NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 3/23/23
Today is the first day all year I've been able to bust out a no-doubt system play, but thankfully, numberFire's model agrees wholeheartedly, too.
Where are the best spots to bet Thursday's 12-game docket?
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.
Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers
Under 5.5 (+108) - 2 Stars
This line might still have a tad too much juice to the under.
Obviously, oddsmakers aren't expecting fireworks when these two teams meet. Since February 1st, the Flyers have posted the fourth-fewest expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 minutes in the NHL. Minnesota has posted just the 15th-fewest, but they're now without leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov due to a lower-body injury.
The defenses here are much better. The Wild have ceded the 8th-fewest expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes in that same period, and -- especially from previous years' standards -- Philadelphia allowing the 17th-fewest must feel like a breath of fresh air for their fans.
We've got elite goaltending, too. Filip Gustavsson has changed the Wild's entire postseason outlook, posting 22.74 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) this year. That's the fifth-best mark in hockey. Philly's Carter Hart (13.06 GSAx) sits 13th.
Our model believes this game stays below six goals 54.2% of the time. These odds imply just a 48.1% chance.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers
Under 7.5 (-168) - 3 Stars
This is the system play.
I take the under on 7.5-goal totals in virtually every situation. They've been few and far between, but one hot goalie or defense can shut the entire operation down quite easily when scoring opportunities are not always correlated with scoring in hockey.
This game even has plenty of candidates since these aren't bad defenses. Since February 1st, Florida and Toronto are just 13th and 18th, respectively, in most xGA per 60 minutes allowed. They're not leaky defenses ceding chances at will.
The goaltending also is fairly sharp. Ilya Samsonov (14.39 GSAx) is arguably enjoying a top-10 season across the league for the Leafs, and Sergei Bobrovsky (7.37 GSAx) has put together his best campaign with the Panthers by a wide margin.
Our model agrees. It sees fewer than eight goals 70.3% of the time in this game. Even with these odds implying a 62.8% chance, we've still got a large cushion of value here.
However, this line might be worth waiting on as the public continues to pound the plus-money over behind these offensive juggernauts.
Seattle Kraken at Nashville Predators
Predators ML (+104) - 4 Stars
We'll round out today with the model's best bet.
Seattle is the slight road favorite in Nashville tonight, but like the model, it's easy to overlook their minimal advantages between the creases for the canyon between the individual netminders in this one.
The Kraken should find it difficult to score tonight. They're tallying the 14th-fewest xGF per 60 minutes since February 1st themselves, and they'll be firing at a brick wall. Juuse Saros is second in the NHL in GSAx (35.56) as he continues to mount a last-ditch effort at the Vezina Trophy.
Even scoring the eighth-fewest xGF per 60 in that same period, the Preds should have easier sledding to find the back of the net. Philipp Grubauer (6.13 GSAx) hasn't been near as stout, and the Kraken have ceded at least four goals in five of their last six games.
Saros has allowed five-plus goals just five times this season. If that trend holds, at worst, you'd get the home team in an overtime setting for an underdog price. numberFire expects a Nashville win 67.4% of the time tonight, but these odds carry just a 49.0% implied chance.