Last Updated: 2017-10-22
The start of a new week in the NHL means a new set of opportunities for those that follow the schedule for chances to make money. We’re getting a better idea of each one of these teams as the season goes along, but the one thing that we can always count on is that we’re going to have spots to fade teams for a variety of reasons. Using these to your advantage is a good way to boost your bankroll, even if the NHL isn’t one of your strongest sports or you don’t know all of the personnel.
The best way to explain this is to simply illustrate what we mean using the game and that’s precisely what we will do here for the week ending October 29:
Monday October 23
San Jose Sharks at New York Rangers – Obvious spot is obvious. The Sharks are playing their third road game in four nights on the NY/NJ metro trip. Things started with the first road game of the season on Friday night against the Devils. A short trek to Brooklyn to battle the Islanders at Barclays Center followed. Now the Sharks take on a desperate Rangers team on Monday night that is off to the worst start in the division at 2-5-2. The Sharks split the weekend games and are having some offensive woes of their own, so this looks like a decent spot to back the Rangers.
Los Angeles Kings at Toronto Maple Leafs – The Kings left the state of California for the first time since the preseason for last Saturday’s game against Columbus. It was a back-and-forth, spirited affair, which the Kings eventually won. Toronto has been in the province of Ontario since last Tuesday’s playoff rematch against Washington. This kicks off a stretch of four road games in six nights for the Kings. Situationally, the spot favors Toronto, with the Kings out on the road for the first time. These are two pretty potent offensive squads thus far and with the Kings having a day off prior to the game, we should see some fireworks here.
Tuesday October 24
Los Angeles Kings at Ottawa Senators – The Senators are one of the best plays of the week on Tuesday night. They’re likely going to see Kings backup Darcy Kuemper with the back-to-back off of what should be a heavy workload for Jon Quick on Monday. It is the third road game in four nights for the Kings. The Senators are 3-0 away from home, but have won just one of their five home games to date, so it is time for Guy Boucher’s club to defend the home rink at Canadian Tire Centre. I’d expect a motivated Sens team here coming off of a big Hockey Night in Canada win over Toronto and two days off.
Chicago Blackhawks at Vegas Golden Knights – The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a strong start, which is no surprise, but the Vegas Golden Knights are off to a phenomenal start, which is a big surprise. For this one, the Blackhawks could be in a bit of trouble. Chicago has not one, but two days off in Sin City before this one. One of the biggest mysteries for me coming into the season was how teams would handle visiting Vegas. Well, the Knights are 4-1 at home, which may be coincidence with the small sample size, but it may not be. Numbers guys are going to be fading the Knights, who are 6-1 with just a +6 goal differential. Chicago is already second in the West and tied for third overall in goal differential, so this will be a spot for the numbers guys to come in against Vegas. Wait for the number to go up and then play back on the spot.
Anaheim Ducks at Philadelphia Flyers – The Ducks played just one game last week. They beat the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night. Anaheim now kicks off a stretch of four road games in six nights, all in the Eastern Time Zone. The Ducks’ lone road game was October 13 in Colorado and they lost 3-1, getting outshot 39-18. This is a big, long trip. The Flyers are one of this year’s surprising upstarts and won on the road in Anaheim back on October 7 in a 3-2 overtime triumph. They outshot the Ducks 37-23 in that game. The Flyers are a great look on Tuesday.
Wednesday October 25
Calgary Flames at St. Louis Blues – The Flames are in a road back-to-back on Wednesday night. After a day off to enjoy the sights and sounds of Nashville, the Flames come off of Tuesday night’s tilt at Bridgestone Arena and head to St. Louis for Wednesday’s contest. The Blues, meanwhile, have three days off before this one. The way I’d approach a spot like this is to play the road team on the back-to-back in the first period, but either live bet the Blues or have a Blues full game ticket in pocket because they should get their legs going as the game goes along.
Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets – The Sabres have played Columbus tough over the last couple of years, but the Sabres are having all sorts of issues this season. The tenure for new head coach Phil Housley and new GM Jason Botterill is off to a rough start. Entering the week, Buffalo was one of four teams to have allowed at least 30 goals this season. The Blue Jackets have had occasional problems lighting the lamp, but they’ll be fully rested with Buffalo off of a back-to-back. It’s a similar spot to the only other game of the night.
Thursday October 26
San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins – The Bruins have all sorts of problems. Four days off probably helped the team hit the reset button and get back to basics, but the team also has to do it without Tuukka Rask, who suffered a concussion after getting run over in practice last week. This isn’t the best spot for the Sharks, who will be playing their fourth straight game in Eastern Time, though they do have two days off for this one. The Sharks certainly have the chance to get right for this game with the extra downtime and extra time to adjust after playing three games in four days in their first three roadies of the season. They might be worth a look here if the price is right.
Los Angeles Kings at Montreal Canadiens – The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play for this game on Thursday night. The Kings knocked off the Canadiens in emphatic fashion at home eight days ago in a 5-1 romp. The shots on goal were 42-37, though, so it was closer than the score would indicate. Montreal will enter this game with either one or two wins and owns, by far, the worst goal differential in the NHL. It has been a complete disaster of a start for the Habs, who were expected to start stronger with Claude Julien, who injected some life into the team after his hiring late in the season. The Kings are in a pretty bad spot here with their third game in four nights. The Habs will be playing just their fourth home game of the season. They might be worth a look, especially if they open on the plus money side.
Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks – The first home game back after a long trip is generally a good fade spot. The Canucks have three days off after hosting the Washington Capitals in this one. Vancouver wrapped up a stretch of five games in eight nights with a ton of travel against Minnesota on Tuesday. Normally, a team like Washington would get the competitive juices flowing, but the Canucks have a lot to look forward to with the downtime. On the Washington side, they have four days off prior to this game and prior to playing three games in four nights on the Western Canada swing. Vancouver is an easy team to overlook, but the sluggish start for Barry Trotz’s team should keep the Caps focused. Lay it and play it.
Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs – I’m not sure what we get from the Hurricanes on Thursday night, but I can tell you what I’m hoping to get. The Hurricanes play a standalone road game up at Air Canada Centre against a very good Toronto team. The spot is pretty bad for the Hurricanes, as this is a pretty long trip for a standalone game. The Maple Leafs have two days off prior to this one and play a vastly different style than the Hurricanes. Entering this week, Carolina games have 33 combined goals in six contests. The Maple Leafs have 65 in eight games. Carolina can’t really keep pace in an arms race and I hope they don’t. Because….
Friday October 27
St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes – These Friday night spots for the Hurricanes cashed at a very high rate last season. The Hurricanes were 7-2-2 in Friday night home games last season and the record was even better when it was a standalone road game for the opposition. That is the case in this one for the Blues. It’s a cross-conference game with St. Louis looking ahead to the Blue Jackets at home on Saturday. Carter Hutton has played really well and he’ll likely get the nod here, but these Carolina Friday games are so strong situationally. You can bet that we’ll be on this one and hope that the Hurricanes get rolled on Thursday to give us a little value.
Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks – This is one spot when the standalone road game angle simply doesn’t work. Nashville’s full attention will be on this rematch. The Predators swept the Blackhawks out of the playoffs last year and Chicago got revenge with a 2-1 overtime win in the first meeting on October 14. The Predators are not playing well away from Music City thus far, so you can bet that will be a point of emphasis from Peter Laviolette here. Chicago does have two days to recover from Vegas, though the schedule may allow the players an extra day to get in trouble and spend money. Either way, both teams should be fully focused here and we should get the best from both. The rub here is that the best from Chicago is better than the best from Nashville with some of their losses and lineup changes.
Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights – Another favorable spot for Vegas, and not just because it is such a hard city for players to visit. This is a standalone road game for Colorado with a day in Vegas on Thursday to have some fun. The Avs also host the Blackhawks at home on Saturday and a visit from Chicago is a big deal within the division. The Golden Knights hit the road for four games in six nights in the Eastern Time Zone a couple days after this one, so this should be a rallying point game with the long roadie coming up. It’s Vegas or nothing in this one.
Saturday October 28
San Jose Sharks at Buffalo Sabres – The Sharks have a horrendous record in Buffalo dating back about 15 years, which is mostly an irrelevant trend since so much has changed over the years, but somebody will bring it up. What I’m going to bring up here is that this is a 1 p.m. puck drop. The Sharks have been in East Coast time for a while, so maybe it isn’t a big deal, but I think it still could be. This is the last game of the road trip and San Jose hosts Toronto on Monday. The Sabres have two days off before this one. I think this is one of those mail it in games that we sometimes see for San Jose, especially if they play well earlier in the week against the Rangers and Bruins. Numbers guys have been finding some edges on the Sabres because of how poorly they’ve started the year. The early start may be built into the line, but don’t surprised if Buffalo is a plus money dog with value Saturday afternoon.
Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche – Regardless of what happens the night before, the Avalanche should hold the upper hand here against the Blackhawks. For Chicago, this is quite a flat spot. After playing the Predators on home ice on Friday, the focus after this one turns to the three days off and then a visit from Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Avalanche are trying to reestablish that home ice advantage in the altitude and this is a good spot to do it catching plus money at home.
Washington Capitals at Edmonton Oilers – A really big week for the Oilers wraps up with the Capitals at home. On Tuesday, the Oilers played the Penguins. On Thursday, they hosted the Stars, who a lot of people liked for Stanley Cup futures coming into the season. Now, the Capitals are in town and it is a good time to catch the Capitals. This is the front end of the Alberta back-to-back with a matchup against Calgary on deck. The Capitals are also scuffling a bit, much like the Oilers, who can’t find ways to score goals. See how the Oilers fare in their first two games this week. Washington has some defensive injuries and some other issues, so a rejuvenated Oilers bunch off of a couple good games might be worth a look here.
Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Louis Blues – The Blue Jackets visit the Blues on Saturday night and it is not a good spot for Columbus. After hosting Winnipeg on Friday night, the Jackets board a plane for St. Louis. We’ll likely see backup Joonas Korpisalo in this standalone road game with Boston coming up on Monday night at Nationwide Arena. It is the third game in four nights and also a back-to-back with travel for the Blues. You can make a strong case that it is a bad spot for both teams. Typically, when that’s the case, I lean towards the home team, but we’ll have to see how the price looks for this one.
Sunday October 29
Anaheim Ducks at Carolina Hurricanes – We have a similar spot in Raleigh on Sunday. The Ducks wrap up their run of four road games in six nights and head home to face Toronto on Wednesday. Carolina is also playing a fourth game in six nights, but it comes at home. Also, this is an odd 5 p.m. start time. With the Ducks on a back-to-back after playing in Tampa late the night before, it is a horrible spot for Anaheim. I think this is a punt game as well and I’ll be right back on the Hurricanes, hopefully to go 2-0 with them on Friday and Sunday in these bad spots for the visitors.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Winnipeg Jets – One angle that I’ll occasionally look to play is the Rapid Revenge Theory. The Penguins host the Jets on Thursday. They’ll play a back-to-back with travel in Manitoba on Sunday. The Jets will be happy to have the home crowd at MTS Centre, which is a unique NHL venue. It is one of the smaller venues in the league, but one of the loudest given the seating setup. I’d expect a big Jets effort here on Sunday. I’m not sure we’ll get the same from Pittsburgh in the back-to-back.
Keep an eye out for these situational spots articles every Sunday at BangTheBook.com!
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