Last Updated: 2017-12-03
We’ve heard a lot of talk in recent years about commissioners trying to help out the players with more downtime. We see that on display in the NHL this week. Only four teams will play four games out of the seven days. We’ll have some teams with carryover situations that will play congested schedules, but this week, we don’t see a whole lot of teams being taxed. This is an important development for situational bettors and I have found through this article each week that there are fewer NHL situational spots than in previous seasons.
That isn’t to say that we can’t find any, it’s just that they are a little bit tougher to find and may not hold as much weight as they have in past seasons. Because of that, it has been a trickier NHL season. Using the schedule as a guide is something that can be very beneficial, but keep in mind that these suggested plays are not absolutes. They are a starting point for handicapping a game in deeper detail.
Here are the NHL situational betting spots for the week ending December 10:
Monday December 4
New York Islanders at Florida Panthers – With a light Monday slate, there aren’t a ton of good betting spots. We could have one in Sunrise. The Panthers played four games in six days with two back-to-backs and two days off in between. They spent Sunday’s off day flying from Raleigh back home to South Florida. This could be a bit of a flat spot against an Islanders team that only played twice last week and had two days off prior to this game. This starts a run of four road games in six days for the Islanders, who will be looking to start off on the right foot. The Panthers have been a disappointment overall this season and could very well disappoint again here.
San Jose Sharks at Washington Capitals – The Capitals host the Sharks on Monday night and it will be the third road game in four nights for the Sharks. They visited Florida and Tampa Bay on Friday and Saturday. They will be heading home after this one with a couple of days off before hosting Carolina. The Capitals just can’t seem to string a whole lot of solid performances together, but had a nice win over Columbus on Saturday and a light workload last week. This looks like a good spot to back the Caps, especially against a San Jose team with a decent road record that should keep the price down a bit.
Tuesday December 5
Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars – The Predators are in a tricky spot on Tuesday night. This game against Dallas is the tail end of a back-to-back and it is also a standalone road game. Typically, these are the types of spots that we want to try to isolate. Nashville hosts Boston on Monday. This would also be the fourth game in six nights and the fifth game in eight nights. It is the third game in four nights for Dallas, fourth in six, and fifth in eight as well. Dallas would be the preferred side here on account of being at home. We’ve also seen Dallas a little bit underpriced lately in the market, which could be the case again here.
Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings – Might we have a good spot to back a road dog here? The Minnesota Wild play the very disjointed California swing this week, but visiting Los Angeles on Tuesday, Anaheim on Friday, and San Jose on Sunday. The Kings are returning home after a long road trip with four games in six days last week and good results along the way. This feels like a bit of a flat spot against a Minnesota team with a couple of days to get out to LA and get situated. We should be catching a nice dog price on a Minnesota team that is much better than their sixth-place standing in the Central Division would indicate.
St. Louis Blues at Montreal Canadiens – We’ve got what amounts to a standalone road game on Tuesday night for the St. Louis Blues. In all likelihood, the Blues left Minnesota on Saturday and went home for Sunday before flying up to Montreal on Monday to battle the Canadiens in this one. With Dallas at home on Thursday in a division matchup, this isn’t the best of spots for the Blues, who have been one of the league’s top teams this season. Montreal is playing much better of late, while the Blues have struggled. This might be a good spot to snag a home dog against an opponent looking ahead to a couple of division points and a quick return trip home.
Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights – Yeah, we know about how this spot goes. The Ducks have Monday off. There was no reason for Anaheim to go home after playing four road games in six nights last week, so the players should have two nights in Las Vegas. That’s not good for a team. With so many injury problems and other issues, maybe the Ducks are taking it as a business trip. My guess is that they are not fully invested in doing that off of a long roadie. This spot screams Vegas or nothing, even with a struggling Vegas team.
Wednesday December 6
Philadelphia Flyers at Edmonton Oilers – The Oilers host the Flyers on Wednesday night after three days off. The Flyers are making their only appearance at Rexall Place and are doing the Western Canada swing with Calgary on Monday, Edmonton on Wednesday, and Vancouver on Thursday. Edmonton is such a massive disappointment this year, but so is Philadelphia, as the Flyers had dropped 10 straight coming into this week. A well-rested Edmonton team about to embark on a road trip appears to be a good bet in this situation, but we’ll have to see what sort of price we’re forced to pay.
Ottawa Senators at Anaheim Ducks – Here’s another spot to go against the Ducks. This one is a better spot than Tuesday. Tuesday’s spot feels circumstantial. Wednesday’s spot feels more tangible. The Senators are starting the California swing with the traditional three games in four nights. The Ducks, though, are coming home from that long road trip from the previous week and are coming home from at least two, if not three, days in Vegas. The Senators aren’t setting the world on fire right now with their play, but they have to be the preferred side here.
