Each week, we’ll take a look at some of the hottest and coldest bets around the NHL, identify the team with the softest schedule, and shed some light on some interesting sports betting trends.
Hot team: Colorado Avalanche
Colorado is blistering hot, collecting wins in seven consecutive games and 16 straight at home. The Avalanche are the the first team with a 16-game home win streak since the Detroit Red Wings won an NHL-record 23 straight on home ice during the 2011-12 campaign.
Home dominance is nothing new for the Avs, who are an incredible 44-9 in their last 53 home games dating back to last year. Even Colorado’s backup goaltender, Pavel Francouz, is firing on all cylinders. Francouz has posted back-to-back shutouts in his last two starts when starter Darcy Kuemper needs a rest, and now boasts a 6-1 record with a 2.03 goals-against average and .932 save percentage across seven appearances.
Rogers Sportsnet hockey analyst Elliotte Friedman is reporting that Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux is being tabbed as a trade target by the Avs, who already lead the league with an average of 4.1 goals per game. Giroux, a seven-time All-Star, has 34 points in 40 games for the Flyers, but would need to waive his no-trade clause in order for a potential deal to be completed. A side note for bettors: The under is 5-0-1 in Colorado’s last six games overall.
Next three games: vs. Boston (Jan. 26), @ Chicago (Jan. 28), vs. Buffalo (Jan. 30)
Cold team: Philadelphia Flyers
With the Flyers’ 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, they’ve now lost a franchise-record 13 straight games. Philadelphia also endured a 10-game slide from Nov. 18-Dec. 8 and now owns a dreadful 13-22-8 record (21-22 against the spread).
The only thing bettors should be wagering on is this team getting even worse as the season progresses. As mentioned above, the team’s leading scorer, Giroux, could be on the way out, as could many other veteran players by the March 21 trade deadline, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Fletcher: “It will be Claude’s decision,” as to whether Claude Giroux is moved at the deadline.
As far as the deadline itself: “We’re looking to aggressively retool here. Everything is on the table.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 26, 2022
Next three games: vs. Los Angeles (Jan. 29), vs. Winnipeg (Feb. 1), vs. Detroit (Feb. 9)
Over team: Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas continues to be one of the best over plays in the NHL, posting a 26-15-2 over/under mark to this point. The Knights have also played over the total in four of their last five games thanks to their potent seventh-best attack (3.40 goals per game) and mediocre goaltending/defense (allowing three goals per game).
Expect the Golden Knights to ramp up their scoring in the second half of the season. At the halfway point of 41 games, this was the highest-scoring Vegas team in franchise history at 3.46 goals per game. And that’s with leading scorer Max Pacioretty playing in only 16 games and Mark Stone playing in only 23. Former Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel is also working his way back from a serious neck injury and could factor into the goal-scoring equation late in the season.
Next three games: @ Florida (Jan. 27), @ Tampa (Jan. 29), vs. Buffalo (Feb. 1)
Under team: Los Angeles Kings
Where would the Kings be without a bounce-back season from goalie Jonathan Quick? The 36-year-old netminder is playing at an elite level again, posting a 2.53 GAA and .914 save percentage. Los Angeles was ravaged by injuries and COVID absences in the first half of the season, making his numbers to this point even more impressive.
The Kings have played under the total in three straight contests, making their o/u record 15-27-1. The team is currently in the middle of a six-game East Coast road trip, but it has two soft games coming up against the lowly New York Islanders and struggling Flyers.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 25, 2022
Next three games: @ New York Islanders (Jan. 27), @ Philadelphia (Jan. 29), @ Pittsburgh (Jan. 30)
Best puckline team/schedule spot: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are still the best puckline team in the NHL with a 29-15 record ATS. Anaheim had failed to cover in its last four games prior to rattling off two convincing victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins to get back on track.
A tough matchup up in Canada with the Toronto Maple Leafs looms Wednesday, but then Anaheim’s schedule softens considerably with dates against current non-playoff teams like the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Red Wings, and Seattle Kraken. Toronto thumped the Ducks 5-1 in Anaheim in their last meeting in November. Anaheim is -106 (PROLINE +) as an underdog on the puckline Wednesday against the Maple Leafs, but it will surely be favored in each of its next four matchups.
Next three games: @ Toronto (Jan. 26), @ Montreal (Jan. 27), @ Ottawa (Jan. 29)
Photo: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY