It’s finally here, opening night of the 2021-2022 NHL season!!! After last season, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had an out of the ordinary divisional only schedule and for most of the year, no fans in the arenas. That shit’s over with though for this season, with the normal schedules of 82 games including in and out of division matchups and fully packed barns.
Last season I didn’t have my best NHL betting year but I’ll blame that on the extra variability factors of teams playing each other 8-10 times over the course of the year and the mitigated home ice advantage. Last year was my first losing season on the NHL in probably around five years so I expect to have a huge bounce back year. I already started off this year well, going 9-3 in the preseason for a +5.38 unit profit. I’ll be writing up my daily blogs breaking down every single game on every slate and giving my bets and picks every day, just as I did last season. I’m sticking with my process that I’ve been profitable with the last several years, trusting my research and what I learn on each team watching them play every night.
The NHL kicks off the season tonight with the Tampa Bay Lightning raising their second straight Stanley Cup banner at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the expansion Seattle Kraken heading to the Fortress in Vegas to face the now second newest NHL franchise Golden Knights. Let’s start off this season hot and crush betting both of these games!
Lightning vs. Penguins (7:30)
After their impressive run in the playoffs last season to lift their second consecutive Stanley Cup, the Bolts will raise the Cup Champions banner at home tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The way the Lightning circumvented the cap rules has come to an end and in the offseason they lost Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow. Despite that, they still have a power house offense. In addition to that, they have a great back end and are backstopped by one of the best goalies in the NHL in Vasilevskiy. Tonight they are going against a depleted Penguins team without Sid, Malkin and Guentzel in the lineup. I think the Bolts should be able to easily outscore the Pens with Tristan Jarry’s shaky goaltending in net and then Pens won’t be able to keep up. I’ll take Tampa in regulation for 2 units tonight and a .5u parlay on Tampa in regulation with Vegas in regulation.
Golden Knights vs. Kraken (10:00)
Tonight the expansion Seattle Kraken head to the Fortress to face off against the last expansion team Vegas Golden Knights on the late game of opening night. When Vegas joined the league a few years, analysts all thought the prognosis was bleak for the Knights, but that group of misfits proved everyone wrong. They were a Vegas and made it all the way to the Cup Finals where they lost to Ovi and the Capitals. And they’ve been a Cup contender every season since. I think that the existing NHL teams learned from that and made different decisions on which players to protect, and the Kraken selected a different group of guys than the way Vegas put together their team. I think Vegas is easily the best team in the Pacific Division this season and I’d expect them to once again be a top contender to lift the Stanley Cup. I think the Kraken have a decent group of players but are going to likely come up a bit short of making the playoffs in their inaugural year. This matchup showcases two Vezina caliber goalies in Robin Lehner, who has the net all too himself this year with Fleury getting sent to Chicago vs. Philipp Grubauer, who came over from Colorado (Vegas knocked them out in the playoffs last year). I think Seattle won’t be able to outscore Vegas tonight so I’ll be taking the Knights in regulation for 1.5 units in addition to the parlay that’s hopefully still alive after the earlier Tampa/Pittsburgh game. The over/under on this game is set at 5.5, which I think is a bit too low despite the great goaltending on both ends. I’ll buy that O/U down to 5 and take that for half a unit, at a pretty cheap price.
2u Tampa in regulation (-152)
1.5u Vegas in regulation (-162)
.5u Vegas/Seattle over 5 (-134)
.5u parlay: Tampa in regulation/Vegas in regulation (+171)
Record: 0-0 (0 units)