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Jaden Schwartz
AP
Odds and Ends

NHL Best Bets You Need To Make This Week

by Covers.com
Updated On: December 30, 2019, 5:46 pm ET

A CASE OF THE MONDAYS

Monday gives us just one game where the Pittsburgh Penguins will entertain the Ottawa Senators who will be on the backend of a back-to-back. Pittsburgh has won both of its games following the Christmas break, potting 11 goals in the process.

The Senators have allowed the third-most goals against in their 10 games leading up to the break at 3.4 goals per game and were losers of eight of their last nine road games. With the Sens taking close to 10 minutes in penalties in December and having allowed four or more goals in four of their last five, we are hitting the Pens’ team total of 3.5 and playing the Over.

 

 

COUNTDOWN TO NEW YEARS

New Year’s Eve gives us a full slate of hockey, starting at 1 PM ET. If you’re looking for some all-day action, there are some decent heavy favorites in each of the major time slots.

Starting with the 1 PM game, we are taking the Bruins as road favorites in New Jersey as Boston has won the last five regular-season matchups between the two sides. 

At 3 PM, we are adding the Vegas Golden Knights ML as they play host to the Anaheim Ducks. The Knights have won the last three matchups in Vegas by a combined score of 13-3 and have won four of their last five home games heading into Tuesday.

For the evening matches, we like the Lightning ML and Flames ML. Tampa Bay will have a decent price as a road favorite and have handed the Sabres a loss in six straight matchups while the Blackhawks have struggled to pick up two points against the Flames as they have dropped six in a row against Calgary.

Taking the Bruins, Knights, Lightning and Flames on a four-team ML parlay will give you something to check throughout the holiday and could make you up to four to five times your bet just before the countdown to midnight.

 

 

OVER INTO 2020

Both the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers are allowing just under four goals per game in their last five. As of Sunday, the Rangers haven’t hit an Under in their last seven games going 6-0-1 O/U while the Oilers are 2-1-2 O/U in their previous five. 

The Oilers have had to rely on the powerplay as their offensive catalyst this year. Their power play is scoring at 30 percent on the year and will face the Rangers’ Bottom-10 penalty-killing unit. 

The Rangers have potted five goals three separate times across their last four games and sit in eighth in expected goals for in December, but more importantly, have the most expected goals against this month.

Take the Tuesday night Over 6 and enjoy some of the last goals of 2019. 

 

THE 2020 WINTER CLASSIC

The 2020 Winter Classic will be held in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday as the Predators and Stars will battle it out outdoors. With the unfamiliar conditions, this is a game that could easily fit into the Dallas Stars’ defensive-style of winning.

Dallas has the fourth-fewest goals against and the most points at home this year. In their 21 games in Texas, the Stars are conceding just 2.09 goals per game —  the best mark in the league. We lean on the Under 5.5 but have trouble pulling the trigger with Nashville having allowed 11 goals in its two games back from the break. 

We are going to take the home team ML in this outdoor game and may have to take the 3-way ML if the juice is on the heavy side of things on the 2-way ML.

 

GOALIE PROFILE: Elvis Merzlikins, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

The Jackets find themselves a few points out a playoff spot thanks to winning five straight before the break and the stellar goaltending from Joonas Korpisalo. Unfortunately, their No. 1 tender was injured and helped off the ice on Sunday. Korpisalo had started 10 straight games and now the team will have to carry on with Elvis Merzlikins.

The Latvian goalie is winless in the NHL going 0-4-3 this year with a 3.41 goals against and a .889 save percentage. This is a massive blow to a Jackets team that was gaining an identity.

On Tuesday, the Jackets will face the Panthers at home. Florida beat Merzlikins 4-1 earlier this month and should have some value on the Money Line as a visiting team. Florida hasn’t won in Columbus since 2015 but facing the 25-year-old rookie goalie could change that. 

 

INJURY UPDATE: F Ilya Mikheyev, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been hit with a slew of injuries of late. Forward Ilya Mikheyev sustained a scary cut to his wrist on Friday and will be re-evaluated in 90 days. The loss of the winger has shaken up the Leafs’ lineup as they have had to move their third-line center to the wing on the second line as well as promoting players from the Marlies.

The Buds also lost defenseman Jake Muzzin to a broken foot, which means they are a mess in terms of defensive responsibility with a center moving to wing and a handful of inexperienced players. We like the Over versus the Wild on Tuesday.

 

HAT TRICK TRENDS

• The New York Islanders bring the league’s best road Under record (4-10-3 O/U) to the league’s best home Over record in Washington (12-5-1 O/U) on Tuesday. The Caps are 1-3 O/U in their last four at home while the Islanders have hit the Under in six of their last nine road games (2-6-1 O/U)

• The Minnesota Wild are earning 1.53 points per game at home this year which is the best mark in the league. The Wild will host the Maple Leafs who have earned 13 of a possible 14 points over their last seven games. This hot but injured Leafs team should give the Wild some decent value at home on the Money Line.

• Heading into Sunday’s games, there were plenty of goals with teams coming out of the Christmas break. Out of the 34 games, the Over hit in 22 of them (64.7 %). 

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