Looking for a good NHL bet as the season winds down? I’ve outlined and broken down some of the best straight-up, puckline and OVER/UNDER wagers since the start of March for you to target or fade at your discretion.
Best Straight-Up Team
Calgary Flames (7-1): If you’ve been betting the Calgary Flames moneyline the last month – congratulations, you’re probably set to retire. The Flames are 12-1 straight up in their last 13 games and they’ve already started another winning streak after having their 10-gamer ended by the Bruins last week.
Bettor beware, though, the Flames’ next three games will come on the road against the Capitals, Predators and Blues, so make sure to pick your spots carefully. An approach I would take would be to fade them in Washington and if they lose, boosting their value a little heading into Nashville and St. Louis, back them as the underdog.
This is starting to feel like more than lightning in a bottle for the Flames. They are a team that can roll four lines if needed and that has a great mix of skill, speed and grit. If Brian Elliott keeps up his roll that’s seen him go 14-1-1 with a .935 save percentage since the all-star break, Calgary could do something similar to what a former Flames team did circa 2004.
Worst Straight-Up Team
New Jersey Devils (1-8): By losing 10 straight games before their win over the Flyers last Thursday, the Devils have all but locked up last place in the Eastern Conference and secured a great shot at winning this year’s draft lottery.
What they’ve also been doing is losing bettors an incredible amount of money and if you’ve been silly enough to back them any time over the last month or so – I’m sorry, but it looks like it’s back to the grindstone for you. Going an astounding 1-12 straight up in their last 13 games, the Devils have nowhere to go but up and with seven of their last 11 games set to be played at their home rink (the Prudential Center), you can probably go ahead and take advantage of them as home dogs in a few situations.
New Jersey is a respectable 14-20 straight up in friendly territory this season so backing them against teams like the Hurricanes, Stars, Jets and Flyers could wind up being very profitable.
Best Puckline Team
Buffalo Sabres (7-3): Don’t let this trend disturb your betting patterns too much, the Sabres are still a bad team, they’ve just been losing most of their games by less than two this month. Why this matters is because Buffalo has been the underdog in seven of its 10 games in March and in those seven games the Sabres are 5-2 against the spread.
By no means is that an incredibly profitable bet – unless you’re hitting it consistently or placing a large amount of money on it.
Buffalo finishes out its schedule with just three more home games so your opportunities to catch the Sabres as puckline underdogs are running out. If they are given +1.5 at home, though, jump all over it like a Bills fan would on a table at a tailgate party. The boys in Buffalo have barely been outscored on their home ice for the season and should continue that trend as they fight for a quickly fading playoff spot.
Worst Puckline Team
Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings (2-7): The Capitals have a share of both of these next two honors but the first is one they – and their bettors – are not happy about as they’ve lost five of their last seven games and cashed just two spread tickets this month.
One of the biggest contributors to this trend is the level of competition the Caps have been playing. Five of their last six opponents were teams that were in a playoff spot when they played them but with games coming against teams like the Coyotes and Avalanche, feel free to re-familiarize yourself with the Caps’ puckline. Washington has the best goal differential in hockey and will want to get back on track heading into the playoffs.
As for the Kings, I’d keep fading them. They’ve been improving a lot, in terms of their record, but they’re still not scoring. Bookmakers have been setting them as the favorite more and more and as a team that scores just 2.40 goals per game, they’ll always have a tough time beating a team by more than a goal.
Best OVER team
Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals (6-3): Coincidentally, these teams met not that long ago and the Stars beat the Capitals for the 11th time in the teams’ last 12 meetings.
They are, however, cashing OVERs for different reasons. Washington is getting OVER the total so often because of how disciplined they’ve been all season. Lately, though, they’ve been giving up too many chances and it’s leading to low closing totals getting demolished. The Caps have given up an average of 3.43 goals over the course of their last seven games and that’s led to an O/U record of 6-1 in that span. Expect them to tighten back up and for that trend to even back out.
Dallas, on the other hand, just keeps on doing Dallas things. The Stars have the worst goaltender tandem in the NHL and it leads to them frequently giving up five or more goals. This won’t improve with the end of the regular season on the horizon and with that in mind I’d keep pounding the Stars’ OVER.
Best UNDER team
Tampa Lightning (3-7): Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov. The three men responsible for Tampa Bay’s resurgence and subsequent playoff push. Vas, the Lightning’s 22-year-old Russian goaltender, however, is the man most responsible for their O/U record in March.
Getting the starting gig in Tampa must have done a lot for his confidence because Vas has posted a .931 save percentage this month with a 5-2-1 record. Not too shabby for such a young guy and not too bad for the Bolts considering their season seemed to be a writeoff heading into the trade deadline.