We have a massive 16-game slate ahead of us Tuesday night. I see some of the biggest values in fading a pair of Canadian teams.
Let’s take a closer look.
The Devils were quite unlucky over their first four games. Despite leading the league in five-on-five chances per minute and creating 8.45 expected goals, they scored only three times. That’s the lowest total in the league.
Shooting percentage is the driving force behind their struggles. They’ve scored on only 3.45% of their five-on-five shots, which slots them 32nd in the NHL.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know a team featuring Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, and Dougie Hamilton won’t continue converting at such a low rate over the long haul. Those kinds of numbers would be unsustainably low for even the worst of teams.
New Jersey will come out of this dry spell and start filling the net sooner rather than later. Tuesday night’s game against the Canadiens seems like a prime spot for that regression to begin.
Montreal played a road game Monday night and spent a lot of time on its heels trying to defend. That’ll take some of the juice out of the Habs. They won’t have Jake Allen in goal to bail them out, either, as he’ll be getting a night off after stopping 36 of 37 shots.
That means Sam Montembeault or Cayden Primeau will get the nod for the Canadiens. Both are several tiers below Allen in terms of talent and noticeably worse bets to go out and steal a game on any given night.
I expect the Devils’ loaded attack to overwhelm whoever starts in this contest. They should dominate the puck and have a substantial edge in the chance department, which will translate to success on the scoreboard.
Bet: Devils -1.5 (+105)
The Canucks have started the season with three wins over the first five games, but their success looks to be smoke and mirrors. They’ve benefited from extreme luck thus far, scoring on just under 15% of their shots while getting all-world goaltending.
I quite like Thatcher Demko, so I don’t expect as much regression in goal. That being said, there won’t be room for any regression when opposing goaltenders muster up better than a .850 save percentage against the Canucks.
Their underlying process is littered with red flags. At the top of the list is an alarming 40% share of the expected goals at five-on-five, ranking them ahead of only the Sharks.
I don’t expect to see meaningful improvement on the road against a Predators team that holds down the top spot in xG share thus far.
The Predators’ youngsters have held up well and provided them with quality depth behind stars like Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi. Throw a high-end goaltending tandem into the mix and there’s a lot to like with Nashville right now.
The market appears to be giving the Canucks too much credit for some good early-season results that are a byproduct of percentages more so than performance.
This is a good spot to take a stand with a solid Predators team on home ice.
Bet: Predators (-120)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @ToddCordell.