We're at the official halfway points of the NHL season, so enough messing around, it's time to get hot.
In an attempt to find some momentum with my bets, I'm increasing from my usual three plays to four plays for Tuesday night's loaded slate. One of those four plays will be a bet on the Kings, who in the midst of a brutal losing streak in which I bet on them to win in almost every single one of those losses.
My luck, along with the Kings', is turning around tonight. Let's dive into my plays.
If you want to tail (or fade) my bets tonight, you should do so at DraftKings Sportsbook. For a limited time, new users who click the link below to sign up for an account will receive $150 in bonus bets when they place their first $5 wager.
NHL Best Bets Tonight
- Kings +116 vs. Panthers
- Maple Leafs -130 vs. Islanders
- Canucks/Penguins UNDER 6.5 (+100)
- Devils +132 vs. Lightning
Kings vs. Panthers prediction
The Kings have lost six-straight games ahead of tonight but I refuse to believe they've all of a sudden went from being the best team in the NHL to one of the worst.
Their metrics over their last 10 games haven't faltered, which tells me this losing streak is a result of variance and bad luck more than anything else. Over their last 10 games, they're third in adjusted 5-on-5 CORSI%, eighth in expected goals percentage, and first in FENWICK%. They may not be as sharp in their own end as they once were, but I'll back them as underdogs against any team in the NHL, including the Panthers.
Maple Leafs vs. Islanders prediction
I've been betting against my Maple Leafs a ton this season, but I can't ignore the play of Martin Jones. He hasn't allowed more than one goal in four-straight starts, improving his save percentage all the way to .934 on the season. Is that sustainable? Probably not, but it's enough for me to back them tonight against the Isles.
The Islanders have struggled in their own end this season, ranking 26th in adjusted 5-on-5 expected goals against. They also have one of the worst penalty kills in the NHL, ranking 29th in that area. That's bad news when they have to face the elite offense and elite power play of the Leafs.
The Maple Leafs might just streamroll this team tonight.
Canucks vs. Penguins prediction
I'm a firm believer the Canucks aren't nearly as good as their record indicates, but I think their defense and goaltending is a lot more sustainable than their offense. They have the best shooting percentage in the NHL this season by an eye-popping 1.7%. Meanwhile, they've been playing well both defensively and in between the pipes and it's at a level that seems more sustainable with a team save percentage of 91.4% and an expected goals against per 60 minutes of 3.02.
That's why I think they may not be a team to fade throughout the next few months, but they could be a team that we should be betting UNDERs on.
Meanwhile, the Penguins are a bottom 10 shooting team and a power play that's lifeless. I'll jump on the UNDER in this game with it being available at plus-money.
Devils vs. Lightning prediction
The Devils have all the makings of an elite team outside of a solid goaltender. They're top five in the NHL in the majority of metrics, including shooting percentage, but are dead last in team save percentage.
It hasn't been announced yet who is starting between the pipes for them tonight, but even if it's Vitek Vanecek, I just don't think a goalie can play this bad for this long. I expect some level of positive regression from the Devils' netminders and once we see that, this team is going to get hot.
I'll back New Jersey as a significant road underdog in Tampa Bay.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
You can check out all of Iain's bets here!