With less than one quarter of the season left, games take on added importance moving forward. Teams in the NHL playoff race are the focus of our Saturday best bets.
Following a flurry of deals at the NHL trade deadline, the push to the Stanley Cup playoffs is officially underway. Bettors have an action-packed slate of 12 games to wager on today, including Dallas visiting St. Louis in a clash of Central Division contenders. Vancouver at Toronto and Winnipeg at Edmonton are also featured in today’s previews and picks.
Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs
Puck Line: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+1250) | Canucks +1.5 (-145)
Moneyline: Maple Leafs (-180) | Canucks (+160)
Goal Total - 6.5: OVER -135 | UNDER +115
Game Details: 7:00 p.m. ET – Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, CA
Records To Date: Vancouver 34-23-6 | Toronto 34-23-8
An all-Canadian contest is on tap when Vancouver visits Toronto on Saturday night. The Canucks are playing above preseason expectations, as Vancouver is tied for second place in the Pacific Division with the Oilers. Playing the third of four road games, the Canucks defeated Montreal (4-3 OT) on Tuesday and then lost 5-2 in Ottawa during their last game on Thursday. Vancouver is on the verge of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years.
Consistently inconsistent during the entire 2019-20 NHL season, the Maple Leafs return home after a pair of victories in Florida. Toronto posted a 4-3 win over the Lightning on Tuesday and defeated the Panthers 5-3 on Thursday. With the mini two-game winning streak, Toronto is 6-6-1 over its last 13 games. Trailing Boston and Tampa Bay, who have 92 and 85 points respectively, Toronto has 76 points and sits four points ahead of Florida in the Atlantic Division.
Canucks vs. Maple Leafs Final Thoughts and Prediction
Vancouver and Toronto are playing the second of two games this season. Captain John Tavares had two goals and one assist, and Frederik Andersen made 38 saves, as the Maple Leafs defeated the Canucks 4-1 in Vancouver on December 10. These teams split two games last year, as the Leafs won 5-0 at home and the Canucks won 3-2 in OT in Vancouver. Four of the last six meetings have been decided by one goal and none of those contests exceeded five total goals.
Averaging 3.52 goals per game, the Maple Leafs are second overall on offense but sit bottom five allowing 3.32 GPG. Vancouver ranks eighth on offense, scoring 3.32 GPG, and the Canucks are in the middle of the pack allowing 3.10 GPG on defense. Vancouver is 14-16-2 on the road while Toronto is 16-9-7 at home this season. Following a 5-3 victory back in December 2011, the Canucks have lost six straight games in Toronto by a combined 26-10 margin.
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (-180)
Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues
Puck Line: Blues -1.5 (+180) | Stars +1.5 (-210)
Moneyline: Blues (-145) | Stars (+125)
Goal Total - 5: OVER -140 | UNDER +120
Game Details: 8:00 p.m. ET – Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO
Records To Date: Dallas 37-21-6 | St. Louis 38-17-10
Dallas visits St. Louis looking to close the gap in the Central Division standings. The Stars are six points behind the Blues and one back of Colorado. Dallas has an eight-point lead over Nashville in the race for the final playoff spot in the Central. After defeating the Hurricanes 4-3 in Carolina on Tuesday, then losing 4-3 in Boston on Thursday, the Stars are closing out a three-game road trip. Running hot as visitors, Dallas is 6-1-2 over its last nine road games.
Following a 2-7-3 slide, St. Louis is back on track with six straight wins. After a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Chicago on Tuesday and a 4-3 OT win over the NY Islanders on Thursday, the Blues are playing the third of three home games. Behind Tampa Bay (+500), Vegas (+500) and Boston (+700), St. Louis and Colorado are tied with +1000 Stanley Cup futures odds. There is value in that price, as the Blues are strong contenders to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Stars vs. Blues Final Thoughts and Prediction
St. Louis and Dallas meet for the fifth and final time this season. Winning 3-1 and 5-1 in Dallas, plus 3-2 at home, the Blues lead the series 3-1. Dallas earned its lone win with a 3-2 OT victory in St. Louis. The Stars outscored the Blues by a 13-7 margin and won the season series 3-1 last year. St. Louis enjoyed the last laugh, as they defeated Dallas 4-3 during the playoffs. The Blues clinched the series with a thrilling 2-1 double OT Game 7 victory.
Dallas is playing well on the road, as Tyler Seguin and crew are 18-11-4 as visitors this season. The Stars are first overall on defense, allowing 2.56 GPG, but sit bottom seven in scoring at 2.72 goals per game on offense. Tough to beat at home, St. Louis is second behind Boston (21-3-9) with a sparkling 22-6-5 record as hosts. The Blues are averaging 3.22 goals per game on offense and giving up 2.78 GPG on defense. St. Louis winning straight up is the best bet here.
Pick: St. Louis Blues (-140)
Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers
Puck Line: Oilers -1.5 (+195) | Jets +1.5 (-225)
Moneyline: Oilers (-135) | Jets (+115)
Goal Total - 6: OVER -110 | UNDER -110
Game Details: 10:00 p.m. ET – Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB, CA
Records To Date: Winnipeg 33-27-6 | Edmonton 33-23-8
Following a 6-2-0 winning run, Winnipeg has lost three of its last four games. That includes a mini series split with the Capitals, as the Jets lost 4-3 in OT in Washington on Tuesday prior to posting a 3-0 win at home on Thursday. Trailing Dallas by eight points, the Jets are a longshot to claim the final Central Division playoff position. A postseason berth is still within reach though, as Winnipeg is tied with Nashville for the second Western Conference wild card position.
Edmonton returns home after a three-game road trip and has enjoyed two days off. Edmonton was very busy at the trade deadline and the short break helped Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Ennis and Mike Green get settled in. After a 4-2 win in Los Angeles, the Oilers lost 4-3 in OT in Anaheim on Tuesday and 3-0 in Vegas on Wednesday. The Oilers trail Vegas by four points in the Pacific playoff race and are tied for second with the Canucks, who have one game in hand.
Jets vs. Oilers Final Thoughts and Prediction
This is the second of three games this season after the Jets posted a 1-0 shootout win at home back in October. These teams played three high scoring contests last year and Winnipeg won the season series 2-1. After the Oilers posted a 5-4 victory in Winnipeg, the Jets won 5-4 at home and 4-3 on the road. Including three straight wins in Edmonton, the Jets have won six of the last seven meetings. Five contests were decided by one goal and three went into overtime.
Posting similar numbers, the Oilers have outscored their opponents by a 201-199 margin while the Jets have a 199-195 scoring edge. Winnipeg is 16-13-3 on the road and Edmonton is 15-10-5 at home. After missing six games due to a quad injury, Conner McDavid posted six points during his first three games back. The addition of Athanasiou makes the Oilers’ top-six forwards one of the fastest groups in the league. Bet on Edmonton winning a high-scoring contest.
Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-135)
Season Record: 16-19 (-6.99 units)
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