Last Updated: 2017-11-12
Looking for value is a never-ending game in the NHL. The nature of the schedule means that we have games every day, except for the holiday break for Christmas. While it can be a grind and a hardship, it also means that we always have chances to boost our bankrolls with smart investments in pucks.
That’s what we do every week here at BangTheBook with this NHL situational betting article. You don’t have to know the players. You don’t have to know the teams. We’re isolating situations that look favorable and then can take a deeper look into the game. Like anything else, these are a guide. No play is a lock. But, like power ratings or other methods in which we “circle” games, you can use the schedule to focus on these games and then decide if the price is right.
Here are the NHL situational betting spots for the week ending November 19:
Monday November 13
St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames – The Flames and Blues meet in one of just two games on Monday night. St. Louis has a strange road trip through Western Canada this week. Normally, we see teams play Calgary and Edmonton in a back-to-back while in Alberta, but the Blues play Monday in Calgary and then don’t play again until Thursday in Edmonton. Calgary has three days off before this one. St. Louis has a travel day to get situated. This looks like a pretty straightforward handicap, but I’d look to fade St. Louis on Thursday after a couple days in Oiler country.
Dallas Stars at Carolina Hurricanes – It is rare for the road team to be in a better spot in Raleigh than the home team, but that is the case here. The Stars have two days off prior to this game, while this is the third game in four nights for the Hurricanes. Dallas is playing in Sunrise the next night against Florida, but this is a pretty good chance to grab two points against a struggling team to start off a road trip and a stretch with three games in four nights. More often than not, Carolina is the preferred side at home, but it is the road team here that has a better spot.
Tuesday November 14
Vegas Golden Knights at Edmonton Oilers – The Golden Knights are in a play-on spot for Tuesday as far as I’m concerned. After a pretty poor Eastern Conference swing, the Knights got to return home, settle in, play Winnipeg, and then enjoy a couple of days off at home before hitting the road again. Keep in mind that expansion draft situations are very unique. All of these players had to relocate before the season. They’ve all had to adjust to a new place. It can be hard. Vegas had a lot of home games to get comfortable and then struggled on the road. Now, with a fresh focus and a desire to start winning on the road, I think we get a max effort tonight. On the other hand, this is the first game back at home for Edmonton after a long road trip against the Eastern Conference. I’d take the shot on the big Vegas price here with an Oilers team trying to find its identity.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens – See if you can figure out what Columbus’s itinerary is like. The Blue Jackets played Detroit on Saturday night in Motown. With two days off before this game, it wouldn’t shock me if they went home on Sunday and then went back out on the road. If not, two days off in Montreal is a long time to sit around. Still, the Habs are bad. Really bad. The Blue Jackets are having some uncertain times right now with a lot of trade rumors circulating about them and their collection of defensemen. Tuesday may not be a spot one way or another, but follow this Blue Jackets bunch closely. There is a lot going on with this team behind the scenes that may leak onto the bench and subsequently onto the ice.
Philadelphia Flyers at Minnesota Wild – The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play on Tuesday because these two teams just played on Saturday in Philadelphia. It is weird to see these two teams engaged in a home-and-home. Typically, we see those with close geographic rivals that play each other more than twice. This game starts a short two-game trip for the Flyers and it starts a two-game homestand for the Wild. There aren’t any other scheduling spots other than the home-and-home, but we’ll have to see how the teams adjust from Saturday’s result.
Wednesday November 15
Calgary Flames at Detroit Red Wings – The Rapid Revenge Theory comes into play again on Wednesday. The Flames topped the Red Wings 6-3 this past Thursday at the Saddledome. The Red Wings now host the Flames at Little Caesars Arena. The Red Wings outshot the Flames badly in the first game and used backup Petr Mrazek, who allowed five goals on 33 shots. With three days off before this one, the Wings should be ready to go. For Calgary, it’s a new building with new sightlines for the goaltenders. The Red Wings have played 12 road games against six home games, so they have to be happy to be back at home and are a good look with just three games on the card.
Boston Bruins at Anaheim Ducks – The Bruins head west to battle the Ducks as Boston kicks off that stretch of three games in four nights in California. Anaheim is getting a very unbalanced schedule at this point with a lot of home games, so they’ll likely be a road fade soon, especially without Ryan Getzlaf. Boston is a team that hasn’t played many road games thus far, so they may be a bit of a fade team in that spot on this trip. It can be tough to get the legs going with that long trip and Boston is trying to work Brad Marchand back into the mix. You’ll be laying a lighter price on a Ducks team without Getzlaf, but the Ducks have a couple days off beforehand to figure out some line combos and then have three days off after.
Thursday November 16
Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning – A homecoming for Ben Bishop is on tap for Thursday’s game between the Stars and Lightning. Tampa Bay made the decision to go with the younger and cheaper goaltending option in Andrei Vasilevskiy. Dallas is off to a slow start, but Tampa Bay is not, with one of the best records in the league. We should see a motivated Bishop here, but Tampa Bay is simply the better team. Don’t get caught up in the narratives here. This is the third game in four nights, all with travel, for the Stars as well, so it is a difficult situational spot. It’s Tampa Bay or nothing here.
