Eleven games of NHL action await hockey fans and bettors on Thursday night. There’s an all-Canadian battle between the Oilers and Canadiens in Montreal, a cross-continent matchup between the Canucks and Panthers in Florida and a divisional matchup between the Predators and the Blackhawks in Chicago, just to name a few.
There’s plenty to wager on, but let’s take a closer look at two games in particular. Here are my two best bets for Thursday:
Vancouver Canucks vs. Florida Panthers: Canucks Over 3 goals (+100)
Let’s begin with a team total, shall we? The Panthers are giving up wayyy more goals than they expected to when they signed two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million contract in the offseason. Despite his award-winning pedigree, things haven’t quite clicked yet for Bobrovsky this season.
Florida is allowing an average of 3.33 goals per game this season, tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NHL. The Panthers are only slightly better at keeping pucks out of their net at home. They allow 3.17 goals per game at the BB&T Center, ninth-worst in the NHL. Florida has allowed three goals or more in 10 of its last 13 games.
Vancouver, on the other hand, is expected to come out fired up after being thrashed by the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. The Canucks have scored at least three goals in six of their last eight games and rank 11th in the NHL with an average of 3.26 goals per game.
Bobrovsky has allowed three goals or more in each of his last six starts and in seven of his last eight. Expect that trend to continue on Thursday night.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights: Over 6 goals (-105)
It should be a night filled with goals in Las Vegas, even if most of them come on one side of the scoresheet. This game is a perfect storm for a Golden Knights blowout.
The Kings are a brutal road team (6-14-3) that just played late on Wednesday night at home against the Stars. They allow an average of 3.52 goals per game on the road this season, tied for the sixth-worst in the NHL. Los Angeles is expected to roll with Jack Campbell for the second game of a back-to-back, and he’s struggled to find his form since the start of December. Over his last six starts, Campbell has a 3.00 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. He also has a 3.10 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage on the road this season.
On the flip side, the Golden Knights one of the better home scoring teams in the league. They’re averaging 3.44 goals per game at home, ninth-best in the NHL, and have scored 22 goals in the first five games of their seven-game home stand. Vegas should be able to pot 4-5 goals in this matchup and bettors just need the Kings to get a couple.
These two teams have played twice this season with both contests ending with seven goals scored. Can they make it three in a row?
Season Record: 21-18-1 (+1.77 units)