Last Updated: 2018-02-03
We enter the first full week of February with the first full week in the NHL in three weeks. Confused? Don’t be. The NHL All-Star Break carried over into Monday of last week, so we’re back to normal around the league. Well, sort of. The NHL Trade Deadline is near the end of the month, so some teams are looking to position themselves to be buyers and others know that they will be sellers. It creates some uncertain times for the players and their families.
But, the biggest takeaway at this stage of the season is that the league won’t be taking a break for the Olympics. There are a lot of teams playing four games in either six or seven days around the league, which is something we haven’t seen because of the All-Star Break and the shortened weeks, so there could be some tired teams as we approach the weekend. Keep in mind that the Super Bowl marks the end of the NFL season, so those that primarily bet football will be looking to get their fix with the NBA, NHL, and college basketball, so there may be some more opportunities out there.
Here are the NHL situational betting spots for the week ending February 11:
Monday February 5
Anaheim Ducks at Toronto Maple Leafs – The Anaheim Ducks have been on the road since the All-Star Break. They haven’t had any back-to-backs or overly difficult situational spots, though. Monday’s game against Toronto is a pretty standard spot for a team on a road trip, but there aren’t many spots to discuss for Monday. Toronto is playing a fourth game in six days, but the Maple Leafs are starting a homestand. This is one of only two games to find some situational angles with to open the week.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Edmonton Oilers – This is the other one. Tampa Bay has played a similar schedule to Anaheim, but on the opposite side of the continent. The Bolts haven’t played any back-to-backs or bad spots, but have made the swing through Western Canada with stops in Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, and now Edmonton. This is the last game of the trip for the Lightning. Edmonton heads out for the California swing after this, so the expectation should be for them to rally against a premier opponent. On the other hand, Edmonton is inferior to Tampa Bay in every way, so it may not be enough. Monday’s card isn’t all that great, though, so it might be best to prey on some NBA spots and look ahead to the rest of the week in the NHL.
Tuesday February 6
San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche – The Sharks are in a tough spot on Tuesday night against the Avalanche. We’ll see how Colorado is progressing without leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon, but the Avs draw a Sharks team playing a fifth road game in eight nights. San Jose is stopping in Denver to break up the return trip from Raleigh after playing Pittsburgh, Detroit, Columbus, and Carolina out of the All-Star Break. Colorado is making a brief cameo appearance at home before hitting the road again for three games in four nights later this week, so this spot is circled for the Avs. I’d expect a big effort from them and like them a lot in this spot.
Calgary Flames at Chicago Blackhawks – The Flames are really in a funk right now. Entering Saturday’s game against Chicago, Calgary had dropped six straight. This odd home-and-home with two days off in between kicks off a long road stretch for Calgary with four games in six nights this week. They’ll play a bunch of Eastern Conference foes the rest of the week, so this should be a circled matchup against a conference foe and the Rapid Revenge Theory is in play. Chicago has not been a good team for a while, but Corey Crawford is practicing, so the team has some additional incentive to stay afloat until he gets back into the picture. I’m not sure what I’ll do here, but it is an interesting spot.
Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets – The same thing can be said for Tuesday’s Capitals vs. Blue Jackets tilt. This is the start of a home-and-home with two days off in between. Columbus is really down in the dumps right now, as they simply cannot score goals. Washington has not been the dominant force of recent years, but still leads the Metropolitan Division over the hard-charging Penguins. It seems unlikely that Columbus will be in a much better state by puck drop here, but Sergei Bobrovsky always has the chance to be the great equalizer. I’d look for a low-scoring affair here.
Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings – The Bruins play four games in six days this week, three on the road, and with two sets of back-to-backs. This is a division game, so maybe that keeps Boston invested, but a visit to Madison Square Garden for a second straight Original Six game may be the more intriguing matchup. Either way, Boston is quite superior to both of those teams. We’ll see if Tuukka Rask gets the night off here, which could be a deciding factor in how to play the game.
