This Saturday (Feb. 3) sees 26 of 31 NHL teams in action and, as always when the slate is this full, there are a couple moneyline sworth playing, plus two over/unders that should help us continue our pre-All-Star break hot streak.
Last time out, Minnesota beat Tampa Bay (5-2) to give us a healthy return at +111, the Islanders vs. Blackhawks (7-3) smashed the OVER 6.5 (-108), and the Jets (+108) completed the trifecta by edging out the Flames (2-1 SO).
Two weeks into this series, we are now a healthy 6-1.
This time out, the focus is on an Original Six matchup (Toronto at Boston), a battle between two surprisingly high-scoring teams (Ottawa at Philadelphia), and a complete mismatch (St. Louis at Buffalo).
Toronto Maple Leafs (+104) vs. Boston Bruins (-115,)
It’s a big Atlantic Division battle! The Toronto Maple Leafs (30-15-5) are riding a four-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 16-3 in that span. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins (30-11-8) are 7-3 in their last ten games and have climbed within five points of the Lightning in the Atlantic (with two games in hand).
Head-to-head, the Leafs have absolutely owned the Bruins, going 5-0 in their last five meetings, including sweeping a home-and-home on November 10th and 11th.
Boston has an elite defense, sitting first in the league at 2.41 GAA, while Toronto is at a respectable 2.74 GAA. But it’s the offenses that stand out more, with both teams averaging over three goals per game (Boston: 3.20 GPG; Toronto: 3.15 GPG).
Wagering-wise, there is a lot to like about, not only the moneyline, but the game total too (OVER 5.5, +100). The Leafs at +104 at BetOnline is good value given their 7-2-1 record against the Bruins in the last ten. The OVER can also be added to your wager as both teams could easily make this a high-scoring game with their potent offenses.
Moneyline Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs (+103), available at BetOnline. [See BetOnline sportsbook review.]
OVER/UNDER Bet: OVER 5.5 (+100), available at BetOnline.
Ottawa Senators (+180) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (-220)
Neither of these teams are playing brilliant hockey right now. The Senators (16-24-9) are a woeful 3-7 in their last ten games but are coming off a nice win over a tough Anaheim team last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Flyers (24-29-8) are 6-4 in their last ten, but currently fighting through a three-game losing streak.
Head-to-head, the Flyers have a slight edge, going 5-3-2 in their last ten meetings against Ottawa. The Senators took the last matchup in early October, winning a 5-4 nailbiter to the Sens.
Philly has the edge in most offensive categories, including goals-for (2.88 GPG). Unfortunately for the Sens, leading scorer Mark Stone is on the IR with a knee injury and Bobby Ryan is questionable for this game with a hand injury. They have one of the worst goals against in the league (3.35 GAA) and can’t afford to have their offense become any less productive that it already is.
The good news for Ottawa is that Philly will be without starting goalie Brian Elliott, who has been on the IR since January 24th the dreaded “lower body injury.” That is right around the time the Flyers started their losing streak, during which they have surrendered 14 goals in three games.
You wouldn’t think that there would be too much of a drop off from the very average Elliott to backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, but there has been. This game is going to come down to goaltending and, if the Sens can duplicate their defensive effort in Anaheim, that +180 on MyBookie.ag is a tasty line to grab. The Flyers are a streaky team that is streaking in the wrong direction at the moment. Yes, Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Sean Couturier could easily light-up the Sens, but another solid defensive performance from a Senators team that’s missing some offensive potency feels just as likely. Make a minimum bet on Ottawa here at +1`80.
Moneyline Bet: Ottawa Senators (+103), available at MyBookie.ag
St. Louis Blues (-210) vs. Buffalo Sabres (+180)
The Buffalo Sabres (14-28-9, one of the worst teams in the NHL, clash with one of the best in the St. Louis Blues (31-19-3). Both teams have been rather average in their last ten games (which is a compliment to Buffalo); the Blues are 5-5 in that span while the Sabres are 4-6. In their last meeting on December 10th, St. Louis edged out Buffalo 3-2 in overtime and are 9-1-0 the last ten times these teams have met. Buffalo’s recent three-game win streak (it’s first of the season) was brought to a halt with back-toback losses to the Devils and Panthers this week. The Blues’ own three-game win streak was stymied in Boston on Thursday.
There is a real temptation to take the Sabres in this matchup at +180, but let’s not get carried away! What we should look at is the UNDER at +113 as this should be a low-scoring affair. For Buffalo, the total has gone UNDER in four of their last five games and it’s hit the UNDER in six of St. Louis’ last seven. Ride that trend.
OVER/UNDER Bet: UNDER 5.5 (+113), available at BetOnline.