The NHL betting board has six games scheduled for Thursday night, including a pair of matchups north of the border. We break down the NHL odds for those two games along with a dive into the advanced analytics of the Flyers and Bruins.
So let's get the puck moving with our best free NHL picks and predictions for Thursday, Janaury 21.
NHL Picks for Today
The Flyers and Bruins were expected to be two of the top teams in the league this season but have both been polar opposites to start the year. The Flyers have been lighting the lamp, averaging 3.75 goals per game but have looked vulnerable on defense, surrendering 36 shots per contest.
The Bruins have been absolutely brutal on the offensive end of the ice with David Pastrnak sidelined—having yet to score a goal at even strength. However, Boston has been rock solid on defense, allowing just 23.3 shots and 1.67 goals per game.
So, which side is more likely to snap out of their early-season funk on one end of the ice? Analytics suggest that would be the Bruins. Despite scoring 15 goals, the Flyers have an expected goals for of just 8.99 and have generated just 24.8 shots per game. Their leaky defense doesn't look like an aberration, however, with their expected goals against of 10.23 almost identical to their actual 11 goals allowed.
Meanwhile, as bad as the Bruins have been at putting the puck in the net, their expected goals rate per 60 minutes is actually a tad higher than Philly's at 2.41. And while Boston has sorely missed Pasta up front, the Flyers could be just as hampered with two-way center Sean Couturier sidelined with a rib injury. Take Boston on the moneyline.
PREDICTION: Boston ML (-135)
After a 2019-20 season that saw them finish with the second-worst point percentage in the league, the Senators entered this year with low expectations. However, their young squad has shown plenty of heart in the early going, winning their season opener against Toronto and falling in overtime against the Jets on Tuesday.
That said, there's plenty of reason to think the closing line tonight might be a tad too generous for Ottawa. Winnipeg's defenders have looked like pylons so far this season, allowing 35 shots on goal per game, and having a brutal 55.6 penalty-kill percentage.
However, the Senators don't have the forward talent to take advantage of that, especially with last year's Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck back in nets for Winnipeg after getting the night off on Tuesday. Even with Patrik Laine doubtful, Winnipeg has the better group of forwards—along with the goaltending advantage.
With the Sens just 2-11 in their previous 13 contests against teams with a record over .600 and the Jets 6-0 in their last six games as a favorite, back a Winnipeg win at close to even odds.
PREDICTION: Winnipeg ML (-125)
The Canadiens and Canucks had a thrilling back-and-forth slobberknocker last night, ending in a 6-5 shootout win for Vancouver. That display of fireworks has resulted in the Over/Under for today's game checking in at a hefty 6.5.
That said, despite last night's goal-fest and Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko's recent struggles in nets, we could be due for a lower-scoring battle this time around.
Keep in mind that the two sides combined for a modest 58 shots in regulation yesterday and will have a pair of rested goaltenders between the pipes in Demko and Montreal backup Jake Allen. And while both sides are tied for second in the league in 5v5 goals scored with 10 apiece, Vancouver's expected goals for is at 8.29 while Montreal's checks in at just 6.5.
Much of the Canadiens offensive success has come on the power play, where they have converted on five of 11 opportunities this season. But a 45.5-percent powerplay is simply not sustainable in the long term and is due for regression.
Expect some tired legs on the tail end of a back-to-back, especially considering how sluggish some of the skaters looked in the Overtime period last night. Back the Under.
PREDICTION: Under 6.5 (-120)
Top NHL Consensus for Today
Want to know who today's biggest NHL betting and consensus bets are right now? Check out our top NHL consensus picks.
Yesterday's picks: 1-2 (-1.26 units)
Season record to date: 7-15-1 (-6.44 units)
NHL Betting Card for January 21
- Boston ML (-135)
- Winnipeg ML (-125)
- MTL/VAN Under 6.5 (-118)
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