NHL betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Thursday
Our expert has picked out four teams to back on the moneyline in the NHL on Thursday.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Ottawa Senators to beat Montreal Canadiens
After watching the Habs dominate the Oilers in a 4-0 win two days ago, this is a tough call to make, but the Sens have played Montreal tough all season. Montreal is 1-0-2 in Ottawa so far this year with the last two losses signaling the end of Claude Julien’s tenure as Montreal’s head coach.
Ottawa has been a stronger team on home ice than they have been on the road with an 8-6-4 record. It’s not saying a whole lot, admittedly, as they’ve still lost more than they’ve won there. On top of the home comfort, though, Ottawa is coming off of a full week of rest. They’ve held opponents to three or fewer goals in six straight games and managed to win three of those contests.
Montreal has only played one game in the past 10 days after having some games cancelled due to protocol, so there shouldn’t be much of a fatigue factor, but I’d still expect Ottawa to be a little quicker out of the gates and challenge the Habs right away.
Washington Capitals to beat New York Islanders
The Caps were one of the best teams in the NHL over the month of March, going 11-3-0 over that span. Meanwhile, the Isles went 11-4-0. So this is definitely a battle of the East Division titans on Long Island, which has been a fortress for the Islanders so far this season.
The Islanders are the NHL’s best home team by points percentage so far this season with a record of 13-1-2 in Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum - they've been simply dominant. They haven't yet played the Capitals on home ice so far this season, though.
The Caps own a 3-0-0 record against the Isles, outscoring their opponents 12-6. Even though you have to respect New York’s home ice advantage - clearly the oddsmakers are - I really like the value on the Caps in this game.
They’ve won nine of their last 11 games and though they were humbled by the Rangers on Tuesday, the Caps are getting contributions from throughout their lineup and have had the Isles’ number this year.
Carolina Hurricanes to beat Chicago Blackhawks
The Carolina Hurricanes grossly outplayed the Blackhawks in their last meeting on Tuesday night. Despite that, Chicago got the goaltending it needed from Kevin Lankinen to shut the door, stopping 31 of 32 shots against, while they managed to get two past Alex Nedeljkovic on just 16 shots. What are the chances of that happening twice in a row? Not great.
The Hurricanes are 2-2-0 against Chicago with a 1-2-0 record on the road in the season series. The Blackhawks also have one series sweep against a top-tier team in the division so far this season. I can’t see that happening here, either.
Carolina has the NHL’s highest points percentage at .721 heading into Thursday’s contest. They need a win, however, to keep pace with Tampa Bay and Florida, who each have a one-point advantage in the standings over the Canes. Even though Chicago is fighting for playoff position with Nashville, I’ll give the advantage to Carolina.
Vegas Golden Knights to beat Minnesota Wild
In a big battle between two of the top three teams in the West Division, the Golden Knights are faced with an opportunity to gain some ground on the first-place Avalanche and create a little separation between themselves and the third-place Wild. It won’t be easy as the Wild and Golden Knights have had some really good battles so far this season.
The series is tied 2-2 with the home team sweeping each time. Meanwhile, Vegas is coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Kings and has not lost back-to-back games on home ice yet this season. On top of that, both of these teams played Wednesday night, so they’re both on the second half of consecutive game days.
With the Wild having had to take the extra step of traveling to their Thursday game, I think the advantage swings much more favorably to the home side here. Minnesota also dropped both of their games against the Sharks, so they’re kind of limping into this one.
Things tend to even out when both teams are on the second half of back-to-backs, but especially so for Vegas as they have an advantage in net. Robin Lehner has won each of his last three starts since returning from injury. He also has a .939 save percentage in those contests. Assuming he starts, that could be the difference in the game.
Washington, Carolina and Vegas all to win
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