MetroBet previews the best games to wager on for the Thanksgiving Eve NHL slate.
Winnipeg Jets at Calgary Flames
Moneyline: Jets EVEN, Flames -110
Puckline: Jets -1.5 goals (+240), Flames +1.5 goals (-280)
Betting Total: 6 goals (Over -115, Under -105)
One of the biggest storylines on the Flames so far this season is the ongoing goaltender battle between Mike Smith, an established but struggling veteran, and David Rittich, the unheralded second-year netminder that’s currently 7-1 with a 1.93 GAA and .931 save percentage. Rittich, whom some have taken to calling “Big Save Dave,” gets the nod in net for Calgary on the night before Thanksgiving.
Rittich is not the only Flame playing lights-out at the moment. Calgary is just a point behind San Jose in the Pacific Division going into Wednesday night’s battle with the Winnipeg Jets, who are second in the Central. Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau each had four points as the Flames torched the Vegas Golden Knights 7-2 on Monday night. Gaudreau feels like a powder keg ready to explode as he’s been playing well but has just seven goals on the year so far.
Calgary’s excellent differential in shots for and against at home this year (35.4 to 25.1) should pay off with Rittich in net. Patrik Laine, fresh off a Monday night hat-trick against the Canucks, should keep the Jets in the game, but goalie Carter Hellebuyck will have to stand on his head to hold off the Flames firepower and match strides with the red-hot Rittich.
The fact that this game is in Calgary should not be overlooked; Winnipeg has dropped five of their last six games in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Prediction: Flames win, 4-3
The play: Flames -105
Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings
Moneyline: Avalanche -115, Kings +105
Puckline: Avalanche -1.5 goals (+250), Kings +1.5 goals (-300)
Betting Total: 5.5 goals (Over -115, Under -105)
Goals have been hard to come by for the Kings this season, as Anze Kopitar is their leading scorer at six goals for the season. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (13), Gabriel Landeskog (13), Mikko Rantanen (8) and Carl Soderberg (7) are all ahead of him in that department.
L.A.’s third-string goalie, Calvin Petersen, has played admirably so far (1.64 GAA, .951 save percentage), but it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to keep this up. He’ll face a stern test from the NHL’s third-best team in goals per game (3.55).
The Avs will have their top netminder, Semyon Varlamov, between the pipes on Wednesday night. He could post a shutout against the league’s worst team if all goes well. Expect Colorado to halt a five-game slide to the Kings on Wednesday night.
Betting the Under in games involving L.A. has been profitable lately; it’s 4-1 in the last five Kings home games and 14-5-1 in their last 20 vs. Western Conference opponents.
Prediction: Avalanche win, 3-1
The play: Avalanche moneyline and Avalanche vs. Kings Under 5.5 goals Parlay (+265)