NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 3/4/21

Favorites keep rolling in the NHL with five of six from last night's slate winning as chalk. With 10 games scheduled for tonight, there's plenty of action to be had and no time to waste.

Here are a couple of plays from our daily projections!

New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres

Islanders moneyline (-200): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The Buffalo Sabres are in disarray. They've dropped four games in a row and have just three wins over their last 13 games. The Sabres' metrics are equally disappointing and suggest that this team has a lot of changes to make.

Buffalo has posted an expected goals-for percentage below 50.0% in eight of their last 13 games. The Sabres have been out-possessed and out-shot in nine of those games. The absolute numbers are also uninspiring as the Sabres have managed more than 29 shot attempts in just four games.

Now the Sabres have to compete with a New York Islanders squad that is among the best on home ice. The Islanders have the third-best expected goals-for percentage on home ice and the second-best goals-for percentage in the split. That has translated to a near-perfect record in their friendly confines, with the Islanders going 7-0-2 at home.

The Islanders' home-ice advantage is reflected in our projections, which give New York a 74.6% chance of winning. FanDuel Sportsbook has New York installed as -200 favorites, which carries an implied probability of 66.7%. That means the advantage lies in backing New York to win, and we rate it as a three-star play.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Blackhawks moneyline (+190): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their six-game road trip on Thursday night when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. The advanced metrics imply that Tampa's fortunes should start to reverse.

Over the last five games, the Bolts have established a 1.125 PDO, which brings their season-long average up to 1.052, easily the highest in the league. The Bolts have put up an expected goals-for percentage below 50.0% in three of those five games but have won all five games. In reconciling the metrics, the Bolts have been worse than their record implies and should start to regress.

Chicago has been on the opposite end of the advanced metric spectrum over their last four. The Hawks have outplayed three of their four opponents thanks to increased offensive production. The Blackhawks have reached 30-plus shots and hit double-digit high-danger chances in three of those four games. This has led to increased output, as the Hawks have 17 goals in that stretch, with seven of those goals coming from high-danger areas.

Tampa is the better team, but their concerning metrics suggest that they are due for regression. On the other hand, the Hawks are trending in the right direction and have seen increased output over their recent sample. Our algorithm suggests that the value in tonight's game lies in backing the Hawks on the moneyline. We rate it as a two-star play.