NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 5/6/21

We are starting to get a more concrete idea of what to expect in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Teams are falling by the wayside, and other squads are solidifying their hold on playoff positions. We must be feeling nostalgic today as our model has identified value sports featuring some Original Six teams.

Here are a few plays from our daily projections!

Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers

Rangers +1.5 (-154): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Rangers moneyline (+176): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (-106): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

We'll give the New York Rangers a free pass on last night's performance. After the Tom Wilson debacle with Artemi Panarin on Monday, the Rangers may have used last night's contest for retribution rather than hockey. But with the Washington Capitals behind them, the Rangers can re-focus on good outcomes, starting with the Boston Bruins.

Last night's effort notwithstanding, the Rangers have had improved metrics, particularly on the defensive side of the puck. New York had limited three of their previous five opponents to nine or fewer high-danger chances across all strengths. The Broadway Blueshirts were also effective at limiting scoring chances, holding opponents to 29 or fewer scoring opportunities in three of five. The Rangers have not been a possession-driven team this season, but they still managed to control possession in three of five games.

Defensive hockey is right up the Bruins' alley. Boston has limited opponents to nine or fewer high-danger chances in five straight across all strengths, giving up an average of 5.4 such attempts per game. Scoring chances are also down to an average 21.0 per game over their recent sample.

Head-to-head metrics definitely favor the Rangers in this matchup. New York has outplayed Boston in four of six this season, posting expected goals-for percentages of 61.2% and 75.1% in their last two meetings. The Rangers are getting no puck luck and have dropped four of the six contests but are overdue for a few good bounces. Also, the Rangers have been sharp on the second night of a back-to-back, going 4-2-0.

New York's chances are also reflected positively in our projections. Taking the Rangers to cover +1.5 is a three-star play and backing them to win outright is a two-star bet. There's also value in taking the under, which we rate as a two-star wager.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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

The Chicago Blackhawks deserved a better outcome than they got last time out against the Carolina Hurricanes. Based on our projections, their matchup tonight is a good revenge spot to back the Hawks.

Chicago outplayed the Canes at five-on-five on Tuesday night, posting an expected goals-for percentage of 52.5% and outshooting Carolina 26-19. But the Blackhawks were outscored 4-2 at five-on-five and lost 6-3.

Goaltending has been to blame for the Hawks' recent tumble down the standings. Hawks goalies have combined to allow three or more goals in 12 of their last 13, giving up an average of 4.2 goals per game in that time. Kevin Lankinen, Malcolm Subban, and Collin Delia have been particularly bad over their last three games, allowing a cumulative 16 goals while stopping only 85.2% of shots. These goalies should progress back towards average after an extended regression period.

Regression is a concept that the Canes should get comfortable with. Carolina has been on an extended run and are due for correction. They have brought their season-long PDO up to 1.019 thanks to an impressive 12-game stretch where they put up a PDO of 1.049.

Carolina may also be dealing with fatigue as tonight will be their seventh game over the last 11 nights.

In reconciling our projections with the betting market, there's value in backing the Hawks to win. We rate it as a one-star play.