After the last break in the NHL’s schedule — three days for Christmas — scoring was the theme in the first game back. The Over was 7-3-1 in the first game back after the holiday break with an average total of 6.7.
We try to take advantage of that betting trend as we break down the odds and give you our best bets and predictions as the puck drops on the second half of the NHL season.
BRUSHING OFF THE DUST
On Monday, the St. Louis Blues will head to Vancouver to take on the Canucks. The Blues hit the Over in six of their eight games before the break as they are averaging four goals a game in their last five.
Looking at both teams over their last 10, each team is scoring 3.5 goals per contest while allowing more than three goals per match. With both the Blue and the Canucks sending their No. 1 goalies to the All-Star game, neither netminder got much rest, pushing us to the Over 5.5 on Monday night.
PAIRING FIRST-PERIOD TOTALS
The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the best first-period road Over records at 15-8-1 O/U. They travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Monday. Both the Leafs and the Predators are 7-3 O/U in the first period in their last 10.
With the price sitting at -140, we understand if it isn’t very appetizing to take, so take a look at the Ducks at the Sharks first-period Over 1.5 (-110) to add to it for a nearly +230 payout.
The Ducks are 9-1 O/U first-period totals in their last 10 games and 17-8 O/U on the road. Pair the Monday first-period plays and possibly start your week on the right foot.
BUFFALO LOOKING TO BEAT BAD ROAD TEAM
Tuesday gives us just two games and the one that we are eyeing is the Ottawa Senators at the Buffalo Sabres. Both clubs have seen each other twice this season with each team splitting a pair home victories (0-1-1 O/U). Both teams sit in the bottom half of the league in goals for in January.
The Sabres sit dead last in shots per game this month, but have managed well at home going 8-4 SU in Buffalo in their last 12. The same can’t be said about the Senators and their play on the road of late. The second-best team in Ontario has dropped seven straight road games by an average score of 4.4-2.
We are putting our dollars on the home team and aren’t afraid to take them on the 3-way moneyline if we have to.
CALLING OMAHA IN WASHINGTON
The Washington Capitals sit atop the Eastern Conference standings thanks in part to their 12-2-4 record against Western Conference opponents. Heading into the week, the Caps are winners of three straight at home and are 6-2 SU in their last eight at Capital One Arena. On Wednesday, the first-place Capitals will host the Nashville Predators who have yet to see Washington’s new No. 1 goalie, Ilya Samsonov.
With the Caps playing on Monday, there is a chance that goalie Braden Holtby will start this Wednesday match. If this is the case, we are hammering the Over as he has allowed three or more goals in all eight of his last games with the Over 5-1-1 in his last seven starts.
If Washington starts Samsonov who has won all nine of his last starts, we are going to call an audible and take the Capitals 3-way moneyline.
Note: Alex Ovechkin will miss Monday's game as he serves a one-game suspension for missing the All-Star game. He will return against the Predators.
GOALIE PROFILE: Frederik Andersen, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
The Leafs goalie has had a rough 30 days as Andersen has allowed three or more goals in seven of his last nine games. His .888 save percentage over the last month ranks near the bottom of the league.
The Over has hit in seven of his last nine starts and the Leafs have lost six of those games. The Leafs opened as +105 road underdogs for Monday’s match against the Nashville Predators. The Leafs haven’t been an underdog since December 7 which proves the books are aware of the recent play of Andersen.
INJURY UPDATE: D Jake Muzzin, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Sticking with the Leafs — they play two games on Monday and Wednesday — the Buds will get a big boost to their blueline with the return of veteran D-man Jake Muzzin. While Muzzin was on the shelf with a broken foot, the Leafs averaged 3.7 goals allowed per game which was tied for the second-most over that time.
Toronto is still without top-four D-man Morgan Reilly, but Muzzin’s return should help shore up a leaky backend against the Predators on Monday and the Stars on Wednesday.
HAT TRICK TRENDS
• The Washington Capitals own the best road record in the league and are 15-7 SU when traveling. On Monday, they will face a Montreal Canadiens team that has the fewest wins at home with an 8-16 record. Washington is -130 on the moneyline.
• The St. Louis Blues sit in first place in the Central Division as they own an 11-2-3 record versus the other the Western division, the Pacific. The Blues travel to Calgary on Tuesday to take on the Flames who are 7-8 SU against the Central Division and have lost both matchups with the Blues this year by a combined score of 8-2.
• As we mentioned earlier, look for early Overs in the week as teams come back from the All-Star break (and later in the week when teams return from their mandatory breaks). The first day after the Christmas break had the Over go 7-3-1 and the first three days after the holiday break the Over had a record of 17-12-1 O/U.
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