NHL Picks and Betting Tips October 18, 2017

 

Last Updated: 2017-10-18

MORNING LINE REPORT – Wednesday, October 18th

If you managed to only read yesterday’s article then congratulations, you had a nice 2-1 night as Carolina and Vegas came through with the win. Hopefully you didn’t watch those games as the third period in each would have taken years off your life, particularly Vegas who had a 4-1 lead with just ten minutes to play before needing a David Perron snipe in overtime to pull out a 5-4 victory.

Unfortunately, the Twitter additions yesterday bit the bullet as Florida and Winnipeg were trucked and Tampa Bay broke our heart by blowing a third period lead, then failing to score on a powerplay the final two minutes of regulation, then failing to score on a powerplay the final 40 seconds of overtime, then failing to solve Cory Schneider in the shootout (in what world does Ryan Callahan take your third shot with Stamkos, Johnson, Palat and Hedman on the bench?!). Heartbreaking. At least Vancouver came through for a nice +175 win behind an Anders Nilsson shutout. Overall it was a 3-4 night for a tiny net loss which is pretty disappointing considering we hit a couple of nice underdogs.

It’s a small card again tonight with just one line open at this time and it doesn’t look like we’ll have a play there. We’ll wait for the other two and see how they match up to my number.

As always, be sure to check in with me on Twitter (@kreatture) for updates after morning skates, additional plays, or just to chat.

All odds courtesy BetOnline as of 5:00am Eastern Time

*NOTE* I assign a value to every player in the NHL which is part of the line I create. Only those players with a value greater than zero are listed below in the injury report for each team. In other words, if a player is worth nothing to the line movement, he won’t be listed.

DETROIT RED WINGS @ TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Projected Goaltenders
Detroit – Jimmy Howard/Petr Mrazek (unknown)
Toronto – Curtis McElhinney (probable)

Injury Report
Detroit – DeKeyser (out)
Toronto – no significant injuries

The Detroit Red Wings are coming off Monday night’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. They got off to a slow start but battled back to erase a two goal deficit before giving up the winner to Kucherov early in the third. The Wings are now 4-2-0 as their difficult week continues with a trip to Toronto before hosting the Capitals on Friday.

Dylan Larkin is enjoying a solid bounce back season after slumping in his sophomore year. He looks much more comfortable at the center position on the second line, rather than on Henrik Zetterberg’s wing where he spent most of last season. Anthony Mantha is now the beneficiary of playing alongside Zetterberg and he’s looked every bit like a first-liner with three goals and four assists in Detroit’s first six games. His speed and ability to create space has paired well with Zetterberg who also has three goals and four assists while looking like his younger self so far. Rookie Martin Frk is making the most of his 12 minutes of average ice-time per game and providing Detroit with much needed scoring depth on the third line. Frk is tied for the team lead with three goals.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser will miss another one to two weeks with a slightly sprained ankle.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had averaged a total of nine goals over their first five games so leave it up to the one time I jump in with an Over play when they decide to play lockdown defense and shut out the Capitals last night, 2-0. Regression finally hit the Leafs a bit as they failed to score at least three goals for the first time this season and Auston Matthews was held pointless also for the first time. Babcock leaned on his top four defensemen last night as the third pair of Connor Carrick and Calle Rosen received over two minutes each less ice time than what they’ve been averaging. With the Leafs on a back-to-back here we’ll see if their top defenders have the legs late in this one.

Curtis McElhinney is expected to get his first start of the season and it will be a particularly important start for him with recently acquired Calvin Pickard lurking in the shadows hoping for his chance.

We’ll see where this line opens but I would expect this to be Detroit or nothing tonight.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS @ ST. LOUIS BLUES

Projected Goaltenders
Chicago – Corey Crawford (confirmed)
St. Louis – Jake Allen (likely)

Injury Report
Chicago – Hossa (out), Schmaltz (probable)
St. Louis – Fabbri (out), Berglund (out), Bouwmeester (out), Steen (questionable), Schwartz (probable)

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a 4-1-1 start to sit atop the early Central division standings while leading the NHL with a +12 goal differential. After opening the season with six games over the first ten days, Chicago has been off since Saturday which has allowed them to work on the one area that hasn’t gone right so far – the powerplay. The Hawks are just 4-for-27 with the man advantage so Quenneville mixed up his units at Tuesday’s practice, separating Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane who were paired together on the top unit. Quenneville will now employ the team’s regular top two scoring lines as his powerplay units with Alex DeBrincat and Duncan Keith on the points joining Toews, Richard Panik and Brandon Saad on the top group while Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook will man the points on the second unit with Kane, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz.

