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.
Winnipeg Jets to beat Montreal Canadiens
After dropping a close game to the Maple Leafs, Montreal has to travel back home and play in a back-to-back against a Winnipeg Jets team that will have two days between games.
On top of that, Montreal has some significant injury concerns. First-line winger Brendan Gallagher was moved to long-term injured reserve on Wednesday as he’ll be sidelined for about six weeks. Meanwhile, Carey Price did not join the team in Toronto as he deals with a lower-body injury.
Not only are the Habs coming into this game at a disadvantage, Winnipeg is 4-2-0 against Montreal already this season. The Jets will be looking to keep pace with the Edmonton Oilers after they pulled ahead in the North Division standings with a win over Ottawa on Wednesday.
A lot of the games have been pretty tight between the two teams, but the circumstances being what they are, I have a lot more confidence in the Jets to come out with a win.
Edmonton Oilers to beat Ottawa Senators
Edmonton has not lost to the Senators yet this season, going 8-0-0 while outscoring Ottawa 38-17. Leon Draisaitl has scored 21 of his 61 points this season against Ottawa, while Connor McDavid has 20 points in the season series.
Even though playing back-to-back can even things out ever so slightly, it’s hard to envision any scenario in which Ottawa manages to earn its first win over Edmonton.
With McDavid and Draisaitl healthy, it’s next to impossible to pick against the Oilers in this particular matchup. Additionally, Mike Smith is expected to get the start in net for Edmonton after Mikko Koskinen went Wednesday. Smith has a .919 save percentage this season and has been pretty sharp over his last several starts. He is 3-0-0 against the Sens this season, allowing just four goals over that span and posting a .947 save percentage in those contests.
The Senators have shown improvement of late, but there might be too many factors going against them in this one to bet on anything other than an Oilers win.
New York Islanders to beat Philadelphia Flyers
The Islanders made a huge splash ahead of the forthcoming NHL trade deadline by acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. The two forwards help bolster the depth of one of the league’s best teams and Palmieri in particular could provide some extra scoring pop for a team that’s managed to get by without captain and goal-scoring threat Anders Lee.
Palmieri and Zajac were expected to take the morning skate with the Islanders, but it is unclear if either or both will play in the game against the Flyers. Regardless of whether they’re in or not, New York is playing in the fortress that is Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where they’ve been almost unbeatable.
Now 16-1-2 on Long Island, the Isles have won three straight including a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers late last week. Though Philadelphia is the only team to have earned a regulation win in the Coliseum this season, it’s hard to pick against the Islanders on home ice, especially when they bring in some reinforcements.
Buffalo Sabres to beat New Jersey Devils
Winless in six of their last seven, the Devils have gone into sell mode after dealing away Palmieri and Zajac. New Jersey is also still without captain Nico Hischier for the time being and are coming off a 5-3 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday night.
The Sabres, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games and seem to be playing with some new-found confidence under interim head coach Don Granato. They earned that win despite Taylor Hall sitting out as the Sabres prepare to potentially trade the former Hart Trophy winner.
Buffalo has points in five of the 10 games since Ralph Krueger was fired. Don Granato has brought a slightly different approach to the team and it seems to be resonating. As Rasmus Dahlin told Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News, “[Granato] makes all the players very confident. He’s doing something special. I can’t really point to what it is.”
Dahlin is one of the many Sabres players that has really struggled this season. The young defenseman had three points over his last two games and has looked more like the No. 1 overall pick he was in 2018. This team has needed some positivity and it looks like Granato has found a way to inject some. Perhaps Buffalo can build off its last win and get its first three-game winning streak of the season.
Jets, Oilers and Islanders all to win
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