Vegas Golden Knights at Pittsburgh Penguins – The Team of Destiny will play a fifth road game in eight nights as Marc-Andre Fleury makes his emotional return to Pittsburgh. We’ve seen the Golden Knights step up against head coach Gerard Gallant’s former team and against other foes that gave away some of their top players. I’m not so sure it happens here. I think this will be a very hard situation for Fleury. The Penguins will also be affected, as he was a beloved figure in that locker room, but they can’t afford to be sentimental. Vegas has some margin for error and is also in the midst of a miserable road trip. I’ll take Pittsburgh minus whatever the price here.
Wednesday February 7
Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs – Wednesday night’s card is a little slow and the early part of the week is a little slow for situational spots, but this should be a real good game. Nashville is playing four games in six nights away from the Music City this week. Toronto is home all week, so the Maple Leafs have the chance to bank some points. Once again, not a great spot, but a great game to follow.
Boston Bruins at New York Rangers – The Bruins have a back-to-back on Wednesday as they face off with the Rangers. Boston played Tuesday night in Detroit, so it was a late arrival into New York City. Weather could be a factor in the Great Lakes region for teams traveling in and out on Tuesday and Wednesday, so pay attention to those beat writers to see if the Bruins did have some troubles getting out of DTW. The Rangers were waiting and resting up for this one. They are definitely not the better team, but may have the luxury of a backup and a tired Bruins bunch, so they may be worthy of a play.
Thursday February 8
Nashville Predators at Ottawa Senators – I’m just speculating here, but it would not shock me to see Mike Fisher make his NHL return on Thursday in the place where it all started for him. Fisher made his debut at 19 years old for the Senators back during the 1999-00 season. With Nashville in a back-to-back, they could use some depth reinforcements and why not work Fisher into the mix here? That would give Nashville a pretty big emotional lift to get one of their leaders back in the fray. Just wait and see if this comes to fruition because it is a tough spot for Nashville otherwise.
Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks – Six games and 10 days later, the Golden Knights finally wrap up their post-All-Star Break road trip with a matchup against the San Jose Sharks. Interesting, the Sharks are playing their first home game back after a long trip, which is typically a fade spot for a team. A cross-country travel day on Wednesday might be good for Vegas to start heading home, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’d be inclined to lean with Vegas here, but I’ll be curious to see how Tuesday night goes for both teams.
Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks – Dallas is an interesting spot on Thursday. With two days off prior to this game, the Stars find themselves in Chicago for a standalone road game before welcoming the Penguins to Big D on Friday. Chicago has a pretty traditional schedule this week, so there aren’t any bad spots for them. Dallas is a much better team and I’ve been very impressed with their speed, especially up front. Chicago has had a lot of issues with teams like that this season. The spot could be the equalizer here, but I still really prefer Dallas as a team.
Friday February 9
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals – I’ve been grasping at straws a little bit to find some spots this week, but we’ve got a lot coming up over the weekend. Here’s a Rapid Revenge Theory game as the Blue Jackets and Capitals finish up their home-and-home set. The Capitals will be back at home for this one. Columbus will fly into Washington Wednesday night and then fly right back out to host the Devils on Saturday. They can’t overlook any team or take any game for granted, but this is not an ideal spot for them. Washington stays home to play Detroit on Sunday with an afternoon game against the Red Wings, so they are in a better position here.
Vancouver Canucks at Carolina Hurricanes – The Hurricanes are such a hard team to figure out. They rate so well in a lot of advanced metrics, but just can’t get over the hump. Their goaltending is a big reason why. They’re in a good spot here on Friday night, though. The Canucks spend four days in Florida, including two off days, and then stop in Raleigh for the third road game in four nights. This is a good spot to back a Carolina team playing three home games this week.
Calgary Flames at New York Rangers – The Flames will suit up for their third road game in four nights against the Rangers. The Rangers, as we’ve discussed, are really not a good team. Calgary followed up a long winning streak with a long losing streak, so what we can expect from them is really anybody’s guess. The spot here certainly doesn’t favor them a whole lot, that’s for sure.
Los Angeles Kings at Florida Panthers – The Kings open up an East Coast trip by flying into South Florida to battle the Panthers. This is not the worst spot of the week for them, but it is worth looking at how they are heading cross-country to take on a well-rested Florida bunch.