Speaking of Schmaltz, he’s finally going to be back in the lineup tonight back in his usual second line center spot. The Hawks scored 15 goals in their first two games with him in the lineup but have managed just ten goals over the last four games without him. Kane has been held to just two assists over those four games after recording six in the first two and showed great chemistry with Schmaltz. Tanner Kero is expected to be the odd man out with Schmaltz’s return. The new fourth line looks like Tommy Wingels, Lance Bouma and John Hayden. That’s a pretty physical line and I’m not sure the Blues are going to be able to match up well with it.

Corey Crawford will start tonight on the front end of a back-to-back with Anton Forsberg scheduled to start Thursday’s game at home versus Edmonton.

The St. Louis Blues wrapped up a four game road trip with a pair of losses at Florida and Tampa Bay and now return for their lone home game this week before heading out West for a pair. Help may soon be on the way as Alex Steen has practiced with the team the last two days. His broken hand is fully healed and now he just needs to get his conditioning and timing right. Yeo said he may or may not be ready to play tonight so we’ll have to wait and see how he looks in the morning skate.

His return would be a big boost for the lineup as he would return to the top line alongside Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko which would allow Vladimir Sobotka to return to his better suited third line role. The third and fourth lines have yet to score a goal for the Blues this season as their depth has been hit hard with injuries. Rookie Sammy Blais has been impressive thus far and will play on the second line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn, unless Steen can’t go tonight in which case he will get a shot on the top line.

Schwartz missed Monday’s practice with reportedly a case of food poisoning but returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to return tonight.

The Blues play a back-to-back in Colorado tomorrow so we don’t officially know who will start in net tonight although I would be very surprised if it’s not Jake Allen. This is a huge rivalry and these teams don’t meet again until March so both sides will be looking for early bragging rights.

I don’t see enough value in this line currently so we’ll wait to see if anything changes after the morning skate.

MONTREAL CANADIENS @ LOS ANGELES KINGS

Projected Goaltenders
Montreal – Al Montoya (probable)
Los Angeles – Jonathan Quick (probable)

Injury Report
Montreal – Schlemko (out)
Los Angeles – Gaborik (out), Clifford (out)

Montreal dropped their fifth straight contest after getting rolled 5-2 in San Jose last night. Carey Price has given up at least two goals in all five of his starts and sports an ugly 3.56 goals-against-average and .885 save percentage and at this point you have to feel for the guy (okay I guess we don’t have to feel too bad for Mr. ten-million dollars a year man, but you know). The Canadiens defense continues to be non-existent and hang their goaltender out to dry. One of the breakdowns last night which allowed Logan Couture all alone in front of the net was just brutal. Price is expected to finally get a break tonight on the back-to-back as Al Montoya is expected to get the start.

Keeping the puck out of the net isn’t their only issue though as most of the forwards group continues to have trouble scoring. Montreal has scored just nine goals over the first six games (plus a shootout winner) and Jonathan Drouin is the only player with more than one goal as he scored his second of the year last night. Secondary scoring was supposed to be better this year with the addition of Ales Hemsky and youngsters Charles Hudon, Phillip Danault and Artturi Lehkonen taking steps forward in their development. Danault is the only one in that group to score (once) while the Hemsky experiment has been a bust so far. He has five minor penalties and zero points.

The Los Angeles Kings are off to their best start in team history and are the lone remaining team to be undefeated in regulation as they’ve taken advantage of an early California schedule with a 4-0-1 record. This is the final game of the homestand before they embark on a six game road trip.

Who would have thought the Kings could be off to such a hot start with Jeff Carter yet to score a goal? Los Angeles has averaged over three goals a game thus far with a resurgent Dustin Brown (four goals, three assists) and Anze Kopitar (four goals, four assists) leading the way.

The biggest reason is new head coach John Stevens allowing the players to play in a more dynamic, fast-paced offensive system but the Kings haven’t had to sacrifice anything defensively to accomplish this. A healthy Jonathan Quick has helped a lot in that area as he has looked incredibly sharp stopping 115 of 122 shots for a stingy 1.74 goals-against-average and .943 save percentage.

The Kings penalty killing is tops in the league allowing just one goal on twenty attempts for a 95% success rate. One thing I noticed as I watched them the other night is how smart-aggressive they were on the kill. It’s a big change from last year and another credit to Stevens’ new implementations.

