Last Updated: 2017-11-05
It’s hard to believe that nearly 20 percent of the regular season is over for some NHL teams already. Time just seems to be flying by, but we are more than a month into the campaign at this point. The excitement of a new season has started to wear off and teams are starting to settle into a rhythm. Basically, we’re starting to see what teams are and what they are probably going to be for the majority of the year. There are some outliers on the positive and negative side, but we have a good idea of what we are working with.
The great equalizer in these daily winter sports is the schedule. The schedule creates opportunities each and every week for teams to fall victim to bad situational spots. We’ve had a lot of success isolating those in past seasons and we’re off to a good start with them this season as well.
Here are the NHL situational betting spots for the week ending November 12:
Monday November 6
Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers – The Blue Jackets are in a tricky spot on Monday night against the New York Rangers. They have two days off prior to this game, which is the front end of a back-to-back with Tuesday’s game against the Predators coming up. It is a division game, so it should get the team’s full effort, but this comes after a swing through the Sunshine State to battle Florida and Tampa Bay. Interestingly enough, it will be a similar setup for the Rangers, who played Tampa Bay and Florida opposite the nights that Columbus did. The Rangers are a pretty bad team this season, but this might be a spot to look them up as a home underdog.
Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs – The Golden Knights spent a lot of time with the comforts of home before embarking on this long road trip that started last Monday. The fifth game in eight nights is this one against Toronto. Toronto is not a good team to face when fatigued. This, however, is the first home game back for the Maple Leafs off of a pretty grueling four games in six days stretch with the three California teams and the St. Louis Blues. Toronto will be a very big favorite, but the Knights might not be a bad look with the Maple Leafs in a less noticeable, yet compromising, spot. The goaltending situation for Vegas is pretty dire, though, which is another checkmark for the Leafs. Maybe it is a game to stay away from. But, this is how you want to handicap games. Look at all angles.
Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars – The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play between the Jets and Stars on Monday night. The Jets rolled 5-2 over the Stars in Manitoba last Thursday. The Stars now have a quick shot at retribution at American Airlines Center. This is the second game back at home for Dallas, so they should be fully focused and ready to go. For the Jets, it is the start of a lengthy road trip. Those spots can be good for a team, as they look to set the tone for the trip, but I’d look Dallas here with the revenge angle in play.
Tuesday November 7
Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens –The Knights are wrapping up this grueling road trip with a back-to-back. They’ll be back home again on Friday to take on Winnipeg. Montreal is in the first game back after a long trip, which, as we’ve discussed, isn’t a great spot. The Canadiens are quite bad and Carey Price is now dealing with a lower-body injury, so Montreal may not even have that big advantage in net. There’s a chance that this game serves as a rallying point for Vegas, especially if Monday doesn’t go well. All signs point to take Montreal, but wait and see how Monday plays out first.
Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres – This could be a flat spot extraordinaire for the Washington Capitals. They have already been hurt by injuries this season and are dealing with some depth woes. This is a back-to-back after hosting the Coyotes on Monday, who are the worst team in the league. Buffalo isn’t a whole lot better. On Friday, the Capitals host the Penguins and those games always mean just a little bit more. It seems unlikely that we’ll get Washington’s best effort here, but they’ll be a clear road favorite. Buffalo enters the week with one home win in five games. They’ll want this one and I think they’ll get it.
St. Louis Blues at New Jersey Devils – This is a hard game. New Jersey is the biggest surprise in the NHL and is playing at a level that probably isn’t sustainable. The Blues, however, are in a standalone road game spot with two days off prior and one day off after. Maybe New Jersey’s record gets St. Louis up for this game. The Blues are also playing at a very high level. It does seem more sustainable for St. Louis, but the Devils have a really good coach in John Hynes. We’ll have to see how long New Jersey can keep this up, but I can tell you that we’ll probably see a move against New Jersey on this line. If you like the Blues, get it early. If you like the Devils, wait it out.