St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets – The Jets are in a pretty good spot on Friday night against the Blues. St. Louis is playing a standalone road game during a run of four games in six nights. The home opponents are Minnesota, Colorado, and Pittsburgh, so those are all worthwhile foes. Obviously Winnipeg is a worthwhile foe, but the Jets have a great home ice advantage and this is already a bad spot for St. Louis. Winnipeg also has two days to prepare for this game. They’re one of my favorite bets of the week.
Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks – It’s hard to find spots to like Edmonton with how this season has gone, but playing a Ducks team off of a long road trip is about as good as it gets. The Oilers also draw the Ducks in a bit of a look-ahead spot with a rivalry game against San Jose on Sunday. I’m not saying Edmonton wins this game a lot, but the implied probability in this game probably won’t match the actual chance for Edmonton to win, so there should be line value on the heavy underdog and I’ll be interested in rolling the dice.
Saturday February 10
New Jersey Devils at Columbus Blue Jackets – The Devils head to Columbus for a standalone road game, but they’ll be in town earlier than the Blue Jackets because they have to play in Washington D.C. the night before. The Devils do return right back home to host Boston on Sunday, but they’re not in the business of overlooking anybody right now. We’ll see if we get a back-to-back from Sergei Bobrovsky or not, but the Blue Jackets simply aren’t a trustworthy team right now. Neither is New Jersey, but the spot may actually favor them a tad with the off day, despite the standalone road game.
Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning – This, however, is a horrible spot for the Kings. They’ll play a back-to-back in the Sunshine State for a third game in four nights. A mid-season trip to Florida is fun for teams in cold-weather climates, but it doesn’t mean much outside of a long trip to play non-conference games for the Kings. It is a business trip in that sense, but they’ll be facing a big, uphill battle against Tampa Bay here. You’ll have to pay for it, but the Bolts should be a good bet on Saturday.
Philadelphia Flyers at Arizona Coyotes – The Flyers make only one trip to Las Vegas and it will be Sunday’s game against the Knights. Will they be looking ahead to Sin City? It’s certainly possible. Philadelphia won’t have much time to have fun. The Flyers have to be back home on Tuesday to battle the Devils. That means that they might have a few hours Saturday night and a few hours Sunday afternoon without a morning skate in the back-to-back. My guess is that they’ll be in a hurry to hop on the plane, so the Coyotes could be a very live desert dog in this one.
Colorado Avalanche at Carolina Hurricanes – I’ll be looking for some line value on Carolina for Saturday’s visit from Colorado. The Avs will head to town for the front end of a back-to-back with Sunday’s trip to Buffalo looming. It is an 8 p.m. ET puck drop, which is kind of weird in Raleigh, so it may throw the Canes off a bit, but a Western Conference team going to Raleigh just seems like a bad spot. It’s so off the beaten path as far as hockey destinations go. I’m not sure we get a real good effort from the Avs here.
Sunday February 11
Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars – The Canucks effectively play four games in 5.75 days this week because they’ll have a 3 p.m. local time puck drop in Dallas on Sunday. This road trip takes the Canucks to Florida, Tampa, Raleigh, and Dallas as they work their way back towards home. Dallas will be laying a hefty price here, so there may not be a ton of value, but it is not a good spot at all for Vancouver.
Philadelphia Flyers at Vegas Golden Knights – I think we can chalk Sunday’s game up to a schedule loss for the Flyers. Philadelphia won’t have any time to have fun in Vegas. They might get Sunday night and fly out Monday afternoon, but they won’t have much time Saturday night with the back-to-back. The Knights are playing their first home game after a long trip, but they do have a good practice slot on Saturday to get back in action on Sunday. They’ll be a sizable favorite back at T-Mobile Arena, so maybe a Stars/Knights parlay could be in the works.
Colorado Avalanche at Buffalo Sabres – The Avalanche and Sabres will both be in a back-to-back with travel on Sunday. Buffalo has the shorter trip back from Boston, but Colorado is clearly the better team. The Avs will head back home after the game, so maybe there will be a little bit of a look-ahead to returning to Denver. Both teams could very well be taking the ice off of losses, so we’ll have to see how the teams set up going into Sunday’s matchup.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational betting articles every week at BangTheBook.com!
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