We have a stacked nine-game slate of hockey on Thursday with some great matchups. There are many betting angles to attack as I give out my best bets below.
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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Tampa Bay Lightning (-275) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (+220), o/u 6.5 (-105/-115)
The Atlantic Division’s third-place Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Columbus to take on the Metropolitan Division’s sixth-place Blue Jackets. This is the third meeting between these two teams this season as the Lightning has won each of the first two matchups by at least a three-goal margin.
I expect to see more of the same in this game as the Lightning are starting to peak at the right time once again. Tampa Bay enters this contest amidst a four-game winning streak, a streak which included their 4-1 win over Columbus on Tuesday.
Not only has Tampa Bay won four straight games, but they have won seven of their last nine games. Of those seven wins, six have come by at least a two-goal margin.
On the flip side, Columbus has lost five of their last six games. This season, the Lightning rank higher than Columbus in both five-on-five expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF) and five-on-five expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA).
There is no reason to overthink this game, Tampa Bay possesses the better offense, defense, goaltender, and coach. These teams are trending in opposite directions, and I would not be surprised if Tampa Bay won this game by four goals.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (-115)
Buffalo Sabres (+260) @ Boston Bruins (-330), o/u 6 (-105/-115)
We have an Atlantic Division tilt as the fourth-place Boston Bruins host the fifth-place Buffalo Sabres. This is the fourth matchup between these two teams this season as there have been six or more total goals scored in each of the last two meetings.
I like this trend to continue in this game as the Sabres have been an over-machine lately. Over Buffalo’s last 17 games, there have been six or more total goals scored in 15 of them.
Buffalo’s offense has been on fire during this stretch as they are averaging 3.65 goals scored per game. Dustin Tokarski is the projected starting goaltender for the Sabres and has now allowed three or more goals in six straight appearances in the crease.
The Sabres’ blue line will not do Tokraski any favors as Buffalo ranks just 19th in the league this season in five-on-five expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA). This is bad news for Buffalo against a dangerous Boston offense as the Bruins rank 11th in five-on-five expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF).
Over their three contests against Buffalo this season, the Bruins are averaging 4.33 goals scored per game.
Best Bet: Sabres/Bruins o6 (-105)
Best of luck!
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