The Vegas Golden Knights entered Monday night’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils just three points out of a playoff spot. The Devils were missing their best player in Jack Hughes, two of their top four defensemen, and trotted out their seventh starting goaltender of the year. The Vegas Golden Knights left Monday night’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils with zero points; a regulation loss to one of the bottom five teams in the NHL.
It’s been a difficult year by Golden Knight standards. They’ve made the playoffs in each of their four seasons in the NHL, and sport the highest payroll in the league. But barring a decent-sized collapse by the teams in front of them in the standings, Vegas will be headed home early for the first time in their history.
Can they bounce back tonight against the visiting Capitals tonight? Let’s find out.
Washington Capitals ML (+115; PointsBet)
As mentioned in the open, the Knights suffered a potentially season-ending loss on Monday. And not only did they lose, they lost to one of the worst teams in the league missing nearly a quarter of their regular starting lineup. And they lost on home ice. This is a fade on Vegas because I don’t think they’ll be able to get up off the mat after that loss.
Usually, I look for a motivational edge, and usually, it would sit on the side of the team fighting for a playoff spot: Vegas. But in this case, the Golden Knights are going to have a difficult time getting up and motivated after having their playoff hopes crushed in a game that everyone, including themselves, expected them to win. Vegas has also been playing poorly long before their most recent loss to New Jersey. They’re 2-3-1 in their last six games, and 1-2-0 at home where they’re normally one of the league’s best teams in front of one of the league’s loudest crowds.
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) April 19, 2022
On the other side of the ice, the Capitals suddenly have a ton to play for. They were ticketed for the second and final Wild Card slot, but a recent surge has propelled them into a position to overtake either Boston for the top Wild Card position or Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Washington is just one point behind both teams, and are winners of six of their last seven games.
The Capitals have ramped up the scoring as well, which is the main driver behind their recent surge. They’ve netted 37 goals in the last seven games for an average of 5.29 goals per game, and they’ve run up the score multiple times – scoring six on the Penguins, nine on the Flyers, and eight on the Canadiens.
Fading the Knights at home hasn’t been profitable historically, but I don’t want to step in front of the red-hot Capitals, and I’ve got no faith that Vegas can bounce back after Monday’s debacle against the Devils. Play Washington down to +110.
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Mike Wagenman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @mjwags23.
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