Thursday December 7
Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens – Another good spot this week for the Habs comes on Thursday with the visiting Flames in town. After playing Toronto and the up-tempo style of the Maple Leafs, the Flames make the short trek to Quebec to battle the Canadiens. The Flames will likely roll with the backup goaltender playing a third game in four nights and with a fourth in six nights on the horizon against Vancouver on Saturday. Montreal hasn’t really played like a team capable of stepping up in these favorable spots, so we’ll have to see how things go, but they’d be the look.
Carolina Hurricanes at San Jose Sharks – The first game back off of a long road trip for the Sharks comes following two days off. The Carolina Hurricanes are that opponent for San Jose. The Canes will be accustomed to the Pacific Time Zone with Monday’s travel day to Vancouver and Tuesday’s game against the Canucks. This isn’t a back-to-back or anything like that, so it isn’t a bad spot for the Canes. Despite a rather pedestrian record, this is a team that rates pretty well in the advanced metrics and does play a tough style, especially in the neutral zone. This might be a spot with some line value on the road dog.
Ottawa Senators at Los Angeles Kings – I’d be looking to back the heavy chalk in this one. The Senators catch a pretty good spot on Wednesday, but the polar opposite on Thursday. It is a short trip from Anaheim to Los Angeles, but it is still a back-to-back while adjusting to the time zones. The Kings have that first game back on Tuesday to get things squared away. They don’t have a look-ahead to Carolina on Saturday. Play ‘em straight or pair them with another reasonable favorite, like a Penguins team in a decent spot.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins – Speaking of the Penguins, we can hit on that one as well. The Islanders will be playing their third game in four nights after playing in Florida the previous two games. The Penguins are really getting it going and only play the inconsistent Rangers prior to this one. As a money line parlay piece with the Kings, you should be able to cash a decent ticket that should be in the +130 to +140 range.
Friday December 8
Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils – We got us a Rapid Revenge Theory game on Friday night in New Jersey. The Devils host the Blue Jackets after visiting Nationwide Arena on Tuesday. This is a good spot to look for recency bias. Columbus is a very highly-rated team, as well they should be. New Jersey is still a team that people are skeptics about because they weren’t expected to be good, but have been at or near the top of the Metropolitan Division most of the season.
New York Rangers at Washington Capitals – This spot isn’t particularly noteworthy, but we can use this game as a vessel to look at something worth monitoring. The Rangers entered this week with 18 home games and just eight road games. They are 11-5-2 at home and 3-5-0 on the road, with Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh pending. A few teams have played 13 or 14 home games, but nobody has played 18. The Rangers as a road fade in those three in four and four in six spots might be a good look. They just aren’t used to the rigors of the road for this season.
Saturday December 9
New York Islanders at Boston Bruins – The Islanders appear to be a fade again in this spot against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins will be fresh off of hosting the lowly Arizona Coyotes. The Islanders will be playing their fourth road game in six nights. Surprisingly, we only have one afternoon game on Saturday, and it doesn’t feature the Bruins, so that might be a break for the Islanders. That appears to be the only break.
Vegas Golden Knights at Dallas Stars – Do we get a little bit of complacency from Dallas in this spot? The Stars just knocked off the Knights last Tuesday in Las Vegas with a 3-0 win and controlled the pace and tempo of that game. Do we get a bit of a spot where the Stars overlook the Knights? Coming off of games against Nashville and St. Louis, and with a long road trip to the Eastern Conference on the horizon, we certainly could. We’ve seen Knights lines adjust a bit, especially on the road, so maybe we catch a good price here.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins – Normally standalone road games create a bad spot for teams. That is far from the case here. The Penguins are going to get the best effort that the Maple Leafs have to offer on Hockey Night in Canada. This is a big one with Sid the Kid on HNIC and a Maple Leafs team that can definitely hang with the best of the best. I don’t particularly know how this game will play out. Neither team is in a bad spot here with Friday off. However, it will segue us into Sunday.
Sunday December 10
Edmonton Oilers at Toronto Maple Leafs – The Oilers have not played well this season, but they are catching Toronto in a terrible spot. This is a non-conference game as the tail end of a back-to-back for Toronto. We’ll likely see the backup goaltender. The Oilers are coming in on a back-to-back of their own, but spent four of the seven days of the week idle. There is a built-in letdown factor here against Edmonton off of playing Pittsburgh and that’s what we’ll look to play on. The Oilers should be a significant dog here and there should be value.
Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks – About a week in California comes to an end for the Wild in this one. They’ll head back to the Twin Cities to host Calgary on Tuesday. The Sharks have three days off after this game. This is the tail end of a home back-to-back for San Jose. I’m not sure which situational angles are more prevalent here. This may be a game where nobody really has an edge, but there are some talking points, so it’s up to you to decide.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!