Last Updated: 2017-11-22
Business as usual returns in the NHL as we head on into the month of December. Everybody had the Thanksgiving holiday off, but what happened as a result was that a lot of teams played three games in four nights on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The schedule is a bit more spread out this week.
Honestly, it has been harder to find advantageous NHL situational betting angles this season. The additional off days added to the schedule have taken away some of our edges. We’ll see if it continues or if the off days are imbalanced with the league looking ahead to playoff races after the All-Star Break. What we do know this week is that the Blackhawks play five games in seven days, which is exceedingly rare in the NHL. That means that we’ll see them a lot in this article.
Here are the NHL situational betting spots for the week ending December 3:
Monday November 27
Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks – Let’s go ahead and start with Chicago. The Blackhawks play five games this week with alternating home/road games. Monday’s game is at home against the Ducks. Tuesday’s game is in Nashville. This is the front end of a back-to-back for a Chicago team that just returned from Florida, so it is a standalone home game. Anaheim had one day off to go from California to the Windy City to kick off a tough stretch with four road games in six nights. Both of these teams need to start banking wins, but the Blackhawks are in better shape on the injury front. With a big week on tap, this looks like a good spot to back Chicago. Both teams will want to set the tone for a long week, but the Blackhawks are at home and Anaheim is playing outside of the state of California for the first time since October 29.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens – The Blue Jackets played in Montreal on November 14, so we can make a case for the Rapid Revenge Theory here. Columbus won that thriller 2-1 in a shootout. This is a unique spot for Columbus. The Blue Jackets will have two days off and then play this standalone road game before hosting division rival Carolina the next night. We’ll probably see Joonas Korpisalo in this spot, which may or may not give Montreal an advantage, since the backup goaltender usually forces a team to give a little bit more effort. The spot certainly favors Montreal, though, so read the press clippings and get an idea of how the teams are going into this game.
Tuesday November 28
Florida Panthers at New York Rangers – The Panthers are in a back-to-back here after playing the Devils on Monday night. The Rangers are such a bad team that advantageous situational spots just don’t seem to mean the same to them. The record doesn’t really indicate all of the underlying problems with this team. That being said, the Rangers have played very well at Madison Square Garden. I think they are a little bit of a fraud, though. The Panthers have too much talent to keep struggling the way that they are. I think we may see the road team with some value here, despite the tough spot with a back-to-back. Unlike most back-to-backs, the travel isn’t a big deal here.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres – This is one of my favorite spots of the week. The Eastern Conference-leading Lightning take on the Sabres on the heels of road games against Washington and Pittsburgh. This is the third road game in four nights and clearly looks like a flat spot as the front end of a back-to-back with a flight to Boston after the game. Buffalo has two days off prior to this game. Home dogs in really good spots are an angle that I love to play in the NHL and we’ve got that here and it couldn’t really set up any better.
San Jose Sharks at Philadelphia Flyers – Sure. The Sharks fly across the country to play the Flyers on Tuesday. They’ll be off for two days before playing in Florida. Obviously this is not a great spot for San Jose. It isn’t the best of spots for the Flyers, though, as this is the back end of a back-to-back after playing Pittsburgh in the Steel City on Monday night. I’m not quite sure what side to like more for this spot. It is certainly a shock to the system for the Sharks, but the Flyers could be in a letdown spot. If Philadelphia plays poorly against the Penguins, look to back them in a bounce back role here.
Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators – A couple of one-goal games so far in the head-to-head series between the Blackhawks and Predators should mean that we see a quality game here. The Predators swept the Blackhawks out of the postseason last year. This will be the first game between these two in Nashville since that playoff series. With the back-to-back with travel for Chicago, the spot clearly favors Nashville.
Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights – The Stars have three days off before this game, so it wouldn’t be a big shock if the players get a little bit of a reward and get to have a couple of nights in Sin City. Vegas has played extremely well at home, which may just be variance, or it may have something to do with the endless number of things to do in Las Vegas that can distract from the game. This looks like a solid spot for the host squad.
Wednesday November 29
Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins – The fourth road game in six nights and the second back-to-back in that span for the Tampa Bay Lightning looks like a really bad spot on the surface. If Tuesday night plays out how I expect, though, we’ll be looking at a buy sign for the Bolts. They’ll look to rally at the end of the trip before heading home to face San Jose on Saturday. This could end up being a good spot to back Tampa Bay. We’ll just have to see how Tuesday plays out before making that determination. Boston has a couple of days off prior to this game and just two games this week, so a slow start wouldn’t be a big surprise.
Winnipeg Jets at Colorado Avalanche – The Jets have a standalone road game in Denver on Wednesday. This isn’t that bad of a spot, given the day off before and after and the fact that the Vegas Golden Knights are in town on Friday, so there aren’t any look-ahead angles. Still, Colorado has reestablished a home ice presence and we need to respect that going forward because this is a team that was downright awful at home (and on the road) last season.