No line available here yet but I think we might get a bit of value on the Kings and that would be the side I’d look at tonight.

 

-END OF OCTOBER 18 PICKS-

 

MORNING LINE REPORT – Tuesday, October 17th

We ended up splitting the Twitter plays last night with Tampa Bay getting the win but the Over 5.5 falling just short. The score was 3-2 with 18 minutes left and it was pretty frustrating not to find that last goal, especially in the dying seconds when it looked like the Sharks had control at center ice and would hit the open net. That’s what I get for trying to sneak in a play on a total. So… let’s try another tonight!

We have a huge Tuesday night card with 11 games and there’s not a lot of value on the board but I was able to find enough for a couple of plays. There’s a couple others which are close so there might be an addition later today.

I wrote a lot, again, so let’s get right into it!

As always, be sure to check in with me on Twitter (@kreatture) for updates after morning skates, additional plays, or just to chat.

All odds courtesy BetOnline as of 7:00am Eastern Time

*NOTE* I assign a value to every player in the NHL which is part of the line I create. Only those players with a value greater than zero are listed below in the injury report for each team. In other words, if a player is worth nothing to the line movement, he won’t be listed.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ NEW YORK RANGERS
Projected Goaltenders
Pittsburgh – Matt Murray (probable)
New York – Henrik Lundqvist (probable)

Injury Report
Pittsburgh – Cole (questionable)
New York – no significant injuries

The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 win over Florida on Saturday. Pittsburgh led the league in shots on goal last year but are just tenth this season with 34.2 per game. Sullivan wants them to shoot more and that’s probably bad for opposing goaltenders with guys like Crosby, Malkin and Letang already in a pretty good offensive groove.

Defenseman Ian Cole returned to practice Monday with a full face-shield after taking a puck to the mouth and missing the past three games. Cole said he feels good and wants to play tonight but Sullivan said he’ll be a game-time decision. I’m expecting Cole to play so my line is with him in the lineup.

The New York Rangers are off to their worst start in 37 years at 1-5-0. If they lose tonight it will be their worst in 57 years. New York just looks slow so far and that’s not going to be good against this quick Pens team. The defense is also bleeding shots against and with the Pens looking to shoot more, Lundqvist is probably going to face 40+ shots tonight. Outside of the Toronto game where they scored five times, the Rangers only have eight goals in five games – and only two at 5-on-5.

That has forced head coach Alain Vigneault to start flipping the lines in rapid fashion. His latest creation in Monday’s practice saw Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich dropped off the top line in favor of Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello. I like that move. He also moved David Desharnais up from fourth line center to the second line, dropping Kevin Hayes to the third line. I don’t like this one. Desharnais is a good fit in the bottom six but it’s not going to be pretty with him getting increased ice-time in a the top six.

Lundqvist has been pretty good the last few games after a shaky start but he’s going to have to steal this one if the Rangers hope to get back on track.

This line is currently within my range for no play and it’s likely to stay that way. Best to sit this one out.

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Projected Goaltenders
Florida – Roberto Luongo (likely)
Philadelphia – Brian Elliott/Michal Neuvirth (unknown)

Injury Report
Florida – no significant injuries
Philadelphia – no significant injuries

Florida is 2-0 at home but dropped both of their road games after Saturday’s 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh. Jonathan Huberdeau has at least one point in each game and Evgenii Dadonov has had no trouble adapting to the NHL game with five points but the top line has also struggled defensively which caused head coach Bob Boughner to split them up in Monday’s practice. Radim Vrbata will jump to the top line, dropping Dadonov to the second line.

Florida’s top draft pick this summer, Owen Tippett, appears to be ready for his first game and skated on the third line Monday. He had an impressive training camp and should help the Panthers depth.

Boughner has continued to rotate his goaltenders so the expectation is Luongo will get the call tonight.

After a successful West Coast road trip the Philadelphia Flyers crushed the Capitals 8-2 in their home debut Saturday night. The Flyers are a confident group right now and have shown the ability to roll four capable lines with a lot of team speed but it’s “The Ginger Line” of Giroux, Couturier and Voracek who have racked up 22 combined points through the first five games. Moving Giroux to the wing and bumping Couturier to top line duty has really paid off. If Hakstol can continue to make good lineup decisions the Flyers could continue to be the surprise team of the year – but that’s a big if.

