Last night I went 3-3 for a slight loss of 0.58 units, with all three losses coming from the Leafs loss to the Habs. I made up for it hitting the Oilers live at +205 down 2-0 early and they came all the way back to win 5-3 after being down 3-0 (make sure you check Twitter for live bets). Tonight we have a huge ten game NHL slate for the first time this season.
Sabres vs. Senators (7:00)
As a huge Sabres fan, I’m pretty pumped for this season to start off tonight and I have high hopes for this season. Now I’m realistic here, I don’t see us making the playoffs but we should be a pretty competitive team this season that stays in games and are fun to watch from Game 1 to Game 82. I expect the best season we’ve had since 2011 and although we’ll ultimately fall short of making the playoffs, we’ll make strides with a new young core that helps us get more and more primed for success in the future. Last season especially towards the end of the year the Sabres played solid hockey but still finished the season outside of the playoff picture, in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 32-39-11 record. They made a blockbuster trade mid season sending Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs. In the offseason we inked young stars Tage Thompson, who had an incredible season last year with 30 goals and 68 points and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to long term deals, building for the future. They didn’t do much to address goaltending though, just bringing in Eric Comrie to join Craig Anderson in the goalie room. Comrie was a solid backup last season in Winnipeg behind Connor Hellebuyck and will have a chance this season to earn the number 1 spot while the Sabres wait for highly touted prospects Devon Levi and Erik Portillo to be ready for the NHL level. Last year the Sabres weren’t great statistically on either end of the ice. We had the tenth lowest scoring offense in the league, averaging 2.79 goals per game and allowed an average of 3.5 goals per game. The power play cashed in on 21.2% of their chances and the power play killed off 6.4% of their penalties. The Senators are a very similar team, who weren’t great last year but have a young core with a lot of talent that can grow into a very good team in the next few seasons. Last year the Sens went 33-42-7, finishing the season 13th in the Eastern Conference. They had the seventh lowest scoring offense in the league, scoring an average of just 2.73 goals per game and allowed an eleventh most in the NHL average of 3.22 goals per game. Ottawa’s power play scored at a 19.3% rate and killed off penalties at a 80.3% rate. The Sens had one of the best offseason in the league. Along with inking a new contract for their young stars Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris, they brought in veteran Claude Giroux, traded for Alex DeBrincat from the Blackhawks and got Cam Talbot from Minnesota to bolster up their goaltending. Last season in the three times these teams played, the Sens won two of those games with all three staying under 5.5. I’d expect this to be a pretty close game and this might be a bit of a homer pick, but I’ll take my Sabres to open the season with a win for half a unit. I’d slightly lean the over but not enough to bet it. I’ll also take Tage Thompson over 3.5 shots, expecting him to pour it on and ride on last season with his nice new contract.
Flyers vs. Devils (7:00)
The Flyers were a horrible team last season that wildly under exceeded expectations for them going into the season. They ended up being one of the worst teams in the league, finishing 25-46-11 in second last place in the East. Their offense was the second worst in the NHL last year, scoring an average of only 2.56 goals per game, only better than Arizona. Their defense and goaltending wasn’t much better, allowing a sixth most in the NHL average of 3.59 goals per game. Philly had the worst power play in the league, scoring on only 12.6% of their man up chances and their penalty kill was seventh worst in the league at 75.7%. They didn’t do much in the offseason besides bringing in Tony DeAngelo but that was pretty much it and I can’t imagine he’ll bring enough to this team to make them much better. The huge change they made though was behind the bench, bringing in John Tortorella to be their head coach. The players are going to fucking Torts but he gets guys going and that coaching change alone should win the Flyers more games than they did last year, but nothing spectacular. The Devils didn’t have a good season either, finishing just above Philly in 14th place in the East with a 27-46-9 record. They averaged 2.99 goals per game but had horrible goaltending and a lot of bad luck with injury to allow a fourth most in the NHL average of 3.68 goals per game. The Devils power play struggled, scoring on only 15.6% of their chances, fifth fewest in the NHL but their penalty kill was decent enough, killing off 80.2% of their penalties. New Jersey made a solid amount of moves in the offseason to improve their team. They added Vitek Vanecek by trade with Washington to help fix their big time goaltending issues from a season ago along with adding John Marino from the Penguins and Brendan Smith from Carolina to bolster up their Blue line. Offensively, they added two time Cup champ Ondrej Palat from Tampa to add to their talented young offense that includes a healthy Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier and got Erik Haula in exchange for Pavel Zacha in a trade with the Bruins. This team should be better than they were last year. Last season these teams played three times with the Devils winning two of those three matchups. I don’t see the Flyers being much better this season than they were last year where I do see a decent amount of improvement in this Devils team. I’ll take the Devils for half a unit.
Penguins vs. Coyotes (7:00)
The Yotes were one of the worst teams in the NHL last season and I would anticipate that they could be even worse this season as they tank for Bedard to add a superstar freak of a kid to a lineup that in the coming offseason they hope to bring Austen Matthews home to with a contract offer I’d expect to be astronomical. This team’s absolutely a lottery team and this might just be the year that they win it. Last year Arizona had the lowest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging only 2.51 goals per game and they were just as brutal defensively, allowing a third most in the NHL average of 3.77 goals per game. They had the third least effective power play in the league, scoring at only a 13.9% rate and a fourth worst penalty kill, giving up goals on 25% of their penalties. The Penguins were a good team last season, finishing the regular season in third place in the Metro Division with a 46-25-11 record. They ran into big time injury issues with both their starting goalies getting injured in the first round against the Rangers, ultimately losing in overtime of Game 7. Last year the Pens scored the eleventh most goals in the league, an average of 3.28 per game and were very good defensively, allowing an average of just 2.71 goals per game, fifth fewest in the NHL. Their power play wasn’t spectacular, scoring at a 20.2% rate but their penalty kill was incredible, killing off 84.4% of their penalties, third fewest in the NHL. In the offseason, Pittsburgh resigned a lot of their players including superstar Geno Malkin and acquired Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling from Montreal. If they stay healthy, this team should absolutely make the playoffs again. These teams played twice last year with the Pens winning easily by three goals in both games. The moneyline at -380 and the regulation line in this game at -250 is ridiculous but this should be an easy win for Pittsburgh to start their season at home. I’ll take the -1.5 puck line for half a unit and likely look to add onto this live if the game has a slow start.
Islanders vs. Panthers (7:30)
Going into last season, the Islanders came into the season with Stanley Cup expectations but were the biggest disappointment of the year as they got off to such a slow start to their season and ended up missing the playoffs. They got better later in the second half of the season and finished the a spot outside of the Wild Card in the East with a 37-35-10 record. New York struggled offensively and had the tenth lowest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging only 2.79 goals per game but they were very good defensively, allowing an average of just 2.82 goals per game, eighth fewest in the league. Goaltender Ilya Sorokin was very good and led the NHL in save percentage and high danger save percentage at five on five play, even beating even Igor Shesterkin in those categories. Although the offense in general for the Isles wasn’t good, their power play was pretty good, scoring on 22.1% of their chances, twelfth best in the NHL. Their penalty kill was fourth best in the NHL, killing off penalties at an 84.2% rate. Shocking to the hockey world, GM Lou Lamoriello fired head coach Barry Trotz and hired Lane Lambert to be their new bench boss. The only offseason moves they made were adding Alexander Romanov on defense from Montreal and resigning Mathew Barzal to a new eight year contract. The Florida Panthers won the President’s Trophy last season with the best record in the league going 58-18-6. Last year they were the comeback kids and set a record for the most come from behind victories in NHL history. That’s not sustainable over several seasons. In the playoffs they beat the Capitals in six games but got swept by their rival Tampa Bay Lightning in the Battle of Florida in the second round. Florida’s offense was incredible last season and easily the best in the NHL, averaging an impressive 4.11 goals per game. Defensively, they allowed the twelfth fewest goals in the league, an average of 2.95 goals per game. The Panthers power play was the fifth best in the NHL, scoring at a 24.4% rate and they killed off 79.5% of their penalties. Florida made the biggest blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Huberdeau and Weeger to Calgary in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk. I think this is a relatively even trade but would lean that the Flames won that trade and Tkachuk while being a fantastic player, won’t have the same impact that Huberdeau and Weeger did. These teams played three times last season with Florida sweeping the season series with two of those games in blowout victories. I’d expect more out of the Isles this year and think they improve while I think the Panthers digress. I think this ends up being a pretty close game and I’ll stay off it completely from a betting standpoint.