Thursday November 30
Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings – An Original Six home-and-home kicks off Thursday night with the Habs in Motown. Detroit will follow Montreal back for Saturday’s game at the Bell Centre. This seems like a throwaway game for Montreal. Coming off of a geographic rivalry game against Ottawa, it is tough to see the Habs being up for this one just to return home and play the same team a couple nights later. Detroit isn’t a powerhouse by any means, so this will be a very reasonable number and it seems reasonable to take the Red Wings.
Los Angeles Kings at Washington Capitals – With each passing day, the Capitals get closer to being healthy. They’ll have four days off before the Kings come to town. Los Angeles has been an analytics darling this season, so the Kings have been pumped up a bit in the betting markets. On the other hand, the markets are down on the Capitals. I think this line, and its movement, will surprise some people. I’d be inclined to play the Kings here. Four days off isn’t always a good thing for a team. Players want to play. Practice is boring. The Kings aren’t in a terrible spot. They’ll fly in from Detroit the day before. They do play a conference game in St. Louis the next night, but a game against Alex Ovechkin always sparks some intensity. I’d look to back the Kings here.
Arizona Coyotes at Calgary Flames – The Coyotes are really, really awful. Historically awful. This spot, though, seems conducive to taking a shot on the enormous underdog. This game is sandwiched between a visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs and one from provincial rival Edmonton. With a day off before and after, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see a flat spot from Calgary here. The price should certainly be right with nobody interested in backing Arizona. We could see a really big line here and one that Calgary probably doesn’t deserve.
Friday December 1
New Jersey Devils at Colorado Avalanche – This game is an example of why following team beat writers is so important. Normally a road game in altitude is a bad thing for an Eastern Conference team not used to the conditions. New Jersey has three days off before this game, though. Will the Devils fly in a couple of days early to try and adjust? If they do that, maybe it mitigates some of the altitude factor, and the time change as well. If they treat it like a regular road game, the balance likely swings back in Colorado’s favor. These are the types of things that you need to research to try and grab some edges on these games.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres – The Rapid Revenge Theory hits the board again with a home-and-home between the Penguins and the Sabres. Buffalo will host Friday night’s game and the Penguins will host Saturday’s tilt. The Penguins have three days off before this one. Buffalo has two. We should get a max effort from both teams. The Penguins will be a road favorite here and then we’ll have to pay attention on Saturday to see how much the line adjusts, on top of the home ice advantage switch. There probably isn’t an angle for this game, but it is good to keep it in mind for Saturday’s game.
San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers – The Sharks will have a little bit of downtime in Florida, which would generally be something nice for a team as the calendar flips to December, but the Sharks already play near the coast and probably a nicer coast at that. This is such an odd spot for a team to play on the East Coast and then have three days off. I’m not sure if that means we see tired legs from the Sharks, but a first period bet on the Panthers does make some sense, especially with them coming off of a little bit of a road trip early in the week.
Anaheim Ducks at Columbus Blue Jackets – Never underestimate the power of travel. The Ducks visit Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, and Nashville this week. What is the difference with Columbus? It is in the Eastern Time Zone. Sure, an hour may not mean that much of a difference, but for a team playing outside of California for a sustained period of time for the first time in a month, every little deviation from the norm adds up. I really like Columbus in this spot, especially as the only game outside of conference for the Ducks this week.
Saturday December 2
Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars – Another Rapid Revenge Theory spot is on the board here between the Blackhawks and the Stars. The Stars and Blackhawks just played on Thursday night at the United Center. Now the venue shifts to Big D, where the Blackhawks play their fourth game in six nights. This is a standalone road game for the Blackhawks and a spot where I would certainly look to go against them.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals – The Capitals will be waiting on the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets will be getting in late after Friday’s game against the Ducks. The spot certainly favors a Washington team that has had a light week. This will be the fourth game in six days for the Jackets and the second back-to-back in that span. We’ll have to see how oddsmakers price this one, but I’ll be waiting for Columbus money to drive the number down before playing back at Washington. Remember, the Capitals are still priced like their reputation, but their reality is not their reputation this season.
Sunday December 3
Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche – Obvious spot is obvious. Dallas plays the back end of a back-to-back in the altitude of Denver. Colorado will be rested with Saturday’s off day. You know what to do here.
Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks – The long week for the Blackhawks comes to an end with their fifth game in seven days. This game is no picnic for the Kings either, as they play their fourth road game in six nights. I would expect heavy legs for both teams, so the under has to be a consideration. Depending on how the week goes for both teams, I may wind up with a side opinion as well. This is not a back-to-back for the Kings, so maybe that helps a little bit on their side. There will be a lot of angles to consider for this one.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational betting angles every week at BangTheBook.com!