The Flyers aren’t expected to make any lineup changes tonight. Elliott and Neuvirth were supposed to split the goaltending duties more evenly but it’s been Elliott starting four times to Neuvirth’s once. Hakstol said both will see time on this current five game homestand but with no upcoming back-to-backs we’ll have to wait and see who gets the nod tonight.

There’s just enough value at the current number to play Florida tonight. Keep an eye on the line today if you don’t get it early. Florida is good down to +120. (UPDATE: This line fell 5 cents shortly after I wrote about this game so as of right now it currently is no play. Keep an eye on it and if it comes back into range lock it in. I’ll send a tweet out if I end up playing it)

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS @ WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Projected Goaltenders
Toronto – Frederik Andersen/Curtis McElhinney (unknown)
Washington – Braden Holtby (confirmed)

Injury Report
Toronto – no significant injuries
Washington – Niskanen (out), Eller (questionable)

The Toronto Maple Leafs open a back-to-back tonight after an emotional 4-3 victory in Montreal Saturday night which saw them snap a 14-game losing streak to their hated rivals. Auston Matthews has points in all five games this season, including two overtime winners last week.

The Leafs continue to struggle defensively but when you’re scoring 5.2 goals per game those issues sort of get swept under the rug. Tonight they’ll face a Capitals team who are struggling defensively and now without their leader on the blueline in Matt Niskanen.

Babcock, fresh off his 600th win as a head coach, said Andersen and McElhinney will split the starts tonight and tomorrow at home versus Detroit but wouldn’t say who would start tonight.

Braden Holtby will get the start for Washington after backup Philipp Grubauer was left in for all eight goals against in Saturday night’s 8-2 defeat at Philadelphia. Trotz wanted to give Holtby a full rest and unfortunately for Grubauer that came at his expense.

The defense continues to be shuffled and now with the loss of Niskanen the Caps will rely on two rookies to take on increased roles in Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey. Taylor Chorney will slot back into the lineup on the third pair for Aaron Ness.
Lars Eller missed Monday’s practice due to illness and is questionable for tonight. Tyler Graovac would be the third line center if Eller can’t go.

If Andersen starts for the Leafs I wouldn’t be surprised if they took some money this morning which might create some value on Washington here for us. It’s likely the Capitals or nothing but we probably shouldn’t overthink this one too much. Both these teams have been a cash cow on the Over with high-flying offenses and suspect defenses. I expected this total to open 6.5 but it’s a very gracious 6 with reasonable juice so we’ll happily lock in the Over 6 (-116). (UPDATE: This line also jumped up to -130 shortly after I wrote this. In this case I would still play the Over 6 at -130 but I wouldn’t go any higher)

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Projected Goaltenders
Tampa Bay – Peter Budaj (likely)
New Jersey – Cory Schneider (confirmed)

Injury Report
Tampa Bay – no significant injuries
New Jersey – Zajac (out), Boyle (out)

Tampa Bay continues to look better and better each game and now lead the NHL with ten points after their 3-2 win at Detroit last night. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos have shown unbelievable chemistry together as both have points in all six of the Lightning’s games. Kucherov scored twice, including the winner early in the third and now has seven goals and ten points. He joined an elite club with Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to open the season with goals in their first six games.

Peter Budaj has yet to receive a start in net despite the Lightning already having one back-to-back but chances should be good tonight of him getting the call. Last night’s game began a stretch of six games in ten nights for the Bolts and with the next back-to-back not until November 9th, tonight should be the time, although Cooper has not confirmed this decision.

The New Jersey Devils are one of the NHL’s early surprises with a 4-1-0 record and averaging over four goals scored per game after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Rangers. Coach John Hynes really shortened his bench that game as Marcus Johansson, Pavel Zacha and Jimmy Hayes were benched for the final 35 minutes of the game and the Devils played with just nine forwards. It was a pretty drastic move but it seemed to pay off as the Devils erased a 1-0 deficit and scored three unanswered to secure the win.

All three players responded well in Monday’s practice and at least Johansson and Zacha will be back in the lineup but maybe not in their original positions.

Rookie Nico Hischier practiced in Zacha’s spot on the top line alongside Taylor Hall and Drew Stafford. It would be Hischier’s first time with Hall and I’m pretty damn excited to see it. I requested this to happen in my season preview of the Devils and it looks like Hynes is now going to oblique. Thank you Mr. Hynes.

Schneider will get the start in net and he’s been excellent with a .924 save percentage.

