It was just last week that the Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2 SU, 1-4 O/U last five) were on a six-game losing streak and water was pouring into the ship. Fast forward just 10 days and the Leafs are winners of their last three under new head coach Sheldon Keefe and have outscored their opponents 14 to 4. The Leafs wrecked the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night, 6-0 on the road and will travel to Buffalo (1-4 SU, 2-3 O/U last five) for a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday.
Toronto has a good chance of sweeping this two-game set as things have turned ugly in Buffalo after a strong start to the season. The Sabres have won just twice in their last 12 games and are surrendering nearly four goals a game over that stretch.
We are riding the Buds for a third and fourth straight game, taking the puck line -1.5 and the team total Over 3.5 for both Friday and Saturday. Get on these lines early as the odds for hockey favorites and Overs tend to move fast after the opening line.
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The Minnesota Wild are still in the Western Conference basement but have played competitively in recent outings. Helping them do so has been their ability to keep the score down as they are Bottom 10 in shots for and shots against during the month. The Wild have hit two straight Unders and are 2-6 O/U since November 12.
Taking on the Wild Friday will be the Ottawa Senators who are also playing better lately after putting themselves in a huge hole with a poor October. The Sens have won eight of their 14 games in November, thanks to the league’s fourth-best save percentage over that stretch.
Much like Minnesota, there’s a direct relationship between their success and low-scoring games as Ottawa has also hit the Under in four straight games and is 2-9-1 O/U since November 5. We’re riding the Under 5.5 on two teams who are familiar with low-scoring affairs.
The Montreal Canadiens (0-5 SU, 4-1 O/U last five) have been stinking up the joint over the last two weeks. Montreal went from second place in the Atlantic Division to outside of the Top 8 in the conference in a matter of six games. A lot of the blame can be put squarely on netminder Carey Price, who has allowed an unfathomable 23 goals in his last five starts.
The Habs will play back-to-back this Saturday (Philadelphia) and Sunday (at Boston) and until they can show us some better play in the back end and improve on their league-worst save percentage in the last 14 days, we are going to play their opponents’ Over 3.5 totals for both games this weekend.
EDMONTON’S TOP TWO DOGS
Well, it’s nearly December and the Oilers are still atop of the Pacific Division. It helps when you have the league's two leading scorers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisait, but it also doesn’t hurt when you take advantage with the extra man. Edmonton has the league’s best power play at 32 percent this year and is scoring 36 percent of the time on the powerplay over the month of November.
The Oilers will take on the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday and the way the Canucks are allowing shots on net (32 a game in November), McDavid & Co. may be able to put up a handful of goals.
Vancouver is taking the fourth-most minor penalties over the last three weeks and will find itself down on the scoreboard if it gives the Oilers too many chances with the extra attacker. We’re going to take the Oilers team total Over 3.5 (the moneyline is also in play) for plus-money and also like McDavid anytime score and Draisaitl Over 0.5 assists.
GOALIE PROFILE: Matt Murray, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Matt Murray came into Wednesday’s game having lost two straight starts, allowing nine goals on 66 shots. Well, Wednesday was no better as the veteran netminder got pulled after giving up four goals on 14 shots. The Penguins eventually won the game with backup Tristan Jarry, who has won his last four appearances.
With the Pens playing back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, Pittsburgh will most likely be forced to throw Murray out there on Saturday against the Blues in St. Louis (3-1-1 SU, 1-3-1 O/U last five). The Blues have gone Over their 3.5-goal team total just twice in their last nine games but are winning games scoring three or less.
We’re going to take the second-best home team in the West and put our money on the Blues’ 3-way moneyline - meaning they need to win in regulation - and take advantage of Murray’s struggles.
INJURY UPDATE: F OSKAR SUNQVIST, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Already without Vladimir Taransenko, the Blues lost young forward Oskar Sundqvist during Wednesday’s game to a lower-body injury. The Blues forward was contributing secondary scoring for St. Louis, with five goals in the team’s last five games. The loss of Sundvist will put more pressure on the top-six forward group and the penalty kill where the injured forward was seeing nearly two minutes of PK time a game.
With the Dallas Stars on deck for Friday, we don’t see many points being scored in this one as Dallas has the third-lowest goals against and the Blues are 2-7 O/U in their last nine. Hit the Under 5.5 here (opened at 5 but should move to 5.5) on Friday night as both teams can game plan to eliminate the opposing teams' scoring line without having to worry much about the bottom two lines
HAT TRICK TRENDS
• The Florida Panthers are 9-1-1 O/U at home this year which is the best mark in the league. They will host the Nashville Predators on Saturday as Nashville has the best Over record on the road at 7-2 O/U.
• As of Wednesday, there are only two teams who are hitting first-period Overs at 80 percent or better as game total Overs hit at just 42 percent over the last week. The Edmonton Oilers are 9-1 O/U in their last 10 while the Colorado Avalanche are 8-2 O/U. Both of these teams play on Saturday night and a two-team first-period Over parlay usually pays around +190.
• It was a week dominated by favorites. The juicier bet of the two finished the week 35-15-7 for 61 percent. This push from the favorites has the season stat closer to 54 percent, as underdog bettors have seen their value diminish over the last month. As always though, mind the heavier-priced moneyline faves. Even a 3-1 night could leave you in the red.