NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 5/8/21

It's the final full Saturday of the regular season.

The Central and North Divisions are the last remaining divisions to have their four playoff teams solidified, which means playoff matchups are largely yet to be determined.

It should make for an entertaining day of hockey as teams fight for critical points to move up the standings.

Here are a few plays from today's projections!

Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues

Golden Knights moneyline (-198): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The Vegas Golden Knights remain one of the best teams in the NHL, which has been no different over their recent sample. The Golden Knights rank fourth in the league in expected goals-for percentage thanks to dominant play on both ends of the ice.

Across all strengths, the Knights have posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in seven of their last nine contests. Vegas has out-possessed and out-chanced their opponents in high-danger chances in all but two of those contests, outscoring their opponents by a cumulative 33-23 margin over the seven-game sample.

The St. Louis Blues are firmly planted on the opposite end of the advanced metrics spectrum. The Blues sit 26th in the league with an expected goals-for percentage of 45.8%. Their recent sample is equally as disastrous.

St. Louis has been outplayed in 10 of their last 12 games, attempting more than nine high-danger chances in just three of those games. Possession metrics are somewhat better, as the Blues have a Corsi rating above 50.0% in six of those games, but that hasn't resulted in more shots as the Blues have out-shot just three teams the last 12 games.

This game is likely a preview of the first-round matchup that awaits these teams. Vegas has dominated the season series, putting up an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in all seven games. We're expecting no different tonight, as the Golden Knights inch closer to claiming the West Division banner.

The Golden Knights' moneyline is a three-star play, as per our projections.

Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Capitals moneyline (-180): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Capitals -1.5 (+134): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 6.5 (-110): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

Goaltending may be an issue for the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers on the second night of a back-to-back. Both teams elected to start their primary goalies last night, leaving Craig Anderson and Alex Lyon to tend to the crease tonight.

Lyon has been unimpressive in limited action this season. In five games (four starts), Lyon has a goals-against-average of 3.69 and is stopping only 87.6% of shots. Lyon has allowed at least four goals while stopping 87.5% of shots or fewer in three of those four starts and has an 82.7% save percentage in three road appearances.

That's going to make things easy for the Capitals, who are seeing increased production metrics. Washington has eclipsed double-digit high-danger chances in six of their last seven games, averaging 14.7 such chances per game over that span. Scoring chances and shots are also plentiful, with the Caps averaging 29.0 and 32.7 chances per game, respectively, over the same sample.

The Flyers defense has been a little suspect over their last seven games. Opponents have attempted 11 or more high-danger chances and 30 or more shots in four of seven. That could make tonight's game feel more like target practice, as the Caps cling to hopes of capturing the East Division crown.

In reconciling our projections with the betting market, a few plays are worth making in this one. The Caps' moneyline price doesn't accurately reflect their chances of winning; thus, there is value in taking the Caps to win: we rate it as a three-star play.

Goals should be easy to come by for the Capitals, which should help this game go over the total and the Caps to cover the -1.5 puckline. Those wagers are rated as two- and one-star plays, respectively.