Last Updated: 2019-01-16
A much needed period of downtime is on the horizon for teams in the NHL. This is a full week, but the All-Star Break starts next week and carries over into the following week. The league’s best don’t really get as much time away from the rink, but it still a far more relaxing time than the daily grind of 82 games.
Usually veteran teams are good to invest in prior to breaks. That will be something we look at late in the week and also next week. Younger players can have problems maintaining their bodies for the grind of 82 games, so they’ll start peering ahead to some beach time or some R&R on the couch. Veteran teams often steal games and points at that time of the year.
Early in the week here, it will be business as usual, but we could see some teams put forth some poor efforts later in the week.
Here are some NHL situational betting spots to consider for the week ending January 20:
Monday January 14
Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs – The Avalanche continue a strange Canadian road trip on Monday. We usually see teams play Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Vancouver together in some capacity and then Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. Well, the Avs played Winnipeg and Calgary last week on Tuesday and Wednesday and then Montreal on Saturday and now Toronto on Monday. This spot isn’t too bad for the Maple Leafs at all, though they are off of a division game against Boston. Colorado plays Ottawa on Wednesday, so they’ll fulfill the Ontario/Quebec trifecta. That game on Wednesday could be a good fade spot. I would expect Colorado to show well here, but the spot does favor the home team.
Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers – This is a long way to go for a standalone road game. The Wild finished up a road trip at the start of last week against the Canadiens and Bruins and then came home to play a couple games. They’ll be all the way on the East Coast on Monday and then return home to immediately play on Tuesday night. This spot isn’t bad at all for the Flyers. New GM Chuck Fletcher knows the Wild well, as he was the GM from 2009-18, so the Flyers should get some excellent scouting reports for this one. I’ll take them in this spot.
Buffalo Sabres at Edmonton Oilers – The Sabres go a long way from home to start the western Canada swing against the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks. They won’t play any back-to-backs in that stretch, but will play the three games in five days. This is the third and final home game of the homestand for the Oilers, who will go to Vancouver on Wednesday and then come right back home. The spot likely favors the Oilers a little bit, as this is the third game in four days for Buffalo and all three are in different cities.
Tuesday January 15
St. Louis Blues at New York Islanders – Quite a few teams that are in action on Monday are also on the ice on Tuesday. The Blues are one of them, as they’ll take on the Islanders. This is the third road game in four nights for the Blues after playing Dallas on Saturday and the Capitals on Monday. The Islanders are also playing a third game in four days, but all three of theirs are at home. Advantage Islanders in this one.
New Jersey Devils at Columbus Blue Jackets – Everything seems to be smoothed over in Columbus, as the Jackets look to get back on the right track. They’re in a decent spot on Tuesday against the Devils. New Jersey is in a back-to-back with travel off of hosting the Blackhawks on Monday. The Blue Jackets will play a third game in four nights on Tuesday, but will have Monday off. Last week was a real tough one for Columbus with Tampa Bay, Nashville, Washington, and then the Rangers on the schedule. This is the fifth game in eight days, but a bit of a step down in class and a game that Columbus should fully grasp the importance of with how things have gone lately.
Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild – The Wild find themselves in a tricky back-to-back here. After going all the way out to Philly in a game mentioned above, they’ll be back on home ice to battle the Kings. This starts a week’s worth of road games for the Kings. If my breakdown of the Monday game is how things go, the Wild should be looking for a bounce back effort in this one, but we’ll have to wait and see how it all goes.
Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators – Here’s a fun spot. The Predators are in their first home game back and they’ll face the reigning Stanley Cup champs in that game. Unlike past trips for the Capitals to Music City, they won’t have Barry Trotz with them, so there won’t be as much emotion to the Nashville side. This is a back-to-back with travel for the Capitals, but it is that dreaded first game back for the Preds. I’m not sure which spot carries more weight, but we’ll also have to see how Monday goes for Washington against St. Louis.
Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks – The Sharks rank very well in a lot of advanced metrics, but their goaltending has been hit or miss this season. Will it be a hit on Tuesday against the Penguins? This is an interesting spot for the Penguins, who get to enjoy two days off in California, which looks nothing like Pittsburgh at this time of the year. That can’t hurt. This is actually a nice, long road trip to warmer weather for the Penguins. The Sharks haven’t traveled much lately and are in a good spot themselves. I’m not sure there’s an actionable situational angle, but if you can burn the midnight oil for this one, it should be a great game.
Wednesday January 16
Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators – The Avs wrap up that long Canadian road trip on Wednesday in Ottawa. This is the first home game back for Ottawa, but it comes after three days off to get settled back in. The scheduling spot very much favors the Senators in this one and could be worth a small play. We’ll have to see how Colorado fares on Monday in Toronto and see what this game means for the overall record on the trip.
San Jose Sharks at Arizona Coyotes – Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat spot here for the Sharks. San Jose plays Pittsburgh on Tuesday at home. They’ll play Arizona on Wednesday and then head for the Sunshine State to play Tampa Bay on Saturday. Arizona finished up the BC/Alberta swing on Sunday, so this is their first home game back after a modest road trip, but with two days off, it isn’t bad at all. The Coyotes will be a nice plus price at home and will be worth a bet.