New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs – Two well-rested teams square off at Air Canada Centre on Thursday. The Devils have three days off before this one and the Maple Leafs have four days off. What does that mean? Well, for the Maple Leafs, it means Auston Matthews has a chance to get healthy. For the Devils, it doesn’t mean much, except for a little bit of rest. The Devils are one of the best stories of the season, but many are looking for that bubble to burst. You can bet that we’ll see a move on Toronto based on the overnights, especially if Matthews can go. Be ready to jump in quickly.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – The Senators take the ice for the first time since playing in the NHL’s Global Series against the Avalanche in Stockholm, Sweden. They’ll have four days off to get back into a rhythm and get situated. This is a standalone road game for the Penguins between Buffalo and Chicago. You can bet that the Penguins will be ready for that Chicago game. To add to the intrigue of this game, it is a playoff revenge game for Ottawa, who was bounced in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Penguins. I think Ottawa is the right side here.
Washington Capitals at Colorado Avalanche – The Avalanche return home from their Sweden excursion to host the visiting Capitals. This is a true flat spot game for the Capitals. Head coach Barry Trotz makes his once-a-year stop in Nashville to visit old friends and reconnect with a place that meant so much to him and his family. Now the Capitals head further west before coming right back home to host the Wild and former head coach Bruce Boudreau. Both teams coming back from Sweden are in terrific spots on Thursday.
Friday November 17
New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets – A light two-game Friday schedule is highlighted by the Metropolitan Division clash between the Rangers and the Blue Jackets. The Rangers come in off of a game against the Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets come in off of two days off. The spot sets up a little bit better for Columbus, but mostly because the Rangers are a pretty bad team. With some head coaching questions regarding the status of Alain Vigneault, the Rangers are dealing with more than inefficient play. That makes it hard to go out and perform.
Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings – The Red Wings catch another good spot here in this one. The Sabres host Carolina the following night, so this is something of a standalone road game because the Sabres have two days off before battling the Red Wings. Detroit, meanwhile, gets to sit and chill at home. The Sabres haven’t been able to get on the right track just yet with first-year head coach Phil Housley, but things have gradually gotten better. I’m not sure how they’ll stack up here, but with the quick turnaround at home, the spot favors Detroit.
Saturday November 18
Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks – Here’s one of those obvious spots, as the Bruins play their third game in four nights to wrap up the California swing. The Sharks have a pretty light week with three days off and then a visit from the Panthers. San Jose will probably be a money line parlay piece with several of the other options out there with a big NHL card plus college football and college hoops.
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators – The Avs go right back out on the road for a couple games this weekend against the Predators and the Red Wings. Coming off of the Sweden trip and off of a standalone home game, this looks like a bit of a tough spot against Nashville. The Predators are home until the Thanksgiving holiday, so this isn’t a bad spot for them in any way.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens – The Original Six rivalry is rekindled on Hockey Night in Canada between Toronto and Montreal. This is a big one for both sides, but the Maple Leafs are clearly the better team right now. We’ll see them as a road favorite and they should be. The Canadiens have a good confidence builder game against Arizona on Thursday, but the confidence will probably be short-lived. You could pair the Leafs with the Sharks for a nice little parlay price.
Florida Panthers at Los Angeles Kings – After a night off in Los Angeles, the Panthers get back on the ice against the Kings for the second game in that stretch of three games in four nights in California. The Kings are home throughout the week and then go to Las Vegas for Sunday’s matchup with the Golden Knights. This could be a spot to take the Panthers. The Kings play at 1 p.m. PT and then get to fly into Vegas and have a Saturday night to have some fun. They may be halfway to the plane by the first intermission. Florida will be a massive dog, so this one may be worth looking at for an upset. There are quite a few day games today, so keep an eye on those.
Sunday November 19
New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes – Here’s that favorable home spot for Carolina. This is a back-to-back with travel for both teams, but Carolina is going home and the Islanders are not. The Hurricanes play Saturday at 7 in Buffalo and the Islanders play at 7 in Tampa Bay. Both teams will get to Raleigh late and then have a quick turnaround to play at 5 p.m. ET. A spot like that will almost always favor the team coming home.
Colorado Avalanche at Detroit Red Wings – Detroit is in a very good spot on Sunday. The Red Wings play on Friday, but not on Saturday. Colorado plays Saturday night in Nashville at 8 p.m. ET and will lose an hour on the late-night flight to DTW. This game has a 6 p.m. puck drop. So, Colorado will go from Sweden to Denver (Mountain Time) to Nashville (Central Time) to Detroit (Eastern Time) and play four consecutive games in a different time zone, including travel outside of North America. It’s hard to see much left in the tank, even with the extra days off coming back from Sweden.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational spots every week at BangTheBook.com!