Maple Leafs vs. Capitals (7:30)
Both of these teams opened their seasons last night with losses. The Leafs were disastrous in Montreal, losing 4-3 on a rocket from Josh Anderson with just 19 seconds remaining in regulation. They completely fucked me, preventing me from sweeping the board with a huge night. Blow. Leafs. Blow. The Caps opened their season at home last night as well, losing 5-2. Both of these teams are on the second half of a back to back and will be going with their backup goalies. Ilya Samsonov is confirmed to get his first start for the Leafs against his former team and the Caps will go with Charlie Lingren in net. This should be a great bounce back spot for the Leafs at home tonight, but don’t love the moneyline price at -190 and don’t trust this team enough to bet the regulation line on them. In the three games between these teams last season, the Leafs won all three of those games, all high scoring ordeals. I love the over in this game but at 7, that’s tough to bet. I’ll buy that down to the alternate 6.5 line and take that for half a unit along with the Leafs TT over 3.5 for half a unit.
Wild vs. Rangers (8:00)
The Rangers started their season on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win at home against the Lightning in a great defensive game, easily cashing my under. The Rangers dominated in their rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, outshooting the Bolts 39-26 and only allowing one Lightning goal, which came on the power play. Igor Shesterkin continued his play from last season and will likely be a Vezina candidate once again this season. They Wild make their debut tonight at home after a disappointing first round exit from the playoffs in a six game series against the Blues. Minnesota had a fantastic regular season, finishing second in the Central Division with a 53-22-7 record. They had the fifth highest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging 3.72 goals per game while allowing an average of 3.04 goals per game, which improved a ton after bringing in Marc Andre Fleury at the trade deadline. The Wild power play scored at a 20.5% clip and the penalty kill unit struggled, killing off 76.1% of their penalties, eighth most in the NHL. In the offseason, they lost backup goalie Cam Talbot who got traded to Ottawa in exchange for Filip Gustavsson. They lost Kevin Fiala, who scored 85 points last season and went to LA in the offseason in exchange for Brock Faber and a first round pick, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to resign Fiala. These cross conference teams played twice last season with the Wild winning both games. I think this ends up being a great, very well matched game. With Igor Shesterkin going up against Marc Andre Fleury, I’d lean the under but not enough to bet on it. I’ll pass on betting this game entirely.
Predators vs. Stars (8:30)
The Preds started their regular season last week with back to back wins against the Sharks in Prague while the rest of the league was still playing preseason games, beating them 4-1 and 3-2. Nashville looks good so far this season, especially defensively and think they’ll have a solid year with one of the best goalies in the league in Juuse Saros between the pipes. Dallas opens their season on the road tonight in Nashville’s home opener. The Stars made the playoffs last season in the first Wild Card spot, a point ahead of the Preds with a 46-30-6 record. I expected them to get crushed in the first round against Calgary but they ended up taking that series to seven games before ultimately losing to them. Statistically, the Stars weren’t really impressive on either end of the ice, falling around the middle of the league scoring an average of 2.84 goals per game and allowing an average of 2.98 goals per game. The Dallas power play capitalized on 22.5% of their chances last year, eleventh most in the NHL and the Stars killed off 79% of their penalties. In the offseason, the Stars lost defenseman John Klingberg in free agency. They signed Mason Marchment, Vladislav Namesnikov and goalie Scott Wedgewood. Last week the Stars finally inked a new deal for their young star Jason Robertson. Pete Debour is the new head coach this season for the Stars, who I don’t think has been particular good behind the bench of any team he’s coached since those Sharks teams he took far in the playoffs years back. I’d pretty much expect the same thing out of Dallas this season as I did last year, I think they’ll like end up around a wild card spot, either just making the playoffs and getting bounced in the first round or missing the playoffs. Last season these teams played twice with the Preds winning both games 2-1. I’d expect the Preds to start the year 3-0 with a win tonight at home in Smashville and I’ll take the ML here for half a unit. I’d lean the under but not enough to bet on it.
