This Saturday’s NHL action sees some longtime rivals facing off, and hockey is always better when teams don’t care for each other’s company, especially in an 82-game regular season. Some playoff-style intensity in the dog days of January is a welcome sight.
Of the nine games on the docket, three showcase longtime rivals — Islanders vs. Rangers, Bruins vs. Canadiens, and Kings vs. Ducks . Let’s see if we can find some betting value amongst the animosity.
In this week’s betting tips we take a look at the moneylines, the pucklines, and the over/under on the three rival matchups. We’ll look to throw a few clappers at the net and see if we can snipe us a few winners.
New York Islanders (+125) vs. New York Rangers (-145)
The last time these two New York teams met (October 19) the Islanders (21-18-4) were able to squeak out a 4-3 shootout win. The Isles are last in the Metropolitan but are chasing the Rangers (22-15-5) for a Wild Card playoff spot. With only three points separating these two teams in the standings, look for this rivalry to be at full volume as the points are absolutely precious for both teams.
The Isles just snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over the New Jersey Devils, but they’re going into Saturday’s matchup missing Josh Bailey, which is a huge blow. Bailey is second on the team in scoring and was recently named to the NHL All-Star Game. The timetable for his return is unclear, but he is listed as day-to-day. While the Islanders didn’t feel his absence when they put up five goals against Jersey, they will eventually.
Home-ice is a huge edge for the Rangers (15-7-3, home) in this one, with the Islanders a miserable 8-13-1 on the road. The Islanders’ issues start in net, where both Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss are both sporting GAAs well over 3.00.
The Rangers have split their last six games and recently took a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. They haven’t exactly been a consistent team, and when you’re not scoring a lot of goals, it’s going to be hard to pull out those one-goal games. However, when you have a goalie like Henrik Lundqvist and a stellar defensive corps, you’ll be in most games.
Betting Advice: The moneyline at SportsInteraction is a little closer than I’d like, but I’ll still side with the Islanders at +125. As good as the Rangers have been defensively, the Islanders have owned them straight-up, going 8-1 in the last nine head-to-head.
The Islanders’ puckline of +1.5 (-255) is a relatively safe bet, but the payout is small, and the moneyline is the better value.
Right now BetOnline has the total at 6 with OVER at -102 and UNDER at -108. The last time these two teams met they hit the over (seven goals total), marking the fourth time in the last five that they’ve gone over the total.
Moneyline Bet: Islanders (+125) at SportsInteraction
OVER/UNDER Bet: OVER 6 (-102) at BetOnline
Boston Bruins (-133) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+120)
Another pair of longtime rivals clash this Saturday night as the Boston Bruins (23-10-7) travel to Montreal to take on Les Habitants (18-20-4). Montreal is 4-6 in ITS last ten games, while the Bruins are 8-2 and have been playing some phenomenal hockey as of late.
Boston goes into Montreal with a road record of 9-5-4, while the Canadiens have been average at the Bell Center (11-8-3). Surprisingly, this is the first meeting between these division rivals this season, but they’ll quickly get to know each other, facing off three times in the next eight days.
In their last three games, the Bruins have put up 18 goals and are one of the top offensive teams in the league (3.23 GPG). Meanwhile, the Canadiens are not so great when it comes to putting the puck in the net (2.52 GPG) and, surprisingly, Carey Price has been average. Price’s mediocre play, coupled with the absence of top d-man Shea Weber, has led to their usually stingy defense getting lit up (3.05 GAA).
The Habs do hold the edge in the recent head-to-head with Boston, though, at 6-3-1, but as mentioned, none of those came this year, so that stat doesn’t hold much water.
Montreal always plays tough at home, and they have been playing better as of late, so I can understand why money will be put on the ‘dog here. My advice is to avoid the moneyline altogether. Instead, the puckline is what interests me. Boston is scoring a ton of goals right now and playing tight defense (2.50 GAA, second in the NHL), while Montreal is giving up more than usual.
Betting Advice: I like Boston’s chances of winning by two or more. The Bruins’ puckline of -1.5 (+215) is better value than the -133 moneyline.
Puckline Bet: Bruins -1.5 (+215) at BetOnline
Anaheim Ducks (+119) vs. Los Angeles Kings (-131)
This is obviously a more recent rivalry than the Original 6 matchup we just looked at, but these two California teams do not like each other, and they are set to renew hostilities this Saturday night in LaLa Land.
The Anaheim Ducks (19-15-9) have split their last ten games but are coming off two losses to Edmonton and Calgary. The Kings (24-13-5) haven’t fared any better lately, as they are 4-6 in their last ten and are also coming off two straight losses against Calgary and Nashville.
These teams played each other twice in November with the Kings edging the Ducks both times: 4-3 (OT) and 2-1 (shootout). That was par for the course in this tight rivalry. Over the last ten meetings, the Kings hold the slimmest of leads (5-4-1).
Los Angeles has been solid, if not spectacular, on home ice, sporting an 11-6-3 record at the Staples Center, while the Ducks are not so great when they fly away from home (9-7-6, road).
The Kings’ offense has really missed Jeff Carter, who is sitting on the IR after being cut on his left leg by a skate. But their lights-out defense is still intact, and they are leading the league in goals-against (2.36 GAA) surrendering just 99 on the season.
Anaheim has one of the better defensive corps in the league, as well, and have been getting decent goaltending from John Gibson and Ryan Miller. Yet, even with the return of the two Ryans (Kesler and Getzlaf), they haven’t been able to kick their consistency issues.
Betting Advice: This a toss up, and I’m not confident picking a winner. I am much more attracted to the OVER/UNDER of 5.5 with the OVER sitting at +113. Both teams entered their bye-week on the heels of two straight losses; you know they’ve been thinking long and hard about what they need to do to make a push in the last few months of the season. Expect a fast-paced, high-intensity game.
OVER/Under Bet: OVER 5.5 (+113) at BetOnline