Wednesday November 8
Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks – Tampa Bay kicks off the California swing on Wednesday with a visit to San Jose. They’ll face the Kings on Thursday and the Ducks on Sunday, which is a little bit unique. This could be a flat spot for the Sharks. They’ve been sitting around at home with three days off prior to this one and have two more days off following this game. With the Bolts looking to set the tone for the road team, taking them as a decent road dog isn’t a bad look.
Thursday November 9
Chicago Blackhawks at Philadelphia Flyers – After sitting around for four days, the Flyers finally get back on the ice and face the Blackhawks. Philadelphia got shut out by the Blackhawks last Wednesday, so we have a bit of the Rapid Revenge Theory in play. Philadelphia has actually been pretty good this season, but doesn’t really have the record to show it. Since the 15-2 barrage to start the year with wins over the Penguins and the Blue Jackets, the Blackhawks have been extremely mediocre. They still get respect in the betting markets based on reputation. I’d expect Philadelphia to be ready here with the recent matchup looming large. The Blackhawks also had three days off, so their legs might take a little while to get going on the East Coast.
Minnesota Wild at Montreal Canadiens – The Canadiens host the Wild on Thursday, as Minnesota plays its third game in four nights, all on the road. Montreal has a pretty light week, but nothing is all that light for a team that can’t score goals and hasn’t been able to prevent them. The spot is not good for Minnesota here, a team that has been tested a lot by injuries this season, but they are clearly the better team. If the price is right, take a shot on them.
Friday November 10
Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals – I hate to disappoint with this week’s article, but there just aren’t that many good games that fit what we’re trying to do. This one simply gets a spot here because it is a heated rivalry. The Capitals are down this season with some injuries. The Penguins have played well at home, but have had some issues on the road. Some are speculating that the loss of Marc-Andre Fleury has altered some locker room dynamics for the Penguins. Typically, this is a must-see game, but right now, it’s just another one on the docket. Given the uncertainty with both teams, I wouldn’t touch it.
Ottawa Senators vs. Colorado Avalanche – This looks like a tough spot in the altitude for the Senators, but it is not. In fact, this game will be playing in Stockholm, Sweden. This is called the NHL Global series and it will feature two games in the capital of Sweden. Obviously, we have no idea what to expect here in a spot like this, but this is a back-to-back set for these two teams. Colorado will be the home team in Game 1, so they will have the advantage of the last line change. That will go to Ottawa in Game 2 on Saturday.
Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights – How will the Golden Knights respond in their first game back at home? After two days off to recover from the long East Coast trip, an appreciative fan base will be excited to see the team back at home. The Jets have three days off prior to this one and at least Thursday night to get in some trouble in Sin City. This is actually a standalone home game for VGK, with a trip to Edmonton early next week. With that in mind, despite the first home game back angle, they’re the play.
Saturday November 11
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins – The Senators and Avs aren’t the only ones with a home-and-home. The Maple Leafs and Bruins have one as well. Friday’s game is nothing special from a situational standpoint. Saturday’s is, since the Rapid Revenge Theory will be in play, among other things. This is a standalone road game for Toronto with four days off afterwards, but I don’t think that really matters. The Maple Leafs are the better team, but we’ll have to see how Friday plays out and how the goaltending situations look. This is really not a good week for situational spots. It’s frustrating, but low-exposure weeks aren’t always a bad thing.
Sunday November 12
New Jersey Devils at Chicago Blackhawks – I’d expect a lot of people to fade the Devils on Sunday. It is a back-to-back with travel for both teams, but you have two teams in two very different spots. The Devils are overachieving. Many will argue that the Blackhawks are underachieving. With Chicago back home at the UC after a visit to Raleigh to face a Hurricanes team on a back-to-back, they’ll get some steam here. Once again, if you like Chicago, grab it early. If you like the Devils, grab them late.
Sorry again that it is such a flat week for situational spots, but that sometimes happens. We’ll try to find more next week, so keep an eye out at BangTheBook.com.
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