Top Shelf Picks: Best NHL Bets Today (Flames and Wild Poised for Defensive Battle)

Breaking down the best bets to place for NHL action scheduled for Thursday, December 14.

Dec 5, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Minnesota Wild center Marco Rossi (23) and Calgary Flames center
Dec 5, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Minnesota Wild center Marco Rossi (23) and Calgary Flames center / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
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Betting on four games didn't work out for us last night, as we went 2-2 for a small loss after the Kings failed to win as a sizable favorite against the Jets.

With that in mind, we're back to betting on just three games for tonight's NHL slate, including the UNDER in what all signs point to being a defensive battle between the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames.

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Best NHL Bets Today

  • Flyers -135 vs. Capitals
  • Senators -111 vs. Blues
  • Flames vs. Wild UNDER 6.5 (-110)

Capitals vs. Flyers prediction

By almost metric, but for season-long numbers and recent numbers, the Flyers are the far superior team to the Capitals. Over their last 10 games, the Flyers are actually fourth in the NHL in expected goals percentage during 5-on-5 play while the Capitals rank 20th over that stretch.

The danger in betting on the Flyers right now is their shooting has been completely abysmal over their last 10 games as well. They're dead last in shooting percentage in that sample size, scoring on just 6.48% of shots on goal.

I'm banking on them snapping that trend tonight. Shooting percentage is one of the more volatile stats in the NHL and almost every team goes through a slump in that area at one point or another during a season. With how superior the Flyers have been in every other area, I'm willing to bet on them tonight and hope they snap out of their shooting slump.

Senators vs. Blues prediction

The Blues were one of the most fraudulent teams to start the season and we're finally starting to see them regress to where they should be, but I don't think the betting market has adjusted on them enough quite yet.

They have been terrible defensively lately, ranking dead last in expected goals against per 60 minutes over their last 10 games at 4.02. Their power play has also been one of the worst in the NHL, ranking second last, scoring just 8.43% of the time they have a man advantage.

I'll back the Senators at a near pick'em price in St. Louis tonight.

Flames vs. Wild prediction

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to play in their own end from the Blues, are the Minnesota Wild who have been great defensively of late. Over their last 10 games, they have an expected goals against of 1.97 and an actual goals against of 1.54 per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play.

The Flames aren't far behind them from an expected goals perspective, ranking ninth. Their goaltender issues have cost them in games all season long and it's my main concern with betting on the UNDER tonight, but the Wild rank in the bottom half of the NHL in expected goals and high-danger scoring chances so I'm willing to bank on Calgary finding some level of competency between the pipes.

With the total set at 6.5, I'll back the UNDER.


Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

You can check out all of Iain's bets here!