the goalie makes the difference.

Even though Vegas leads the Western Conference in points (90), you could make an argument the Calgary Flames have been a better team since February 1st.

In that period, Calgary has posted a higher rate of xGF per 60 minutes (3.46) than Vegas (3.01), and on the other end, the Flames have ceded fewer xGA per 60 (2.66) than the Knights (3.07). Yet, Vegas' lead in the standings has stayed strong, and Calgary is scrapping for a wild card spot. How?

Well, Jacob Markstrom (2.59 GSAx) just hasn't been close to his form last year. Meanwhile, in this time, the Knights have found Adin Hill from seemingly nowhere, and Hill has posted 7.54 GSAx in just 27 games. He's carried his underperforming skaters.

Our model expects him to do so again on Thursday. We've got Vegas as 59.6% likely to down the Flames, but these odds imply just a 54.5% chance it happens.