NHL 2/23 betting preview

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We are about a third of the way through the regular season which I thought would be a great time to examine the 5 most profitable teams to bet on in the NHL and the 5 least profitable teams to bet on in the NHL so far this season.

The five teams that have made the most money for their backers (measured in units won or lost) this season are the Florida Panthers (+5.17 units), Carolina Hurricanes (+4.97 units), Winnipeg Jets (+3.53 units), Toronto Maple Leafs (+3.29 units) and Los Angeles Kings.(+3.02 units).

The five teams that have lost bettors the most money this season in the NHL are the Nashville Predators (-4.42 units), Buffalo Sabres (-5.08 units), Anaheim Ducks (-5.28 units), Vancouver Canucks (-5.98 units) and Detroit Red Wings (-6.19 units).

Florida and Los Angeles stand out from the list of top 5 profitable teams in the NHL to this point as the Panthers and Kings have definitely outperformed preseason expectations which is why they have been undervalued in the betting markets and profitable squads to support.

Nashville and Vancouver stand out from the 5 least profitable teams in the NHL this season that have significantly underachieved and their poor play has left them overvalued with the Preds and Canucks burning a hole through the wallets of bettors this season.

It’s important to note that the top 5 most profitable teams in the league likely will not keep cashing tickets at the pace they have been nor will the 5 least profitable teams keep burning money at the rate they are now indefinitely. It’s useful to gauge the current form for all these teams and weigh it against the betting market prices of these teams. Upon doing that, you may find value in supporting the least profitable teams when they show signs of an uptick in their performance and also go against some of the most profitable teams who started strong when they begin to display signs of regression.

Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s NHL betting card.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals

The Pittsburgh Penguins bring some momentum with them into their fifth matchup of the season against the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh is 4-1 in their last five games with a trio of wins against the NY Islanders during that span. The improvement in their team game has coincided with the recent arrival of Brian Burke and Ron Hextall in the Penguins newly revamped front office. When a new President Of Hockey Operations and General Manager arrive on the scene as has happened in Pittsburgh, the players often snap to attention looking to play their best hockey and illustrate to the brass the team shouldn’t be ‘blown up’. Teams in this scenario tend to play with an added sense of purpose to show management they should keep the core of the team intact.

In Pittsburgh’s case, they have a core trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang that has been involved in trade rumors in the early part of the season especially Letang in what could be the beginning of the end of the Penguins decade of consistency and annual Stanley Cup contender status. The Penguins offense is finally coming out of hibernation scoring 18 goals in their last five games and they are making strides with their defensive game after struggling to keep the puck out of their own net early in the season. 

Washington has been inconsistent for weeks now although the Capitals had to deal with a COVID-19 hiatus and several of their key players out of the lineup upon their return to play. Washington now has their full roster back on the ice and they notched a 4-3 come from behind win against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Capitals have been going with Vitek Vanecek primarily as their starting goaltender for the last several weeks but they might have Ilya Samsonov back in net for this game and if he does play, it would be his first start in over a month. That may not be a good thing here in this matchup against a Penguins team that is finally starting to find the back of the net and Samsonov may not be at his best or ultra sharp in would be his first NHL game since the middle of January. I had Pittsburgh as a potential ‘bet on’ team following the front office changes and they have lived up to that billing in their last five games playing better hockey. I like Pittsburgh to get the road victory in this game. The over has cashed in 7 of the last 8 meetings between the Penguins and Capitals and I expect more of the same here as well.

Pittsburgh +105

Pittsburgh/Washington Over 6 -120

Real Kyper at Noon

Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets can’t seem to get on any sort of roll. Their longest winning streak of the season is two games and they enter this home game against the Chicago Blackhawks on a 1-3 slide in their last four games. Columbus has seen improvement offensively since the acquisition of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic from the Winnipeg Jets as the Blue Jackets have scored 3+ goals in seven of their last nine games but it has come at the expense of their defensive game and awareness which has deteriorated in recent games.

Columbus has surrendered 36 goals in their last 9 games which is a 4.0 goals per game average allowance during that time. Columbus is coming off a 4-2 loss at home against Nashville and in that game, they were porous with their puck management turning it over far too much with head coach John Tortorella being critical of the team’s performance in that specific area. The Jackets starting goalie Elvis Merzlikins left that game due to injury with Joonas Korpisalo finishing the game. Korpisalo hasn’t had the season he did last year as he’s struggled to the tune of a subpar 3.46 GAA and .889 save percentage this season. 

Chicago hasn’t played since last Friday when they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. Chicago’s offense has been carried by Patrick Kane with a whopping 26 points in 19 games this season with Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev all registering at least 9 points on the season. The Blackhawks defensive play has improved this season but the underlying numbers specifically in terms of high danger scoring chances allowed remains higher than what it should be. Chicago has allowed the 7th most high danger chances in the NHL this season and yet they are 15th in the NHL in goals allowed per game which means there is probably some defensive regression on the way for the Blackhawks as they should be giving up more goals than they have this season. Columbus should be able to capitalize on it with their improved forward depth and offensive capabilities. The Jackets are 5-2 in 7 games at home following a loss in their previous game this season. I like Columbus here and this game to find its way over the total.

Columbus -130

Chicago/Columbus Over 5.5 -110

Buffalo Sabres @ New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils will look to earn some redemption from a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon when they once again face off with the Sabres on Tuesday night. Aside from that defeat, the Devils have been playing some very solid and competitive hockey on a nightly basis. New Jersey notched two consecutive big underdog road wins against the NY Rangers and Boston in their first two games following a two week COVID-19 shutdown and they did so with a few key players still out of the lineup. Each of their last three losses have been by the slimmest of margins with all of them being one goal defeats. New Jersey head coach Lindy Ruff has done a very good job molding this young Devils squad into an energetic and hardworking squad that has displayed a tremendous amount of team speed as New Jersey looks very fast on the ice when you watch them play allowing them to win a lot of races and battles for loose pucks all over the ice. Jack Hughes has taken a major step forward in his development as a star player and face of the franchise looking faster and stronger with the puck and he has 11 points in 13 games for New Jersey leading them in points. Kyle Palmieri, Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood have been very good offensive producers for the Devils within their forward group. The Devils have held their own defensively as well allowing only 2.7 goals per game and Mackenzie Blackwood has been outstanding in net looking like the potential #1 goalie for this franchise the Devils were hoping he could become. 

Buffalo played one of their best games of the season on Monday night against the NY Islanders but it still wasn’t enough as they lost 3-2 despite outshooting the Isles 36-23 and head coach Ralph Krueger spoke about the pain of a loss in which he felt his team deserved the win. Krueger: “It’s going to be a painful trip back over to New Jersey here tonight. I have to tell you, this is probably the most painful loss of the season for the way we were actually able to neutralize them, create opportunity. But to come out on the short end of the stick again, we have to be responsible for that.” It’s been a very rough stretch for the Sabres since returning to action from their own COVID-19 hiatus going 1-4 in their last five games since they resumed play. The Sabres are shooting blanks offensively as the team has scored a paltry 7 goals in the 5 games they’ve played since resuming their season. To make matters even worse, Buffalo got bad news on the injury front with defenseman Jake McCabe being done for the season after suffering ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries to his right knee. It’s a significant blow for the Sabres blue line as he’s been one of their most steady contributors on defense. New Jersey isn’t likely to look past Buffalo after losing 3-2 to the Sabres on Saturday. I’m always more interested in betting the team in revenge mode when I feel they are the better team and I do believe New Jersey is at least the moderately better team in this matchup. The price looks cheap to bet on the Devils here in a strong bounce-back spot.

New Jersey -125

Best of the rest of my NHL wagers for Tuesday…

  • Detroit +140 (vs. Nashville)
  • Edmonton -125 (vs. Vancouver)
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