NHL betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Thursday night
Our expert has picked out four teams to back on the moneyline in the NHL on Thursday night.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Ottawa Senators to beat Calgary Flames
It’s the battle of the Tkachuk brothers in Ottawa on Thursday night in what will be the first of five meetings over the next two weeks between the Senators and Flames.
Brady Tkachuk is coming into the game on a bit of a hot streak with seven points over his last six games including a pair of goals in Ottawa’s win over Montreal on Tuesday night.
Older brother Matthew came out of a recent five-game scoring skid to put up four points over his last three games, so keep an eye on Tkachuk brother props because you know both will have a little extra juice for this game.
As for the result, this is a tricky game to pick. The Flames are coming off a tough loss in Toronto after losing a lead late and falling in overtime. Meanwhile, the Sens are heating up a bit having just swept the Montreal Canadiens on the road.
Calgary has not won the second half of a back-to-back in two previous attempts this season. They also have a goaltending issue - with starter Jacob Markstrom still potentially out for Thursday night’s contest, the Flames can try to get David Rittich back in net for his third start in four days. The other potential option is to give Artyom Zagidulin his first NHL game. Neither choice is particularly favorable, even though Rittich was exceptional in his last two starts. If he goes in back-to-back games, I’d lean towards the Sens.
Ottawa has not announced a starter yet, but Matt Murray had back-to-back impressive starts against Montreal where he made 62 saves over both contests in picking up a pair of wins. If he does not go, they could turn to rookie Joey Daccord, who has one career start and that was two seasons ago.
Given the Flames are on the second half of a back-to-back with goaltending depth issues, I’ll lean towards the home Sens in a value play.
Edmonton Oilers to beat Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday night’s game started well enough for the Canucks as they got up to a 3-0 lead over Edmonton only to see that evaporate in the third period. Edmonton scored three goals in the final frame, tacked on to a Dominik Kahun goal in the first period to earn a 4-3 victory and hand the Canucks one of their most demoralizing losses of a trying season.
The Oilers have really stabilized things with wins in 10 of their last 12 games. They haven’t had the toughest schedule over that span, but they’re straight up dominating most teams they’re playing. They’ve also gotten more reliable goaltending from veteran Mike Smith and even Mikko Koskinen’s last start was lights out.
The question is: how will the Canucks respond to their current plight? Losing a 3-0 lead would need to garner some level of response, right? It very well could, but the Oilers are rolling right now. Tough to bet against them at the moment.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Winnipeg Jets
It’s always interesting to see how a team responds when a coach is fired. Losing two straight to the Ottawa Senators is a tough look for a Montreal team that seemed to be right up with the Maple Leafs as the class of the division for a brief period earlier in the season. Losses in six of their last eight games tempered that notion really quickly and cost Claude Julien his job.
New head coach Dominique Ducharme may have already been on the Habs’ bench as an assistant coach, but he’s a different voice. That could help a lot and you better believe a number of Habs players will be battling to make a case for themselves as reliable players for Ducharme. I think that’s going to make a big impact on the roster right away.
Meanwhile, the Jets have yet to go on a significant run this year. They’ve been fairly inconsistent, but have mostly played well - as their 11-6-1 record suggests. This is also going to be the first meeting between the two clubs, so not only do they get a Montreal team they haven’t seen yet, they get one that just made a change behind the bench.
Julien’s firing had to be a wakeup call in Montreal and I’d expect they respond in a positive enough way to pick up the win.
Washington Capitals to beat Pittsburgh Penguins
These two teams have been absolutely battling this season. Set to meet for the sixth time already, Pittsburgh has won four of those six games, including three in either overtime or a shootout. With the Caps on home ice, it might be tough for Sidney Crosby and company to take two on the road, but a tight contest can be expected.
One reason for the confidence in Washington is how well goalie Vitek Vanecek played in Tuesday’s tough OT loss to the Pens. He made 34 stops and gave the Caps every chance to win the game. He’s settling in a bit more to this crazy situation he’s been thrust into as a rookie, forced to be the No. 1 goalie for a team that views itself as a contender. Should he get the nod in this game, I’d like to see how he builds off that confidence.
On top of that, Alex Ovechkin has been a little too quiet lately. He has just one goal in his last six games - you know there’s an explosion coming. With the desperate need for the Caps to pick up some points against an East Division rival, this could be the kind of game where the captain goes off.
Ottawa and Washington both to win
Montreal and Edmonton both to win
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