Andrew Berkshire's picks for Tuesday's huge slate of games include two anytime goalscorer bets.
The NHL isn’t always the best league at marketing itself, but they’re trying something new today. Starting earlier than usual at 6pm Eastern Time, the NHL is unloading a frenzy upon us with 16 games involving all 32 teams, with staggered starts every 15 minutes or so until the final game starts at 11pm. There’s a wealth of potential bets available in all this chaos, so let’s get into some of the most fun ones.
Alex Ovechkin to score anytime vs Toronto Maple Leafs 2.35
Sitting on zero goals for the season, Ovechkin faces a team that he as loved to score on his entire career in the Maple Leafs. Now you may say, “Ovechkin loves to score on every team,” and I agree with you, but he has 41 goals in 56 career games against the Leafs. That’s a 60-goal pace in an 82-game season, close to the best single season of his career.
The Capitals are still out of sorts compared to Toronto, so it’s still an uphill battle, but I fully expect Ovi to score at least once in this one. If you want to augment your odds to reach for a bigger payout, a powerplay goal isn’t unlikely either, or you could go for 2+ goals.
Ottawa Senators to beat Buffalo Sabres & over 6.5 total goals 2.55
The Buffalo Sabres are on the second-half of a back-to-back after losing to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday evening, which gives the Ottawa Senators a distinct advantage in this one. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses against teams that they should beat, so I expect some snarl from both teams in this one.
The Senators have been averaging just over 7 total goals in their games so far this year, while the Sabres have struggled mightily to score, with just 13 in six games. They looked close to breaking out against the Canadiens, maybe playing a bit tired where you’re forced to keep it simpler helps them break out, but the Sens’ firepower is already red hot.
Matthew Tkachuk to score anytime vs San Jose Sharks 2.00
The Florida Panthers’ MVP last season and one of the best players in the league overall, Matthew Tkachuk has yet to score this season. He’s been taking pretty low quality shots, which isn’t his usual attack strategy, but even with slightly lower quality shots than usual, he has accrued the six-highest expected goal mark in the league according to Evolving-Hockey.com at 3.36.
Matching Tkachuk up against the worst team in the NHL seems like a recipe for a breakout game for the elite winger and generational agitator. Spicing this one up for a bigger return, you could bet on 2+ goals or 2+ points, because both seem pretty likely to me.
While everyone seems to be panicking in Oil Country, the Oilers should be staying the course. It has been a disastrous start to the season in terms of results, but the process looks fine. The Oilers are seventh in the league in expected goal differential at both 5-vs-5 hockey and all situations, but are 8th-last in shooting percentage and third-last in save percentage, which has killed them so far.
Now they’ve lost McDavid for a week or two to injury, which would cause any team to panic. However, the Oilers aren’t what they were a few years ago, when any time McDavid wasn’t on the ice they were dominated like a lottery team, they have much more depth now. It will be up to Leon Draisaitl to lead the way, but this Oilers team is good enough to win games without McDavid. They need to prove it now.