NHL betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Saturday
Our NHL expert has picked out four teams to back in the win/draw/win market on Saturday in the NHL.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL picks page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Toronto Maple Leafs
In a condensed season it can be hard to find pockets of rest, but the Habs managed to get seven days between games. They went into that break on a high note with a 2-1 win over the Leafs on the road.
Now they get Toronto on home ice, with plenty of time to get healthier and work out some of the kinks that have bound up their offense a bit in recent weeks.
After scoring at will earlier in the season, Montreal has not scored more than two goals in five straight games. They may be able to take advantage of a Maple Leafs roster that just went through a harder-than-expected three-game series against the Ottawa Senators while the Habs got their weeklong break.
One thing to be aware of, however, is that Carey Price hasn’t been as sharp on multiple days rest. In three appearances where he had four or more days between starts, Price has an .878 save percentage. He’s been sharper on shorter rest. This may be one game to take a look at the over as well.
Edmonton Oilers to beat Calgary Flames
The Battle of Alberta is just getting warmed up. After the first meeting between the two clubs provided a ton of fireworks and goals galore, this weekend’s home and home series comes at a great time for both clubs.
The Oilers kicked it off with a 2-1 win on Friday night and seem to be hitting their stride, while the Flames have battled consistency issues over the last week plus. Nothing brings focus like a rivalry matchup, though.
There was a really interesting note from Oilers broadcaster Jack Michaels on Twitter Thursday night about how suddenly Edmonton is getting more contributions from more of its lineup. He noted that the team’s last 25 goals have been spread out among 13 different scorers and Connor McDavid wasn’t among them. There is still a gulf between McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and the rest of the Oilers’ lineup in terms of point production, but this is a positive trend for a team that is as top heavy as any team in the league.
Normally I’d lean towards whichever team lost the night before when picking a back-to-back, but the Oilers are the hotter team right now and will be heading to home ice.
On top of that, McDavid hasn’t scored a goal in his six games through Friday. Considering he has more goals against the Flames than any other team he’s played against in his career, it might be worth looking into a McDavid to score a goal prop as he’s been almost automatic against Calgary in his career. It's also worth noting that McDavid has been particularly lethal on home ice this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets to beat Nashville Predators
The pressure is on in Nashville given that they’ve lost seven of their last nine games. However, after a 3-0 loss to Columbus on Thursday night, it’s hard to have much faith in the Predators at the moment, especially since they’ve been the worst road team in the NHL with one win and a minus-15 goal differential in seven contests.
Columbus, meanwhile, has been particularly comfortable on home ice with a 5-2-2 record in Nationwide Arena so far this season. They’re just simply playing better than their opponents right now and it’s as simple as that in picking this game - the Blue Jackets have more players going than the Preds do.
Among those players running particularly hot right now is Cam Atkinson, who has nine points over his last five games, including goals in all five contests. The Blue Jackets winger is now the team’s leading scorer.
One thing that will be worth watching is who Columbus throws in net on Saturday. Elvis Merzlikins shut out the Preds in Thursday night’s game and coach John Tortorella has been prone to play the hot hand. He may be more eager to do that after Joonas Korpisalo had a tough outing in his last start. In three career appearances against Nashville, Merzlikins is 1-1-1 with a .921 save percentage.
New York Islanders to beat Pittsburgh Penguins
The Islanders have not been particularly consistent of late, but they have mostly played the Penguins pretty tough. Each team has won a game in regulation and the Penguins have a shootout win. Since Pittsburgh was more dominant in a 4-1 win Thursday, the expectation is a strong response from this Islanders team.
You can expect the Islanders to try to keep this one a lot tighter. New York also has the better goaltender, with Semyon Varlamov likely to get the start again. He is fifth in the NHL among starting goaltenders with a .930 save percentage and has given his team a chance in almost every start so far this season.
Contrast that with the Penguins’ team save percentage of .885 and you have to figure the Isles won’t be held to one goal for again.
The Penguins have only lost one game at home so far this season, which definitely makes this the riskiest of the four plays, but the Isles have been playing the Penguins tough so far this season and the urgency of taking points in this game amid an exceedingly tight race in the East could help put them over the top.
Montreal, Columbus and Edmonton all to win
Visit Betway's NHL lines page.