The Edmonton Oilers hope to continue piling up the goals without Connor McDavid, while we look to bet on an underdog on Saturday night in Ottawa. Josh Inglis breaks down the betting odds for this weekend's schedule on the ice, bringing you his top notes, picks and predictions from across the NHL.
CHEERING FOR GOALIES
The New York Rangers (3-2 SU, 2-3 O/U last five) have won five of their last seven (including four straight on the road) ahead of their Friday night matchup in Columbus versus the Blue Jackets (3-2 SU, 1-4 O/U last five). Both teams will be on the backend of a back-to-back with the Rangers 4-3 SU and 3-3-1 O/U in the second game of those scenarios while the Jackets record sits at 4-2 SU and 3-3 O/U in their last six B2Bs.
The Blue Jackets have seen just one Over at home in their last 11 home games while the Rangers have been getting steady goaltending on the road of late, hitting the Under in four of their last five road games. The teams split a pair of road victories earlier this season with the Under hitting in both contests. We are riding both teams’ Under trends and taking the Under 5.5 on Friday night.
BATTLE OF ONTARIO
Looking for a big underdog on Saturday night? Take a look in Ottawa where the Senators, losers of six of seven, take on a Toronto Maple Leafs team that has won just two of the previous six matchups. These two teams met just two weeks ago on Saturday night and the Sens lost on the road in overtime as +230 dogs.
Ottawa hasn’t had much to play for this year, so getting up for a nationally televised game on Saturday night versus its provincial rivals shouldn’t be a problem. The +1.5 puckline has hit in all seven of Toronto’s last seven games and should be priced well for Saturday night. Feel free to take the Sens on the moneyline, but don’t forget about the +1.5.
GOALS IN THE DESERT
You might have to stay up late on Saturday night if you plan on watching our favorite Over bet on the board. The Islanders travel to Sin City as both clubs are riding profitable Over trends of late. The Knights are averaging 3.3 goals for and against in their last 10 and have hit the Over in eight of their last 10 games at home.
The Islanders lead the league in goals for over their last five (4.0/game) but are struggling to find consistency in net as they are rotating between Thomas Greiss (12 goals allowed in his last four starts and 3-0-1 O/U) and Semyon Varlamov (13 goals allowed in his last four starts and 3-1 O/U). We are taking the Over 6.5 on this Saturday nightcap and wouldn’t be surprised if it opens at 6 as both teams sit in the middle of the league in total O/U on the year.
NO, MCDAVID, NO PROBLEM
The Carolina Hurricanes and the East’s second-best record (17-9) against Western Conference opponents host the Connor McDavid-less Oilers on Sunday at 4 ET. The Canes have only dropped one game in regulation at home in their last eight but are 5-2-1 O/U over that stretch.
We like the Canes’ moneyline but feel the price will be heavy on the juice and with the Oilers going 14-8 SU versus the East we might have to pass on the ML and look at taking the Over 6.
No team in the league is having higher scoring games than the Oilers over the last 10 games (7.2/game) and they have managed to score without their captain, putting up five against Chicago in their first game without McDavid. Take the Over.
GOALIE PROFILE: MACKENZIE BLACKWOOD, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The Devils’ backstop has had a hot start to the month collecting back-to-back shutouts last week and has posted a 1.95 goals against over the last 30 days. The Devils are just 3-7 SU in their last 10 but Blackwood is 7-2 SU in his last nine decisions. Even with the shutouts, it may be difficult to trust the Devils and the Under as they are allowing the third-most scoring chances against over the last 30 days and sit 26th in team save percentage.
New Jersey will take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and then the defensive juggernaut Blue Jackets on Sunday. Blackwood’s splits favor Friday’s road game as the goalie is 11-5 SU on the road compared to 6-14 SU at home, but check in on the game’s starters as Blackwood started on Thursday but could possibly play back-to-back with poor backup options in New Jersey.
INJURY UPDATE: F CAM ATKINSON, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Cam Atkinson missed nearly a month late in December and the Jackets went 10-4 SU. Since his return to the lineup, the Jackets are 5-3 SU but will be without Atkinson again for up to three weeks. The 90’s fad diet sits third amongst Columbus forwards in ice-time (17:39/g) while also playing top powerplay minutes.
The Blue Jackets aren’t known as an offensive team but have actually performed better with Atkinson in the lineup. In the games that forward missed this year, the Jackets averaged 2.83 goals per game and 17.2 percent on the powerplay (87 percent on the PK) and with the former 40-goal scorer in the lineup, they averaged just 2.4 goals per game and 9.1 percent on the PP (94.1 percent on the PK). Keep rolling with Columbus and take any discount that may come with Atkinson’s injury.
HAT TRICK TRENDS
• Favorites cleaned up last week going 31-16 with away favorites really dominating, finishing 11-2 over the last seven days. Much like last week, the puckline wasn’t as successful but still had a positive return hitting at 40 percent.
• The league’s best Over team on the road (66%), the Nashville Predators, head to St. Louis on Saturday for an afternoon game. The Blues aren’t known as an Over team but are 9-4-2 O/U in their last 15. The Preds are 8-2 O/U on totals of 5.5 this year and 18-7 O/U on totals of 6.
• The Washington Capitals are currently 9-1 O/U on first-period totals in their last 10. While there is usually a lot of juice on single 1P Over plays, first-period Under plays can be profitable with odds at even money or better. The Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets are both crushing 1P Unders of late with both teams going 1-9 O/U in their last 10.