NHL betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Saturday
Our expert has picked out four teams to back on the moneyline in the NHL on Saturday.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Vegas Golden Knights to beat Colorado Avalanche
Though the Golden Knights took one on the chin Thursday night, losing 5-1 to the Avalanche, neither of these two teams have managed to sweep the other in two prior series.
The top two teams in the West Division also have the Minnesota Wild gaining on them rapidly, so this is going to feel like a pretty big game for both clubs to gain a little ground on the other and put some separation between themselves and the Wild.
There’s also a good chance the Golden Knights go with Robin Lehner in this one. He’s won both of his starts since returning from injury and has not yet faced the Avs yet this season. He’s also been on long rest with his last appearance coming on March 22. He is 5-1-1 in seven appearances so far this season despite a .898 save percentage, but was sharp in those last two appearances.
Colorado has been rolling, though, with wins in eight of their last nine games. They’ve also scored four or more goals in seven consecutive contests. Picking against them is risky to be sure, especially on home ice where they’ve been comfortable.
What I keep coming back to is that Vegas had not been beaten as badly as they were on Thursday at any point this season. That leads me to believe they’re going to have a big-time response.
Also of note, Vegas is 3-0-0 in afternoon games so far this season if you exclude the Lake Tahoe outdoor game, which started in the afternoon but didn’t end until later at night due to a weather delay.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are going to be well rested, having had the last week of games off due to multiple postponements of their series against the Montreal Canadiens.
However, the Maple Leafs have won each of their last two games and have been getting some stellar performances from backup Jack Campbell, who very soon may just take over the Toronto net long-term.
The Maple Leafs netminder, who has battled injury this year, is 5-0-0 so far with a sterling .958 save percentage, 1.18 goals-against average and two shutouts. Assuming he does get the start against Edmonton, it will be his second head-to-head matchup with the Oilers. Campbell made 30 saves in that start to shut out one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league.
Meanwhile, Toronto has just had Edmonton’s number this year. The Leafs are 5-1-1 in seven contests to date while out-scoring the Oilers 25-13. Even though Edmonton should come in fresh, the Leafs have simply been better in most head-to-heads with their Albertan visitors.
Winnipeg Jets to beat Calgary Flames
In Friday night’s matchup, Winnipeg picked up a tight win where both teams used their No. 1 goaltender. Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the Jets, while Jacob Markstrom made 26 stops for the Flames. With both No. 1 goaltenders unlikely to start two straight games, Saturday’s contest will likely be a battle of backups.
If that is indeed the case, Winnipeg’s Laurent Brossoit has been better on a more consistent basis than David Rittich of Calgary. Brossoit has not had much of a workload this year, with eight appearances so far, but he owns a .920 save percentage and has gone 5-2-0 in his seven starts. He’s earned a bit more trust at this point than Rittich, who has a .908 save percentage in 12 appearances.
On top of that, Winnipeg is just starting to hit their stride again. Friday’s win marked three straight on their road trip through Western Canada. That win also drew Winnipeg even with Toronto for the top spot in the North Division.
It’s really hard to win the second game of a back-to-back after winning the first, but the Jets have simply been better than Calgary in most instances this season, even though every game has been pretty tight - they are 3-1-1 in the season series to date.
Carolina Hurricanes to beat Tampa Bay Lightning
This should be one of the premier matchups of Saturday night in the NHL.
The Lightning are atop the Central Division with 50 points in 33 games, while Carolina has 47 in 32 games. Both clubs have proven to be among the class teams in the league.
Tampa has won three of the previous five matchups between the two squads, but Carolina has been among the best teams in the league over the month of March.
Carolina has seemingly found its footing again after dropping three straight games to the Red Wings and Blue Jackets, all of which were tight affairs. It’s been more than a month since the Hurricanes played Tampa in a four-game set that saw Carolina win the first of those games on home ice. The Hurricanes have won two of the three games in their building.
The Lightning will be playing their fifth game in seven days on Saturday, with the game against Carolina being the finale of a three-game road swing. Tampa also lost a tight contest against Dallas on Thursday where some of the cracks of fatigue showed.
You can never bank on the NHL schedule costing a team a game, but given the circumstances of Tampa’s recent schedule, I think the Hurricanes make a lot of sense in this marquee matchup.
Vegas, Toronto and Winnipeg all to win
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