No line available for this one yet but I’m expecting to see a bit of value on Tampa. I don’t mind playing them here if the price is right.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS @ OTTAWA SENATORS

Projected Goaltenders
Vancouver – Jacob Markstrom/Anders Nilsson (unknown)
Ottawa – Craig Anderson (confirmed)

Injury Report
Vancouver – Edler (out), Eriksson (out), Sutter (questionable)
Ottawa – MacArthur (out), Harpur (out)

The big news here is the anticipated debut of Superman (aka Erik Karlsson) for the Senators but let’s start with the Canucks first. Vancouver dropped a 5-2 decision to Calgary Saturday night for their third straight loss after an opening night win and now hit the road for the first time with a five game trip out East.

It’s been a rough start for the Canucks and the lineup decisions by new head coach Travis Green has left a lot to be desired early on. I just got done praising him last week for finally getting Brock Boeser (their best prospect) into the lineup then he goes and benches Jake Virtanen (their second best prospect). Green’s up-tempo style has been hard to implement with a team full of slow veterans and the Canucks just look out of sorts. Maybe getting out on the road will do them some good.

Meanwhile Jacob Markstrom has let in too many soft goals and it should be time for Anders Nilsson to finally get a start. The Canucks play a back-to-back on Thursday and Friday but I sure would love to see Nilsson get the start here tonight. Vancouver is one of the few teams where I actually rate the backup higher than the starter and whenever Nilsson does get a start, we’ll likely find some value on the Canucks that night.

The Canucks were already without defenseman Alex Edler and have now lost forward Loui Eriksson who suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s game. He won’t accompany the team on this road trip. Brandon Sutter missed Monday’s practice with illness and is questionable for tonight.

One of the keys for Ottawa this season was getting off to a good start for however long Erik Karlsson would be out. Well, the Senators are just one of two remaining undefeated teams in regulation after completing a sweep of Western Canada for the first time in team history to begin the season 3-0-2. Now they play their next five games at home with four of those coming against non-playoff teams from a year ago.

It looks like it will be Vancouver or nothing here tonight. It’s at the edge of my limit right now but I’m going to wait until we get a goaltender confirmation for Vancouver. If Nilsson starts we’ll likely play the Canucks tonight but even if Markstrom starts it’s possible this line gets bet up today with the return of Karlsson and we’ll still get some Vancouver value. The line already accounts for Karlsson playing so it shouldn’t move up, but it might.

COLORADO AVALANCHE @ NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Projected Goaltenders
Colorado – Semyon Varlamov (confirmed)
Nashville – Pekka Rinne/Juuse Saros (unknown)

Injury Report
Colorado – Nemeth (out)
Nashville – Ellis (out), Josi (questionable), Weber (questionable), Bonino (questionable)

Colorado is coming off a 3-1 loss Saturday in Dallas but that was a pretty tough schedule spot for them so we won’t read too much into that one. The Avs are still off to a good start at 4-2-0.

Tyson Jost will return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two games due to a bone bruise in his knee. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth isn’t as lucky as he’ll be out for at least tonight with a shoulder injury sustained in a fight with former teammate Tyler Seguin Saturday night. Rookie Anton Lindholm is expected to enter the lineup on the third pair with Chris Bigras moving up beside Tyson Barrie on the second pair.

Semyon Varlamov will get the start as he continues to look outstanding in his return to full health. He has a .944 save percentage and has allowed just seven goals in his four starts.

The Nashville Predators have dropped all three of their road games but are 2-0 on home ice and have looked a little bit better each game but injury concerns might soon leave them scrambling for help.

Roman Josi has missed the last three games but skated again with the team on Monday and is close to a return. The Preds might also be down another d-man as Yannick Weber missed Saturday’s game with an upper body injury and is questionable for tonight.
The unfortunate news may be that of second line center Nick Bonino who is unlikely to play tonight although he’s listed as questionable. Bonino was unable to finish Saturday’s game and missed Monday’s practice. He was seen leaving the arena with a small ankle brace on and is awaiting further evaluation. Hopefully for Nashville it’s just a mild sprain or something but it sounds like he’s seeking a second opinion which could be real bad. The Predators were thin down the middle to begin with and any extended absence of Bonino may force GM David Poile’s hand to make a move (hello, Matt Duchene?)

