NHL Monday best bets: Matthews, Nelson to shoot lights out
We have a small four-game slate on the docket to begin the week. Nothing stood out regarding sides and totals, but a few props caught my eye.
Let's take a closer look.
Tage Thompson: Under 3.5 shots
Thompson isn't generating a lot of shot volume this season. He's gone under his total in 13 of 19 games and 10 of his last 12 overall.
He's not even coming close to going over the number on most nights. For example, Thompson averaged just 2.4 shots on goal in his last 10 games while recording two or fewer shots in seven contests.
And it's not as if Thompson is taking shots and simply missing the net or going through bad variance. He just isn't attempting shots right now. Thompson averaged 3.4 attempts over his past five games.
With such low volume, it's impossible for him to hit his total some nights, even if every shot he took made its way to the goaltender.
The Coyotes rank 25th in shots allowed per game this season but have shown improvement lately. They sit 15th in shots allowed per game over the last 10 contests, meaning this isn't as enticing of a matchup for Thompson as it once was.
Given how low Thompson's shot outputs are right now, I believe a total of 2.5 at this price would be more appropriate.
Odds: -120 (playable to -160)
Auston Matthews: Over 4.5 shots
Matthews is someone I generally prefer to target at home, but this seems like an opportune time to make an exception.
Before we get to the matchup, I'll lay the foundation for Matthews himself. He's been firing at will lately, attempting 10-plus shots in four of his past five games.
We've also seen a healthy uptick in his road volume, as Matthews combined to generate 23 attempts over the last two games away from Toronto.
I expect Matthews to continue generating shots in bulk against the Islanders. They've conceded a league-leading 38.2 shots per game over their last nine. That's more than two shots clear of the lowly Sharks, who spend most of every contest on their heels.
The Islanders are bleeding shots at five-on-five and in shorthanded situations. Matthews is the focal point of the Maple Leafs' attack and stands to benefit more than anybody from New York's poor play.
We've seen top-tier shot volume from Matthews lately - even on the road - and the matchup is as good as it gets right now. Look for Matthews to take advantage.
Odds: -110 (playable to -125)
Brock Nelson: Over 2.5 shots
Nelson is as consistent as they come on home ice. He's registered at least three shots in 11 of 14 games in Long Island, which equates to a healthy 79% hit rate.
What I love about Nelson is he spends a lot of his time close to the goal. A high percentage of his shots hit the net as a result, meaning he doesn't need to attempt as many to get the job done.
The good news is Nelson finds himself in a matchup where the volume should be there anyway. The Leafs have given up 33 shots per game over the last 10, a bottom-six rate.
Toronto is also dealing with multiple injuries to a defense core that wasn't overly good in the first place. This should be a close, high-event game.
Odds: -140 (playable to -155)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @ToddCordell.