The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of day-to-day life and NHL betting is no different, with the Dallas Stars finally playing their first game of the season tonight while the Washington Capitals try to soldier on without some of their biggest names.
We break down the NHL odds for those two teams along with a third consecutive duel in the Desert as we bring you our best NHL picks and predictions for Friday, January 22.
NHL Picks for Today
On paper, a healthy Capitals lineup is clearly better, and they have owned the head-to-head in recent years, but Ovie isn't the only big piece they are missing.
In addition to their superstar goal-scorer, the Caps will be without first-line center Evgeny Kuznetsov, starting goalie Ilya Samsonov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who will all miss multiple games due to COVID protocols.
That gives plenty of betting value to a Sabres side looking to avenge a pair of losses to the Caps to open their season.
The Sabres are certainly more talented than their early-season record suggests with Taylor Hall adding extra juice up front, while Linus Ullmark has shown promise in nets. And third-year defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is due for a breakout after going pointless through the first four games of the year. Take Buffalo against a short-handed Washington side.
PREDICTION: Buffalo (-115)
Finally, the Dallas Stars join the rest of the league as the majority of their roster returns to the ice after 17 players were diagnosed with COVID earlier in the year. Unfortunately for Dallas, there are a pair of key players still missing, with center Tyler Seguin and goalie Ben Bishop out until at least March due to injuries.
While the Stars should still be solid in nets thanks to Anton Khudobin, the absence of Seguin will really hurt an offense that struggled to score last year averaging just 2.58 goals per game during the regular season.
The Preds are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes but opened their season with back-to-back wins against the Blue Jackets. It's worth noting that Pekka Rinne played between the pipes against Carolina and his steep decline began last year.
Juuse Saros should be back in nets for Nashville, and the 25-year-old has looked sharp this season, turning away 71 of 74 shots against the Canes. Saros also has a history of success against the Stars, going 6-1 with a 1.97 GAA against Dallas in his career.
Many of the Dallas players who tested positive for COVID only began practicing with the team last weekend, and Khudobin only returned to training camp 10 days ago after a turbulent offseason. This could be a good spot to fade Dallas.
PREDICTION: Nashville (-105)
It's Groundhog Day again as the Golden Knights take on the Coyotes for the third time in the last five days. After a two-game set in Vegas, in which the Knights won both contests by a total score of 9-4, the scene moves to Glendale where oddsmakers are expecting a lower-scoring contest, installing the Over/Under at 5.5.
Vegas netminder Robin Lehner has been an absolute brick wall in nets since being acquired last year, posting a 1.94 GAA in 21 regular season and playoff games for the Knights.
Even if he doesn't get the start tonight, the Knights have the luxury of a three-time Stanley Cup winner in Marc-Andre Fleury as his back up. Either way, it won't be easy for a punch-less Coyotes lineup to find the back of the net.
As for the Coyotes, goaltending situation, netminder Darcy Kuemper is coming off a couple of brutal performances. But he has a proven track record, with a GAA of 2.29 and a save percentage of .926 over the last two seasons. The fact that the Coyotes allowed just 57 shots over the last two games is also a positive sign for Under bettors.
With the Knights going below the total in six of their last seven games on the road, we're backing it again.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (-110)
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: 2-1 (+0.54 units)
Season record to date: 9-16-1 (-5.9 units)
NHL Betting Card for January 22
- Buffalo (-115)
- Nashville (-105)
- LV/ARZ Under 5.5 (-110)
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