As we soak in the excitement of the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship, remember that the NHL is back with 14 games this Wednesday after the holiday break! Canada Sports Betting’s hockey podcast, The Puck Portfolio, will return on Thursday, but in the meantime, we’ve got you covered with today’s NHL projections and picks, powered by NorthStar Bets.
Today’s NHL Projections
Our model generates win probabilities based on factors like team strengths, scheduling, injuries, and league trends, and we compare our odds to what’s being offered at sportsbooks, like NorthStar Bets, to find value bets.
There are a lot of intriguing matchups on Wednesday. We’ve got the Maple Leafs and Senators going head-to-head, plus the Battle of Florida between the Panthers and Lightning, but after firing up our game prediction model, Here’s what sticks out for Wednesday.
Today’s NHL Picks
Washington Capitals to beat New York Rangers (Moneyline)
New York remains one of the top teams, with a league-best .734 points percentage through 32 games, and goaltender Igor Shesterkin looks to be in the best shape he’s been in all season after saving the team almost three goals above expected over his last three starts. However, the Rangers have not been at their best.
Over the last month, the Rangers grade out as a bottom-10 team in 5-on-5 expected goals percentage, according to Evolving Hockey, and they’ve scored just 44% of the goals. Of course, they’ve been winning more than they’ve been losing, but even in all situations, the Rangers aren’t crushing teams as of late.
Meanwhile, the Capitals have been keeping games close, going to extra time in six of the last nine games and they’ve been decent at 5-on-5 as of late, ranking 17th in expected goals. Washington is still getting outscored on aggregate, and they’ll likely come out on the losing end at MSG on Wednesday, but there’s value backing the road team.
This is the first of three games in four days for the Capitals, but regardless of whether it’s Darcy Kuemper or Charlie Lindgren in the crease, there are scenarios where Washington’s goaltending will carry them to an upset like it has several times this season, and there’s a chance Max Pacioretty could make his Capitals’ debut, which could mean there’s some hidden value here.
Bet Size: 0.5 units to win 0.875 units
Winnipeg Jets to beat Chicago Blackhawks (Moneyline)
Winnipeg has been solid on the road this season, going 9-5 straight up so far this season, and they’ve been laying a whooping on opponents as of late. On the other side of the ice, the Blackhawks, who have been bad all around, and they’ve gone just 6-10 on home ice this season.
Now, the Jets are without their leading goal scorer Kyle Connor, and there’s some uncertainty about what the Blackhawks lineup is going to look like, but I’m willing to bet that Connor Hellebuyck, not Laurent Brossoit, will be in goal for Winnipeg, as the team has two more days off following the game and the former isn’t the type to sit for that long. This is a tune-up game for the Jets before they play an important home-and-home series against the Minnesota Wild to close out the month of December.
The Jets are going to struggle to score goals a little more often with Connor out of the lineup, but they have been rock solid on defence, ranking third in goals against per 60 over the last month, and a big reason for that is Hellebuyck, who has saved the team approximately 15 goals above expected according to Evolving Hockey. Chicago ranks 32nd in expected goals percentage over the last month, but of course, there’s a chance my hunch is wrong, and Hellebuyck will be given an extended break, so I’m going to bet a smaller amount.
Bet Size: 1.11 units to win 0.5 units