Thursday January 17
St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins – The Blues play a third road game in four nights to finish up a four-game road trip. The Bruins are playing a third game in four nights themselves and it is a back-to-back for them, whereas the Blues will be chilling in their Boston hotel room on Wednesday night. The spot probably favors the Bruins with four road games in six days for the Blues, but not really by a whole lot. St. Louis will be getting a noteworthy underdog price here and may be worth a gamble, but we’ll see how the week goes.
New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders – Back-to-backs and three-in-fours are the themes this week with a somewhat condensed schedule because of the impending All-Star Break. The Devils have one here against the Islanders. It isn’t that bad of a spot, though, with Wednesday off and the travel day from Columbus to New York City. The Islanders have Washington on deck on Friday night on the road for their own run of three-in-four and that will be Barry Trotz against his former team. The Isles should still grab two points here, but I’d be wary of laying a big price.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning – The last time the Maple Leafs went to Florida, their moms went with them. They also lost both games. They’ll look to exact some revenge here with a return trip to the Sunshine State to face division rivals Tampa Bay and Florida. This is the sixth game in 10 days for the Bolts. The Maple Leafs had Tuesday and Wednesday off. Toronto is in a better spot here and was the better team the last time these two played in Tampa. The Bolts just got much better goaltending. I’d bet on Toronto to get that revenge here.
Friday January 18
Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers – The Maple Leafs also lost to the Panthers when they went to Florida a few weeks ago, so this is another revenge spot. It isn’t a very good one, though. The Maple Leafs are in a back-to-back and the Panthers have two days off prior to this game. That being said, this is a standalone home game for Florida after spending all of last week and the first game of this week on the road. They’ll go to Nashville on Saturday. With the rest, this is still a better spot for the home team, but the road team is clearly the better team.
New York Islanders at Washington Capitals – Old friend Barry Trotz will get a warm welcome from the Capitals fans on Friday night. This will be Trotzsy’s first visit to D.C. since taking the job with the Islanders. There is sure to be a video tribute and some other fanfare, although Trotz was given his Stanley Cup ring when the Capitals played up in Brooklyn in November. This is a bad spot for Trotz’s team, though. They’ll be playing a third game in four nights and a back-to-back. The Capitals have two days off prior to this one.
Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames – The rivalry between the Oilers and the Flames seems to be a little bit more intense this season than it has been in past years. The Flames are in Edmonton to take on their provincial rivals on Saturday night. This may be a little bit of a look-ahead spot for the Flames as a result. The Red Wings aren’t very good, but this is a good spot in terms of rest for them. It is also the first game of a road trip, which is usually a rallying point for teams. I might be taking a big underdog shot here.
Saturday January 19
Anaheim Ducks at New Jersey Devils – Not great, Bob. The Ducks entered this week having lost 11 in a row and this entire week is spent on the road. Randy Carlyle’s job is hanging in the balance. This week’s road games start in Detroit, move the Minneapolis, and then the Devils will play this 10 a.m. body clock start time before a 12 p.m. body clock matinee on Sunday. These are two awful spots for the Ducks.
Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche – Saturday’s spot isn’t good for either team. The Avalanche are playing that first game back home after a long trip and the Kings are playing the final game of a three-game trip. This is also a 1 p.m. MT start time. So the Avs can’t really get back into the rhythms of home and the Kings have to play bright and early, which effectively makes this game three games in 4.5 days. It’s a rough spot for both sides, but I’d have to think it’s a little bit worse for LA.
Ottawa Senators at St. Louis Blues – We’ve got a doozy both ways here. The Senators are in a back-to-back with travel from Raleigh to St. Louis, which is a rather unique trip. The Blues are playing a fourth game in six days, a fifth game in eight days, and a seventh game in 13 days. This is the first home game back after a four-game road trip. The Senators haven’t played as many games, but they’ve been on the road a ton. Last week they completed the California swing and now have this weird back-to-back. Not sure I like either team here.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Vegas Golden Knights – Marc-Andre Fleury’s former team comes to town in a very interesting spot. The Penguins are in a back-to-back with travel off of playing Arizona. What makes this spot so interesting is that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the players stay in Vegas and entertain friends and family after the game. Pittsburgh does not play at all next week. This may be an extended stay in Sin City, but the players also won’t play again until after the Break and having a loss that festers that long wouldn’t be any fun. Even though the Golden Knights are well-rested with two days off, the Penguins are one of those veteran teams I would expect a big effort from.
Sunday January 20
Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks – This is an 11:30 a.m. CT puck drop for the NBC Game of the Week between the Capitals and Blackhawks. Chicago will be well-rested with two days off prior to this game. For Washington, this is like a fourth game in 6.5 days. The Blackhawks are really not good, but neither is this spot for the Caps.
Anaheim Ducks at New York Islanders – This spot is obvious. Back-to-back morning games for the Ducks on the East Coast. They’re dying to get to the All-Star Break. They’ll host St. Louis next week in the last game before the Break, which could be a rallying point, but they’re a big time fade this weekend, unless they fire Carlyle and get that short-term new head coach bump.
Carolina Hurricanes at Edmonton Oilers – Here’s a good spot. I’ll be on the Hurricanes. This is a long trip from Raleigh to Edmonton, but this is a terrible back-to-back for the Oilers right after playing against the arch-nemesis Flames. This is the first game of the western Canada swing for the ‘Canes, who will want to start on a positive note. This is one of my favorite plays of the week.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!
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