Flames vs. Avalanche (9:30)
The defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche opened their season at home last night with their banner raising with a dominant 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. As expected the Cup Champs looked fantastic in their return to the ice (regardless of that they faced what’s going to be one of the worst teams in the NHL), outshooting Chicago 35-17 with two power play goals a piece for Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen while not giving up any even strength goals to the Hawks (with both of their goals coming on the power play). Like I said yesterday, I still don’t think this team wins the Cup again but they’re still one of the best teams in the league and they’re going to contend to win it again. Calgary was one of my top picks to win the Cup last season and they got even better this year. They finished the regular season last year in first place in the Pacific Division with a 50-21-11 record. After playing a much longer first round series than I expected, needing seven games to knock off the Dallas Stars, they didn’t make it out of the second round, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games in the Battle of Alberta. The Flames had the sixth highest scoring offense in the NHL last season, scoring an average of 3.55 goals per game and they were even better defensively, allowing a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.51 goals per game. Calgary easily made the biggest moves in the NHL this offseason. Although they lost two 40 goal scorers that lead their top line in Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, they made some huge additions. They brought in Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar by way of the Tkachuk trade, which is a trade that I think they won and they picked up Nazem Kadri who had 87 points in 71 games last season with the cup winning Avs. Adding Weeger to a defense that has Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev, and Noah Hanifin in front of Jacob Markstrom (who was a Vezina candidate last season with a fantastic 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage) should give them one of the best back ends in the NHL. Last year these teams played three great games, with the Avs winning two of those matchups. I could see this game being a very early season preview of the Western Conference Finals this season and think this ends up being a great, close game. I don’t think there’s value this early in the season to bet on either side here. I like both teams to be able to put the puck in the back of the net tonight though and I’ll take the alternate over 6 in this game for half a unit.
Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks (10:00)
Last night the Blackhawks started what I expect to be a terrible season for them with a 5-2 loss in Colorado after watching the Avs raise their Stanley Cup banner. This team is going to be one of the worst teams in the NHL this season and unsurprisingly they got dominated by Colorado, getting outshot 35-17 and not scoring in five on five play. The Golden Knights played a very entertaining game on opening night on Tuesday in LA, beating the Kings 4-3 on a Mark Stone game winner with just 26 seconds remaining in the game. The Knights poured it on LA, outshooting them 51-30. Tonight’s game should be much easier for them to win if they play like that facing a much weaker opponent in the Hawks, who are on the second half of a road back to back to start their season. I like Vegas to start the season 2-0 with a pretty easy win tonight. The problem though is the prices on this game. I’m not betting a -360 moneyline or even the -220 regulation line. There’s still a bit of juice on this line but I’ll take the Golden Knights TT over 3.5 for my first full unit play of the year. Along with that, I’ll go back to the Jack Eichel over 3.5 shots prop that cashed easily on Tuesday night for a unit as well. He got three shots on goal in the first period Tuesday and quickly cashed it in the second period with him ending the game with seven shots.
Kings vs. Kraken (10:30)
I took the Kings to beat the Golden Knights when they opened the season at home on Tuesday night and they gave me my only loss of the night, losing with just 26 seconds left in the game. They got outshot in that game 51-30 at home. The Kraken opened their season last night with a loss as well, losing 5-4 in overtime to the Ducks on a Troy Terry game winner for Anaheim. They got out to an early 3-1 lead in the second period and blew a two goal lead twice, ultimately losing 55 seconds into OT. Seattle poured on the shots, outshooting the Ducks 48-27 and definitely look to improve from last season. In the four games that these teams played last season, the Kings won three of those games, all by multiple goals. I like the Kings to bounce back from their loss on Tuesday night with a win against the Kraken, who are on the second half of a road back to back and I’ll take them for half a unit.
.5u Sabres ML (+100)
.5u Tage Thompson over 3.5 shots (+130)
.5u Devils ML (-125)
.5u Penguins -1.5 (-150)
.5u Leafs/Capitals over 6.5 (-146)
.5u Leafs TT over 3.5 (-145)
.5u Predators ML (-130)
.5u Flames/Avalanche over 6 (-130)
1u Golden Knights TT over 3.5 (-185)
1u Jack Eichel over 3.5 shots (-150)
.5u Kings ML (-172)
Record: 6-5 (-0.19 units)
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