My line is with Josi in the lineup and Bonino out, which means there’s no current value on either side. Colorado probably isn’t a bad bet here tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market move this line down but it’s likely a pass for me.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS @ WINNIPEG JETS

Projected Goaltenders
Columbus – Sergei Bobrovsky (confirmed)
Winnipeg – Steve Mason (confirmed)

Injury Report
Columbus – Carlsson (out), Jenner (doubtful)
Winnipeg – Perreault (out), Lowry (out)

Sergei Bobrovsky is in early season Vezina-form and Artemi Panarin has seven points in five games as the Columbus Blue Jackets are off to an impressive 4-1-0 start after a pair of weekend victories against the Rangers and Wild.

Forward Boone Jenner made an appearance on the ice for Monday’s practice and should be close to returning. One beat writer said he’s feeling really good and should be back soon. Being activated today and playing tonight is probably overly optimistic but we’ll see if he skates this morning.

The Winnipeg media was in a panic after the Jets dropped their opening two games but now with three straight wins everything is suddenly all rosy in Paul Mauriceville and a big reason is the play of Nikolaj Ehlers who has been on fire after a five goal, two assist week saw him capture the NHL’s first star of the week.

Connor Hellebuyck has been in net for all three wins but Maurice will go back to Steve Mason tonight. This will be an important game for Mason who was lit up in his first two starts then sat on the bench for three straight watching Hellebuyck right the ship.

The Jets are suddenly banged up now with one big injury in particular. Top-six forward Mathieu Perreault was hurt in Saturday’s game against Carolina and has been placed on IR. He could miss up to four weeks and is a tough loss as this Jets team just doesn’t have the depth to overcome injuries on the top two lines. Rather than bump someone from the bottom six up, Maurice called up rookie Kyle Connor who will slot right into Perreault’s spot on the second line beside Bryan Little and Patrik Laine. This is an excellent move by Maurice and as Connor has big upside and is a much better option than anyone currently on the bottom two lines (who still don’t have an even-strength score between them). This could be a blessing in disguise for the Jets if Connor impresses over the next month. If Connor can slide down into a third line role when Perreault returns it would be a nice overall boost. Adam Lowry and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov are also out for the Jets. I don’t place much value in Kulikov and he’s insignificant to any line movement for me, which is why I don’t have him listed in the injury report above.

This should be a fun game to watch but the line is priced right so we’ll just enjoy this one from the sidelines.

ARIZONA COYOTES @ DALLAS STARS

Projected Goaltenders
Arizona – Adin Hill/Louis Domingue (unknown)
Dallas – Ben Bishop (likely)

Injury Report
Arizona – Chychrun (out), Perlini (out), Raanta (out)
Dallas – no significant injuries

There’s no line available for this game yet and that’s because it’s unclear who Arizona will start in net. Antti Raanta is hurt and did not travel with the team so it’s either Louis Domingue or call-up Adin Hill for still winless Arizona. Normally it would be pretty obvious to start the goalie with NHL experience here but Domingue has been flat out terrible to begin the season dropping all three of his starts with just a .862 save percentage.

As I watched Saturday’s game where Boston blew the doors off the Coyotes by the tune of 6-2, I couldn’t help but think how much this Arizona team looked a lot like last year’s version without Raanta in net. The defense should be better than what we’ve seen based on the names alone, but maybe they just need some time to gel together. Unfortunately, the poor goaltending of Domingue is dragging down the confidence of everyone. And that’s why an AHL call-up might get the start tonight. Adin Hill is fresh off a shutout with Tucson and Tocchet said they want to get a look at him. Marek Langhamer was originally called up after Raanta’s injury but was sent back down in favor of Hill, so the fact they’ve made a swap might be a pretty good indication he starts tonight.

The Dallas Stars are still searching for some consistency after a 2-3-0 start. There’s good signs recently though as Ben Bishop is now 2-1-0 with a .932 save percentage and Jamie Benn has points in three straight. Five of the Stars 11 goals have come on the powerplay as they’ve recorded a marker in each game. Their 5-on-5 play needs to develop more consistency.

Dallas has won nine straight home games against Arizona and it’s hard to imagine them not getting number ten tonight.

My line is with Adin Hill in net. It’s tough to value a goaltender with no NHL experience so I’m going to tread lightly for this game tonight. Unless this line looks badly mispriced, I’ll probably sit this one out.

