This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Picks: Best NHL Bets for Thursday, January 5
My editor told me to tout my wins more, so… just dropping in to say my picks are 10-4 in the last 2 days of articles to start off 2023, and we're hitting at 60% since Nov. 19. There are 10 games on the NHL slate tonight, and with stats like that, you bet your behind I've got a pick for every single one of 'em.
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NHL Best Bets Tonight
Rangers vs Canadiens
The Rangers are playing really well of late, and the Canadiens are playing really badly of late. The Rags are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and are coming off a meaningful 5-3 victory against the NHL's second-ranked Hurricanes who had just won 11 in a row. The Habs have lost 6 straight and 5 in regulation and were outscored 30-10 in those 5 regulation losses. They return to the Bell Centre tonight hoping to lick their wounds against one of the league's best road teams the Rangers who hold a 12-5-2 record away from home. Basically, Montreal needs whichever goalie it tosses between the pipes to stand on his head to get a victory at this point. I don't think that happens tonight.
- Rangers PL +130
Kraken vs Maple Leafs
This is a sneaky pick for the most interesting game to watch tonight. The Kraken are way better than anyone anticipated this season sitting in 6th place in the West and winning some impressive games against favored opponents. They'll have a chance to surprise some people tonight by taking on the high-flying Maple Leafs in Toronto. Adding to the anomaly that is this Kraken squad, they are 10-4-2 on the road this season which gives them one of the best road marks in the NHL. They most recently topped the Oilers 5-2 in Edmonton, and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 road games. The Maple Leafs are no pushover on home ice though, going 8-0-3 in their last 11 and not suffering a home loss in regulation since 11/11. That's almost too good to be true, which is what makes games like this so very frisky to bet on.
- Kraken PL -140
Coyotes vs Flyers
There's nothing fun for me to talk about with either of these teams. If it was a Coyotes' home game, I'd talk about how they play in a college barn but are surprisingly good there. But they're playing in Philly tonight, so all I can really like about the Yotes is their uniforms (one of the best in the NHL). And as a longtime Capitals fan and DC sports aficionado in general, I cannot stand paying even the slightest bit of attention to a team from Philadelphia, especially if that team is as lousy as the Flyers are this year. Yeah, yeah, yeah Flyers fans, pipe down, no one cares they're on a 3-game winning streak and have scored 25 goals in their last 6 games.
- Flyers ML -145
Predators vs Hurricanes
The Hurricanes just had an 11-game win streak snapped with their 5-3 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. They return home tonight to take on the Predators. The Canes are 12-3-1 at home overall and are 8-1-1 dating back to 11/17. The Preds are 4-3-3 in their last 10 road games and 4-3-3 in their last 10 games overall. They're like a great mid-major college football team. They'll win all the games they're supposed to win against inferior opponents, as they did recently against the Canadiens, Ducks, and Blackhawks by a combined score of 16-6. But they'll probably lose to the big boys as they did against the Golden Knights, Stars, and Avalanche of late. They lost all of those games to those big boys by 1 goal though, and in fact, they've only lost by 2+ goals in 3 games since 12/1…
- Predators PL -145
Blues vs Devils
The Devils got a much-needed, convincing win on the road in Detroit last night, topping the Red Wings. They're an excellent team on the road, rocking a 14-2-1 record away from home ice this season. They'll return home to welcome the Blues to town tonight. The Devils are 0-6-1 in their last 7 home games, so their fans haven't exactly been getting their money's worth. The Blues are a bit banged up too and will be without 3 of their best players in captain Ryan O'Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Torey Krug. Yet, they went into Toronto on Tuesday and scraped out a 6-5 win over the Maple Leafs in a shootout, and also pushed the Golden Knights to the brink in a 5-4 shootout loss in Vegas just a game prior. Craig Berube's bunch can compete, but can they take advantage of the Devils' tired legs playing their second game in 24 hours?
- Blues PL -170
Capitals vs Blue Jackets
The Caps are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games, outscoring opponents 60-30 in that span. They head into Columbus tonight to take on the Blue Jackets who have only mustered 14 goals in their last 9 games and are 1-8 in that span. In sports betting, it's best to not overcomplicate things sometimes.
- Capitals ML -195
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Islanders vs Oilers
The Oilers are 0-4-1 in their last 5 home games, yet have held leads in 4 of those games and the only one where they didn't have a lead was against the Jets on 12/31 but they still outshot 'em 32-17. They look to break their home game funk with the Islanders in town tonight. These teams met on 11/23 on Long Island and the Oilers dominated in every facet of the game besides the scoreboard, with Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin posting a shutout in a 3-0 win, turning away 49 shots. The Isles are a tough test, but they don't have the prettiest record on the road either at 10-9-2. I also picked the Oilers in my article from 11/23, so this is a revenge game for me AND Connor McDavid.
- Oilers ML -155
Penguins vs Golden Knights
Even though this is a juicy matchup with tons of firepower, I'm going to keep it simple. The Penguins are 0-3-2 in their last 5 games. I don't think they lose their 6th in a row, even on the road against the top team in the West. Sure, the Pens' will likely roll with their backup goalie since Tristan Jarry got hurt in Monday's Winter Classic, but the Golden Knights are only 11-9 at home this year and the Penguins are due for a W.
- Penguins ML +100
Avalanche vs Canucks
Remember how I said that sometimes in sports betting you gotta keep it simple and not overcomplicate things? This is another one of those matchups. The Avs are 0-3-1 in their last 4. They lost to the Canucks 4-3 the only other time they played 'em this year back on 11/23. I don't think they're going to lose 5 straight games, and I don't think the Canucks can beat 'em twice in a row.
- Avalanche ML -155
Bruins vs Kings
The Bruins must have a cheat code on right now. They're 29-4-4 overall. They haven't lost at home yet this season. And they're 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. One of those OT losses was to the Kings in Boston, in a shootout I must add. By their current standards, they've been a little "shaky" going 6-0-2 since. You know, because 2 overtime losses in 8 games is the definition of shaky, right? The Kings have been pretty awesome since that 12/15 shootout win in Boston going 6-1-1, but they've needed 2 more shootouts and one overtime to get there. Hey, winning's winning, right? The Kings are 5-1 in their last 6 home games too, and 12-6-2 at home overall, so if they have dreams of beating the best team in the league for a second time to win the season series, this is the best chance they'd have.
- Kings PL -180