NHL Friday best bets: Panthers to stay hot in Washington
The NHL is back from its short Thanksgiving break, and boy, is the league returning in style.
Nearly every team will be in action between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m. EST.
Let's get into our best bets for today's jam-packed schedule.
There's slow, and then there's the Seattle Kraken. Seattle is moving at a snail's pace these days, with an emphasis on limiting chances at the expense of the club's own shot creation.
The Kraken rank dead last in attempts per 60 over the last 10 games and first in suppressing them. The story is similar in terms of expected goals: They sit 27th in xG per 60 and, again, first in xG against per 60. Seattle is playing lower event hockey than every other NHL team, which isn't all that surprising given how poor the squad's goaltending has been this season.
Philipp Grubauer is starting to trend upwards, but he has struggled mightily. Limiting the danger in front of him to help get on track is probably optimal, especially considering the Kraken don't have a roster littered with high-end scorers. Getting into a track meet is a losing battle.
While the Tampa Bay Lightning do play faster - everyone does! - they're not exactly burning up the ice. Tampa Bay ranks 26th in combined Corsi events (attempts for + against) at five-on-five over the last 10 contests. That's not surprising either - the Lightning are stout defensively on any given night, and with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point out, they have to lean in that direction even further.
This matchup is set up to be a snoozer. If the goaltending is remotely competent - looking at you, Grubauer - this game should stay under the number.
Bet: under 5.5 goals (+100)
Somehow, the Capitals have still managed to pile up the wins, going 7-2-1 over the last 10 contests, but it's hard to argue the success is sustainable - at least while missing so many key players. During that span, Washington's share of high-danger chances at five-on-five (45.40%) placed the team 27th in the league.
The Panthers are not the best opponent for the Caps to run into right now. Florida leads the NHL in CF% and xGF% over the last 10 games. Oh, and no side has generated high-danger chances at a more efficient clip. The Panthers are firing on all cylinders - even without Aleksander Barkov.
I see the edge being in Florida's favor at full-strength, and projected starter Sergei Bobrovsky leads the league in Goals Saved Above Expected (+19.7). Simply put, I think the market is favoring the wrong team in this spot.
Bet: Panthers (-105)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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