CAROLINA HURRICANES @ EDMONTON OILERS

Projected Goaltenders
Carolina – Scott Darling/Cam Ward (unknown)
Edmonton – Cam Talbot/Laurent Brossoit (unknown)

Injury Report
Carolina – Stempniak (out), van Riemsdyk (out)
Edmonton – Sekera (out), Draisaitl (out), Caggiula (out)

The Edmonton Oilers were pasted 6-1 by the Senators Saturday night as they lost their third consecutive game after an opening night win. One of the keys for the Oilers to be as successful as last season was the play of Cam Talbot. He was outstanding last year with a .919 save percentage and the Oilers would need that kind of number again this year. Through four games this year, Talbot has just a .880 save percentage and has given up 12 goals in just 182 total minutes as he’s been pulled early twice already.

While Talbot hasn’t been sharp, the blame can’t completely be lumped on him. It was my believe people were underestimating the loss of Andrej Sekera on the Oilers blueline to begin the season and no one has seemed to fill the void. Kris Russell is the leading scorer among their defensemen with two points in four games while Oscar Klefbom is still without a point.

That being said, there’s no way the Oilers are as bad as they’ve looked. They can’t be. Looking at their advanced metrics one could argue the Oilers have been the unluckiest team in the league. They actually are dominating teams when it comes to possession, leading the entire NHL in Corsi at nearly 60% (they’ve trailed almost the entire season so it’s natural to have a higher possession in that case, but still that’s a pretty big number). They also have the fourth lowest PDO in the league, which is generally a luck-based metric that combines the team’s shooting percentage and save percentage. A score of 100 is viewed as normal with anything above generally being a result of good luck while anything below probably has some bad luck attached to it. The Oilers score is 94.46 which is extremely low. Typically these numbers revert to the mean over the course of a season so we can probably expect the Oilers to eventually start getting some better bounces.

Hopefully that’s not tonight though as with the Oilers minus Sekera and Draisaitl, I think this line is badly mispriced. Carolina is also dominating teams in possession and sit third in Corsi and are also one of the unluckiest teams in terms of PDO, so both those metrics kind of cancel each other out tonight.

Goaltenders are undecided as Cam Ward is expected to get the start in one of the next two games while the Oilers may want to give Talbot a breather after his tough start.

Edmonton continues to be priced as the best team in the West and I just simply don’t believe they are close to that right now. With Darling/Talbot, Carolina at anything plus money is the play tonight. If Ward or Brossoit starts, I’ll update the number on Twitter.

BUFFALO SABRES @ VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Projected Goaltenders
Buffalo – Robin Lehner/Chad Johnson (unknown)
Vegas – Malcolm Subban (likely)

Injury Report
Buffalo – Bogosian (out), Josefson (questionable), Okposo (questionable)
Vegas – Marchessault (out), Haula (out), Fleury (out)

The Buffalo Sabres finally earned their first win of the season Sunday night with a 3-1 win in Anaheim. Chad Johnson got the call and was sharp in his debut and I’m not sure if Housley will stick with him or go back to Robin Lehner.

The Sabres reward for their first victory – a day off in Vegas. Buffalo didn’t take to the ice yesterday and instead enjoyed a day off soaking in the local scene. I’ll be honest, I really worry about a young team coming off their first win and then enjoying themselves a little too much thinking they’re over that hump of getting a win. We see it all the time with teams where they are struggling, finally get a big win and feel a little entitled, then lay an egg next game.

I made the joke on Twitter yesterday about how many players would miss curfew last night but it’s really a legitimate concern, in my opinion. It will be interesting to see how focused the team looks in the morning skate.

Kyle Okposo has been sick with the flu and is questionable again tonight. He was finally able to keep some food down yesterday so we’ll see how he feels later today.

The Golden Knights moved to 4-1-0 on the season after Sunday’s 3-1 win versus Boston. It was another night of firsts for Vegas as Malcolm Subban earned his first NHL win and rookies Alex Tuch and Vadim Shipachyov scored in their NHL debuts.

It was a solid team effort in front of Subban as the forwards pinched back a little more than they have been in previous games, helping out defensively. That’s something to keep an eye on as the team moves forward without Marc-Andre Fleury, if the team is going to sit back a bit more to help protect the young Subban. Playing the Under in Vegas games might be a good look.

I think there’s a small bit of value on Vegas tonight but I would expect this line to move up today, so try and lock it in early. Vegas up to -108 is good and if Okposo is ruled out you can play it up to -113. I’ll update the number on Twitter if Chad Johnson starts but it would be good a little higher.

