Handicapping the NHL: Thursday's Best Bets

Handicapping the NHL: Thursday's Best Bets

This article is part of our NHL Picks series.

RotoWire's AJ Scholz takes a deep dive into his favorite bets ahead of Thursday's 10-game slate, including a look at the Moneyline, Puckline, total and player props with odds courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook

Moneyline Targets

Picking the Favorite: Among the heavy favorites in Thursday's slate are the Blues (-265), Rangers (-190) and Oilers (-230), which makes them too risky of plays in my opinion given the limited return on investment. Instead, the Sabres are coming into their matchup with the Senators at -125. Ottawa won't have Matt Murray (undisclosed) and may not be able to count on Anton Forsberg (illness) either, which means the team could be forced to utilize its third-choice netminder Filip Gustavsson. With Buffalo at -115, you won't have to give up much in the way of juice, making it one of the better options among the favorites. 

Finding an Underdog: While the Bruins aren't expected to get Brad Marchand back from suspension yet, Patrice Bergeron will be in action after dealing with a head injury. As such, the Bruins being the underdogs at +100 versus the Islanders seems slightly off. Don't be surprised to see this line more before puck drop to have the B's favored in this one. The Isles are 3-7 in their last 10 outings including their recent three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Boston is 12-6-3 on the road and won't have to travel far to get to Long Island. 

Covering the Puckline

Favorite Team to Cover: Unfortunately, the value isn't exactly there but the Blues -1.5 returns -110 value versus a Habs team that just traded away its No. 2 point producer this year in Tyler Toffoli for long-term assets. The fire sale is in full effect in Montreal and targeting whoever they are playing on the Moneyline or Puckline moving forward should rack up some solid returns, even if you have to give up a little juice along the way. 

Best of the Rest: Since the Bruins are technically still the underdog in their matchup with the Islanders, you have to look to the alternate Pucklines here. If you look at the Bruins -1.5, you can get an outrageous value at +235. Hit while the iron is hot on those once because, as I said previously, I would be surprised to see this line hold with Boston as the underdog as we move closer to game time. 

Betting the Total

Taking the Over: Some of the league's top stars will be out in full force when the Penguins head north to face the Maple Leafs, including Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews and Evgeni Malkin. Both clubs have solid netminders in Tristan Jarry and Jack Campbell but these two teams are responsible for a combined 332 goals this season. It's a lofty 6.5 total to grab the over but it's nearly even money at -105. 

Spotting the Under: When the Canucks and Sharks matchup in the late-game Thursday, it will be a matchup between two teams in the bottom-10 in goals per game at 2.51 and 2.66, respectively. While the total is the lowest on the board at just 5.5, there is little reason to expect much in the way of offense in this contest. Sitting at -115, the under is definitely in play here. 

Favorite Player Props

Anytime Goal Scorer: In the Penguins v. Maple Leafs contest, it's Auston Matthews that is the favorite to score a goal at -125, which isn't a terrible value but I'd prefer to look at Bryan Rust at +175. Prior to Tuesday's matchup with the Flyers, Rust had scored in five straight games and is unlikely to take long before getting back on the scoresheet. One option that could pay off would be to bet all of the stars in this game to score a goal, which should return enough value if you miss one or two. 

Power-Play Point: Leon Draisaitl leads the league in power-play points with 26 of his 66 points coming with the man advantage. The Ducks penalty kill is ranked eighth-best in the league at 82.9 percent, so it's far from a guarantee. Still, getting Draistaitl at +105 to earn a power-play point is a solid value given his track record. You could even consider stacking that bet and taking Connor McDavid at +115 to earn a power-play point as well since the duo will be on the ice together. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AJ Scholz
Co-Host of PuckCast with Statsman and AJ and unabashed Penguins fan.
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