NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 4/29/21

There is plenty of action to satiate our thirst for hockey with 10 games scheduled tonight. Make sure you get those wagers in early as six of those games start at 7 p.m. EST, and only one starts after 8 p.m. We're digging into a couple of North Division matchups in today's betting guide.

Here are the plays from our daily projections.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks

Canucks moneyline (+265): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks get re-acquainted for the third time in 12 days tonight in Toronto. The Canucks took the two matchups in Vancouver last week, and there appears to be value in backing them again tonight.

The Leafs return home after completing a five-game road trip last night in Montreal. After dropping the first two games in Vancouver, the Leafs went on to win the next three. However, their metrics have taken a turn for the worse to end the roadie.

Toronto was outplayed at five-on-five in two of those three wins, and their production metrics had a steep decline. The Maple Leafs managed eight or fewer high-danger chances in all three games and failed to record more than 20 scoring chances, averaging 17.3 over the three games. Despite the decreased production, the Leafs still managed eight goals at five-on-five over the three-game span.

Vancouver is coming off a couple demoralizing losses to the Ottawa Senators, but they have put forth some strong efforts against the Leafs this season. The Canucks are 4-3-0 against the Leafs, winning four straight and stopping 94.7% of shots. For the Nucks to have a shot, Braden Holtby needs to pick up where he left off against the Leafs last week, after stopping 74 of 79 shots through two games.

Goaltending is where the Canucks hold an advantage as the Leafs are likely to start David Rittich tonight. Through two starts (three appearances) with the Leafs, Rittich has put up an 87.7% save percentage and has allowed nine goals in just over 160 minutes of action.

Goaltending was the difference when these teams met last week, and it should favor the Canucks tonight. That aligns with our projections, which rates backing the Canucks to win as a one-star play.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames

Oilers moneyline (-132): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.5 (-132): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Calgary Flames' five-on-five offense continues to struggle under Darryl Sutter. That's going to make keeping up with the Edmonton Oilers' offense a tall order as the Battle of Alberta rages on Thursday night.

The Flames have played 24 games since relieving Geoff Ward of his coaching duties -- going 10-13-1 in that time and recording more than two goals at five-on-five in just six games. Production metrics have suffered, and that's been particularly true over their last two games, where they attempted a combined 27 scoring chances and 10 high-danger opportunities. Simply, Calgary's offense is incompatible with winning, and that's reflected in their outcomes since the coaching change.

Edmonton comes into tonight's contest on the heels of a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets last night, and they are winners of six of their last eight. The Oilers' offense is starting to increase production, making them an even harder team to get past. They have attempted 11 or more high-danger and 25 or more scoring chances at five-on-five in three of their last five games. Output has not yet increased to match with the bump in production, meaning we could see more goals from the Oilers over their coming games.

Based on our model, Edmonton has a 67.2% chance of beating the Flames tonight. They aren't priced as substantive favorites, though, and are -132 on the moneyline (56.9% implied odds). That leaves a significant advantage in backing Edmonton to win, which we rate as a three-star bet. We're also projecting this game to stay under the total, rating under 6.5 as a two-star wager.