Another full Saturday slate of NHL hockey lies ahead with 12 games on the schedule.
In this piece, I’ll be going over my best bets for the day and provide reasoning for all my picks.
All odds provided are courtesy of Circa Sports. As always, please play responsibly.
Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Best bet: under 6 total goals (-120)
Puck drop – 7 p.m. ET
When I look at this game, I see two defensively sound teams that have great goaltending.
Both teams rank in the top five for five-on-five save percentage. The Lightning are only allowing 2.2 goals per game while the Predators are scoring 2.29 goals per game.
Neither power play is rolling at a high level, either. The 13th-ranked Lightning power play has looked a little less intimidating without Nikita Kucherov.
Likewise, the Predators continue to be a mess with the extra man, converting on just 7.1% of their opportunities.
I do not think the Predators are going to give much offensively in this one. The under has hit the last five times these teams have met, and I see no reason for that trend to change.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Best bet: over 5.5 total goals (-120)
Puck drop – 8 p.m. ET
The Avalanche have topped this total on their own twice this season and are 12-6 toward the over across their last 18 games.
They have one of the most dynamic offenses in hockey averaging 3.5 goals per game. They have 10 players with five or more points already, and I do not think they have even hit their full offensive stride.
I am very bullish on Nathan MacKinnon and the Avs’ offense in this game, but the Wild have proven to be no slouch.
Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov has given the team a much-needed injection of creativity, as he has tallied seven points across his first eight games.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Wild actually lead the NHL with a 58.45 xGF% at five-on-five. If they can just get their dismal power play in order, they have the potential to score a significant amount in 2021.
I think this total is a half-goal too low. I am looking at a 4-2 Avalanche win here to cash us the bet.
St. Louis Blues vs. Anaheim Ducks
Best bet: Blues three-way money line (-110)
Puck drop – 9 p.m. ET
For those unfamiliar, betting a three-way money line means you are betting on a team to win in regulation time. To put it simply, I think the Blues cruise in this game.
The conversation surrounding the Ducks starts and ends with John Gibson. The 27-year-old owns a 1.87 goals-against average and .942 save percentage through seven games this season. He has been outstanding, and he has had to be because the Ducks own the worst offense in the NHL.
They are averaging just 1.75 goals per game, and their power play is converting at a putrid 5.6% clip. Their leading scorer has four points. For context, the Blues have six players with four points or more.
The Blues have not looked like their dominant selves yet, but they are coming off an electrifying win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. They are 4-1 in their last five trips to the Honda Center and 4-1 in their last five games as a road favorite.
With all the issues the Ducks have on offense, I do not see how they stick around in this game. Even though Gibson has offered them some herculean efforts so far in 2021, the Blues have enough firepower to solve him.
Give me the Blues to get the job done in regulation.