NHL Betting Guide: Friday 12/9/22
Surprisingly, the NHL schedule is busy on a Friday. It's not usually that way.
Our model loves a few of the lines in tonight's games, too. I couldn't agree more with all of them.
Where should we align our money and mouths on this slate?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Capitals ML (-128) - 4 Stars
I mentioned this on Wednesday before the Kraken lost outright at home to Montreal (yikes), but they're due for significant offensive regression. They've scored 3.57 goals per 60 minutes so far this year, but their expected goals per 60 minutes (2.93 xGF) are ninth-worst in the NHL. Their offense really is who we thought they were.
Plus, Martin Jones' bounce-back campaign is now floundering. An ugly showing against the Canadiens dropped him to -3.92 goals saved over expectation (GSAx), and Washington's Darcy Kuemper (6.98 GSAx) is 11th in the league in that category.
The Caps also have posted more expected goals per 60 (3.01), so they're the better team. Our model thinks they win outright 72.0% of the time in this spot against these 56.1% implied odds.
Under 6.5 (+118) - 3 Stars
If you can find it, I prefer this line to the juiced 7.0-goal total.
This gaudy total just doesn't make a ton of sense when the Penguins and Sabres are 13th and 22nd, respectively, in expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes. It's a wild overreaction to Buffalo's nine-goal outburst in Columbus on Wednesday.
Yes, Pittsburgh is also 3rd in xGF per 60 minutes (3.53), and Buffalo is 12th (3.29). These are good offenses with so-so defenses, but the price is the issue -- especially when both Tristan Jarry (3.21 GSAx) and Craig Anderson (3.15 GSAx) have been solid in goal.
Our model thinks this game has fewer than six tallies 55.8% of the time. This line on FanDuel Sportsbook holds approximately 45.9% implied odds. I'd rather not lay the juice at a 7.0-goal total because empty-net goals in tight games can burst this one over anyway.
Islanders +1.5 (-150) - 3 Stars
Islanders ML (+168) - 2 Stars
Fading Ilya Sorokin with a reasonable, one-goal cushion -- or significant underdog price -- is a dangerous game.
Sorokin is arguably the NHL's best netminder. After being a finalist for the Vezina Trophy a season ago, he wants this year's version in his case. He leads all of hockey in GSAx (20.11) with a decent buffer to second place, which is Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets (18.37).
I'm down to fade New Jersey with him. I just don't buy this squad that, with a couple of decent top-nine forward additions but no prize acquisition, has leaped from a 49.9% expected-goals-for rate (xGF%) last season to a league-best 59.7% this year.
Our model is all about the Islanders in this one. It views New York as 71.5% likely to cover the one-goal spread in Jersey against these 60.0% implied odds. That'll be my primary wager, but it's also giving the Isles a 47.6% chance to win against these 37.3% implied odds. That's worth a sprinkle, too.