4 picks and predictions for Thursday


Check out the Betway Insider’s NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.

Boston Bruins to beat Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres finally let head coach Ralph Krueger go after 12 straight losses. As the Sabres seek rock bottom, they only seem to keep falling.

Now they have a two-game homestand against a Bruins squad that is trying to find its way again while dealing with injuries and inconsistent play. Can interim head coach Don Granato get a big effort out of the team?

While I think Granato is a really good coach, the task ahead for the Sabres seems too great. Even though firing the head coach can be a wake-up call for players, you’d also have to think losing eight of the last 12 games by multiple-goal deficits would do the trick. This is a game where I’d consider playing some alternative lines with the Bruins winning by multiple goals.

Boston should be riding a little bit of momentum into Buffalo after securing a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on the road. Getting a couple of more points against the Sabres should be a high priority, too, with the Bruins slipping to fourth in the division and needing to gain some ground.

Columbus Blue Jackets to beat Carolina Hurricanes 

After Carolina saw its eight-game winning streak snapped by the Detroit Red Wings of all teams, they’re probably looking to get another streak going. While they’re a better team than Columbus, they’re heading into a bit of a tougher situation even though they’ll be on home ice.

The Blue Jackets are coming off of a rare multi-day stretch without games to recharge and get themselves back on track. Meanwhile, Carolina will be playing their sixth game in 11 days. This, to me, looks like a potential schedule-loss game for the Hurricanes even though they’ve been playing so well.

Columbus does have one win on Carolina already this season and this looks like a decent spot to make a value play for the Jackets.

Florida Panthers to beat Nashville Predators 

Looking at the top of the NHL standings, the Panthers are right there with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and just ahead of the red-hot Hurricanes.

Now they have a chance to bank some points against a team they’ve gone 3-0-1 against this season with a pair of games on home ice over the next three days. The Panthers should also be a little better rested with two days without games to recuperate.

The Panthers have won six of their last seven games, including a pair of road tilts against the Preds where they scored 11 goals over the two contests. Nashville, meanwhile, has won just two of their last eight games as they sink further back in the Central Division standings. Only the Red Wings are below them in the Central right now.

You might want to keep an eye out for Aleksander Barkov props, too, as he’s put up seven points over his last three games including four goals. Additionally, he’s owned the Predators so far this season with two goals and six assists over the four games they’ve played so far. If you need a win under your belt, the Panthers look like a good team to find one with.

Colorado Avalanche to beat Minnesota Wild 

This is one of the most anticipated games of the Thursday-night slate with two teams battling for standings position in the West Division.

The Wild have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, currently riding a five-game winning streak spearheaded by rookies Kirill Kaprizov and Kaapo Kahkonen. All five of those wins have come on home ice, however, and the Wild will be traveling to Colorado for this one.

The Avs will be wrapping up a nine-game homestand, during which they’ve won five of the seven games played so far including four straight. Plus, they’re getting healthier. They may even get top defenseman Cale Makar back in the lineup after he’s been sidelined with injury.

On top of that, the Avs have their top line all together again with Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen providing one of the most dangerous trios in the NHL.

These two clubs have split the season series to date, with each team picking up two wins. Only one of those games came in Denver, however, with the Avs winning 2-1. Colorado is a top-five team on home ice so far this season with a 10-4-1 record. Both teams have some great momentum going, but I’ll lean with the home side on this one.

BOOSTED TREBLE

Columbus, Florida and Colorado to win 

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