MONTREAL CANADIENS @ SAN JOSE SHARKS

Projected Goaltenders
Montreal – Carey Price (confirmed)
San Jose – Martin Jones (confirmed)

Injury Report
Montreal – Schlemko (out), Plekanec (probable)
San Jose – Martin (out)

The Montreal Canadiens have dropped four straight after a 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto on Saturday night. Struggles continued on the defensive end and Carey Price hasn’t had much help which has led to a tough .885 save percentage.

The Canadiens were hoping to have some help on their California road trip as defenseman David Schlemko was finally healthy and recalled over the weekend but his hand injury is apparently not quite 100% and he did not travel with the team. The Canadiens are expected to roll with the same lines from Saturday night.

San Jose fell to 1-3-0 on their season opening five game homestand and there’s real concern the ship has sailed on the Sharks current window for another championship run.

Defenseman Paul Martin is still out and is a significant underrated loss for this team. Brent Burns hasn’t looked himself and not having his reliable defensive partner beside him hasn’t allowed him to open things offensively as he needs to do. Martin is doubtful for the upcoming road trip, as well, so we may continue to see Burns struggle. The lineup is expected to be the same as last game so Martin Jones will get the start again.

No line available but I’m not expecting a play here. I’ll update on Twitter if things change.

-CHART EXPLANATION-

While I appreciate those of you who take the time to read the whole thing (there’s good info throughout!), the below chart is going to be your key each morning and hopefully it will be easy enough to follow (and hopefully I can explain it well).

Take a quick peek at the chart below. The first column is the rotation number found at the sportsbook for each game. For most of you this probably isn’t important but based on my past experience I know for a few it will be helpful. The second column is obviously each matchup for the night. The third column is the most important and I’ll come back to that in a moment.

The fourth column is the Opener which are the odds each game opened at the offshore sportsbook. I do most of my betting at Pinnacle but since that is unavailable to most Americans I’m going to be quoting odds from BetOnline who, in my opinion, are the most similar to Pinnacle odds for American bettors. It’s always good to have accounts at multiple books anyway so you can take advantage of price discrepancies.

The good thing about how I’m setting this up is it doesn’t matter where you bet your games at, you’re going to be able to know what number is okay to bet and at what point it’s no longer good. If you’re with a local who shades your lines or whatever, you might not always get to bet the same games each day, but you should never have to worry about getting a bad number or making a bad bet and hopefully that’s extremely helpful to you.

The fifth column is the current odds listed at BetOnline as of whatever time is listed below the chart. The last column is what I’m betting for the day and is likely the only column some of you will look at each day. And that’s fine, whatever works best for you, but our goal here is to not just give you a generic pick but rather help you understand the numbers a bit better. This is my first time sharing my info in such a public manner and I’m generally an impatient teacher but I’ll try and help you out as much as possible as we go along.

Back to the third column, “My Line Low/High Cut-off”. This is my current line on each game which I’ve carefully crafted. Rather than it being a single number, my process creates a varying range of where the line should fall when the market closes. If an opener is higher or lower than my range, I can usually count on the line moving toward my cut-off.

If the “Current” odds fall outside my range, then it’s a game we can bet on. If it falls inside the range, the game is a pass for me. Now, while any game that falls even 1 cent outside the range is technically open for a bet, my general rule is to only bet a game that is 8 cents or more outside the range. The higher the current odds are outside my range, the higher the edge is and chance of success.

$60 in FREE Premium Picks

Guaranteed Winners ATS?

Get $60 in FREE premium member picks from Doc’s Sports Service, one of the most trusted names in handicapping since 1971! No salesmen – No obligation

Sign Up Now

Leave a Reply

Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Preview

Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Preview

Air Canada Centre will play host to an Original Six tilt as the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1) welcome the visiting ...
Read More
Montreal Canadiens vs. Los Angeles Kings Matchup Preview 10/18/17

Montreal Canadiens vs. Los Angeles Kings Matchup Preview 10/18/17

Each team's fifth game of the season, the Montreal Canadiens (1-4) and the Los Angeles Kings (4-1) clash at the ...
Read More
blackhawks blues nhl picks

Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues 10/18/17 Betting Odds, Pick & Preview

The highlight game of the evening will be in the Gateway to the West, where the St. Louis Blues host ...
Read More
NHL Picks and Betting Tips October 18, 2017

NHL Picks and Betting Tips October 18, 2017

It’s a small card again tonight with just one line open at this time and it doesn’t look like we’ll ...
Read More
lightning red wings nhl picks

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings 10/16/17 Betting Odds, Pick & Preview

There is only one game on the NHL slate for tonight, as the Tampa Bay Lightning battle it out against ...
Read More