We have a juicy 11-game slate Thursday night. Let’s waste no time in getting to our best bets.
The Maple Leafs and Stars have met four times since the spring of 2022. The two sides combined to score 20 goals, good for an average of only five per game. Unsurprisingly, that has led to three unders.
I expect a similar story this time around. For one, the Stars are a fantastic defensive side. They rank sixth in expected goal suppression at five-on-five and have conceded just 1.65 goals per game in that state. They play with a lot of discipline as well: Only the Islanders and Blues have spent less time shorthanded on a per-game basis this season.
In short, the Stars aren’t giving up many chances at five-on-five and they don’t provide easy offensive opportunities by parading to the box.
When all else fails, Dallas can rely on Jake Oettinger. He has been nothing short of remarkable this season, saving 6.2 goals above expectation while posting a sparkling .952 save percentage. He should be able to keep the Leafs’ offense in check.
Joseph Woll is expected to get the nod in the other crease. He has drastically outperformed Ilya Samsonov in the early going, saving 6.1 goals above expectation. The latter has allowed 5.2 goals more than expected.
With Woll seeing the puck well and gaining more confidence every time out, the goaltending figures to be quite good at both ends of the rink.
I think this will be something of a measuring-stick game for both sides with a playoff-like feel. Don’t expect a ton of offense.
Bet: Under 6.5 (-130)
The Wild are above .500, but don’t let their record fool you – they have a lot of problems right now.
At the top of the list is defensive play. They are nowhere close to good enough in their own zone without captain Jared Spurgeon. Minnesota is allowing 2.93 expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, putting it in the neighborhood of teams like the Blackhawks and Canucks.
The Wild have already allowed seven goals to the Maple Leafs, seven goals to the Kings, five goals to the Blue Jackets, and four to the Connor McDavid-less Oilers. Even with a quality goaltending tandem, the team has shown zero ability to keep the puck out of the net.
I think the Flyers will cause Minnesota a lot of problems in this spot. Aided by the return of star center Sean Couturier, they have played very well at five-on-five.
Their share of the expected goals is seventh-highest in the league, putting them in the same ballpark as the Stars and Hurricanes. They obviously don’t have comparable talent to make the most of their shot and chance differentials, but it is encouraging nonetheless.
The Flyers are also defending quite well right now. I think they will be able to bottle up the Wild sans Matthew Boldy while taking advantage of the defensive shortcomings at the other end of the ice.
As home underdogs, there is value in backing the Flyers.
Bet: Flyers (+105)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @ToddCordell.