Check out the Betway Insider’s NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
New York Rangers to beat Pittsburgh Penguins
With GM Jim Rutherford suddenly resigning to the shock of most in the hockey world, the Penguins are in an odd situation. Their record isn’t that poor, but the team hasn’t played well so far, and the goaltending has been abysmal.
The Rangers have only managed two wins in seven games, but they’re playing surprisingly well at even strength, controlling 53 per cent of both the shot attempts and the expected goals in their games.
The Penguins have the star power to make betting against them always risky, but this one might be worth it. The Rangers are due a win and getting better.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Calgary Flames
Montreal let the Flames get their pride back at the end of what should probably have been a 4-0 win on Thursday, but make no mistake that this Canadiens team is riding an incredible hot streak and crushing teams on the ice.
The Flames are a good team in their own right, but the Canadiens lead the league with a 60.2 per cent expected goals share at 5-vs-5, lead the league in goals scored per minute at even strength and in all situations, and still haven’t lost in regulation.
The smart bet is on them until they give you a reason not to.
St. Louis Blues to beat Anaheim Ducks
Once again, the Ducks are a very bad team. It’s been like this for several years now, with John Gibson on an island trying desperately to hold them in games. Sometimes he succeeds – his .942 save percentage this season is absurd – but he can’t do that every night.
The Blues are riding a hot scoring streak early this season, and have a relatively versatile offence that is able to attack teams in several different ways. They should be able to solve Gibson at least a couple times, and it’s highly questionable that the Ducks can score enough to compete.
Winnipeg Jets to beat Vancouver Canucks
Despite the records being very different, at even strength the Canucks and Jets are very similar. The Canucks score more and allow more goals, but on balance the two teams end up at around the same goal differential. What separates them are special teams.
The Jets have been surprisingly strong on special teams, playing well even while shorthanded due to the Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois trade, but the Canucks are terrible.
Both teams float at close to 50 per cent expected goals at evens, but the Jets move to 51 per cent overall when factoring in special teams, and the Canucks drop to 44 per cent.
Add in stronger goaltending on the Jets’ side, and they should have the advantage.
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