Top Shelf Picks: Best NHL Bets Tonight (Penguins in Great Underdog Spot vs. Panthers)

Dec 6, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on against the
Dec 6, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on against the / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

We got back on the right track last night, going 2-1 with my NHL picks. Let's try to keep that momentum going during tonight's small, three-game slate.

I have a pick locked in for each of the three contests tonight, so let's jump into them.

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Best NHL Picks Today

  • Penguins +143 vs. Panthers
  • Blues vs. Blue Jackets OVER 6.5 (-105)
  • Wild vs. Oilers UNDER 6.5 (+110)

Penguins vs. Panthers prediction

I think this is a great spot to back the Penguins as underdogs. Despite being just 11-11-3, I think they're playing a lot better in certain areas than what their record indicates. They enter tonight's game ranking fourth in the NHL in expected goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Tristan Jarry has also been playing some great hockey this year, sporting a save percentage of .917.

The Penguins' biggest issue this season has been their 30th-ranked power play, but the Panthers haven't been great in that area either, ranking 21st in power play.

I'll back the Penguins as road underdogs in this one.

Blues vs. Blue Jackets prediction

The Blues and Blue Jackets have been playing terrible defensive hockey lately. Over each team's last three games, they rank 32nd and 31st in expected goals against per 60 minutes of play with the Blues at 3.9 and the Blue Jackets at 3.52.

If that continues, we should see plenty of offensive opportunities for both teams. It also helps that they both rank inside the top half of the NHL in shooting percentage over that stretch.

We could be in for a high-scoring affair tonight.

Wild vs. Oilers prediction

It takes guts to take an UNDER in a game involving the Wild, but I think this is the time to do it with the odds set at plus money. Over their last 10 games, the Wild have been an UNDER bettor's dream. They lead the NHL in that span in expected goals against per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play at 1.9, while also averaging just 2.39 expected goals for.

Overall, there has only been an average of 5.32 combined goals per 60 minutes during the Wild's last 10 games, well below tonight's set total of 6.5.

If one thing is going to ruin this bet, it's the Wild's penalty kill unit which is one of the worst in the NHL and could be exploited by the Oilers' power play. But, if they can stay out of the box and keep this game at 5-on-5, the UNDER is going to be a great look.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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