The NHL schedule skates into November with nearly a month of action on the board. Hockey bettors looking to body check their bookie this week should keep an eye on these handicapping tips and betting notes when checking the NHL odds.
Back off Buffalo
The Buffalo Sabres have once again started hot to the season, jumping out to a 9-4 record and earning nearly six units of profit heading into the weekend. The Sabres did something similar in the 2018-19 schedule, posting an 18-8 record in the opening two months of play before falling back to earth and finishing the season with a 33-49 mark and burning up more than 13 units on the year.
This year, Buffalo is looking very sound defensively to open the campaign. It’s allowing just 2.5 goals against while netting an average of 3.3 goals per contest. However, a deeper look at the Sabres stats reveals their 26th ranking in shots allowed per outing as well as a weak penalty kill unit and an inability to win faceoffs.
Those stats will eventually catch up to this club, and those goals against totals will rise. We’ve already seen the Sabres dropped two straight heading into the weekend – getting outscored 9-3 in those outings – and the upcoming schedule sees them playing some NHL elite like the Islanders, Tampa Bay (twice), and Carolina.
The Washington Capitals are the top Over bet in the NHL so far, with an 11-4 Over/Under count heading into the weekend. The Capitals have gone Over in nine straight outings, thanks in part to a shoddy defense giving up three or more goals in seven of those games, and an electric offense netting over 4.5 goals per game during this run.
The power play has really been the motor of this scoring attack, boasting a success rate of 25.5 percent – scoring on one of every four man-advantages. Washington is forcing the hand of bookmakers, who consistently through totals of 6.5 goals at the Caps with the juice on the Over maxed out for any 6-goal numbers.
Washington has three of its next four games coming at home, hosting Calgary, Vegas and Arizona. The Golden Knights have leaned toward the Over at 8-6 O/U, however, the Flames and Coyotes have been solid Under plays this season, at 6-8 and 4-7 O/U respectively.
If you like playing the NHL pucklines, two Canadian clubs have been the best when it comes to hockey’s version of the pointspread. The Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadians are both 10-3 on the puckline this season, with the Canucks earning more than eight units against those 1.5-goal spread and the Habs taking home more than four units for puckline players.
Both teams finished near the bottom of the league in 2018-19 and outside of the postseason cut, which has given some solid returns on their 2019-20 puckline prices. As always, be mindful of playing pucklines: teams pegged as favorite (-1.5 goals) are priced with plus-money vig while underdogs (+1.5) often come with a steep price tag for that cushion on the scoreboard.