NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Saturday 12/9/23
Saturday usually means a busy night on the ice, and we've got 24 teams in action at some point today. With no shortage of options to choose from, there are some pretty tasty wagers sitting at FanDuel Sportsbook's proverbial kiosks.
Whether it's moneylines, total goals, or player props, there are plenty of ways to bet on the NHL action all season long. It's a long 82-game season, meaning that the best selections of each night can be very different based on backup goalies coming into play, injuries that add up, and if teams are due for positive or negative swings.
Let's dive into the best bets for tonight.
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.
New Jersey Devils at Calgary Flames
Tyler Toffoli Anytime Goal (+180)
Rasmus Andersson to Record 1+ Assists (+150)
This afternoon matinee could have fireworks due to poor goaltending on both sides.
I contemplated Over 6.5 (-130) in this spot, but a public over against numberFire's model isn't my cup of tea. Instead, we can back these top-line players from each respective club to do some offensive damage.
Now with Jack Hughes back in the lineup, we should see Tyler Toffoli light the lamp soon. Toffoli has posted 10 shots on goal in three December contests but has yet to find twine. Toffoli has posted 3.41 shots per game this year, and today, he draws Dan Vladar of the Calgary Flames. Calgary could be a target for goals with Vladar in net if his -4.11 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) doesn't turn around soon.
However, the New Jersey Devils' goaltender is one of just eight goalies struggling even more than Vladar. Vitek Vanecek has posted a league-worst -10.31 GSAx this season in 16 appearances. Though Calgary's forwards can be tough to mix and match, I spotted this line for a Rasmus Andersson apple at some point. Andersson's 23:53 TOI average comfortably leads Calgary, and he's posted 10 assists in 22 games this year.
numberFire's projections would set Toffoli's odds for a goal at +138, and they'd peg Andersson at +104 for an assist. We can get value with both players in this projected shootout.
Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs
Predators ML (+136)
Roman Josi to Record 1+ Points (-128)
In a throwback to October, expect plenty of scoring if Ilya Samsonov is in goal. Samsonov's -5.20 GSAx in 10 games in fourth-worst in the NHL. He'll have no soft landing spot; tonight's opponent, the Nashville Predators, are posting the third-most expected goals per 60 minutes (3.53) as is.
I feel comfortable backing Nashville to win now that, on top of their offense, Juuse Saros has turned it around. After a tough start, Saros' -0.37 GSAx in 21 starts aren't damaging his club. The Preds are also doing well defensively as skaters, allowing the 12th-fewest expected goals per 60 (3.00), as well.
Even on the road, Nashville profiles to be the better overall team with no rest advantage. I appreciate +136 odds in this spot.
A usual contributor to their wins lurks on the blue line. Roman Josi should pile up another All-Star Game appearance this season, posting 20 points in 26 games with a hefty TOI average (24:44).
numberFire has Josi projected for 0.67 points in this friendly matchup with Toronto, which would translate to -203 odds for either a goal or an assist. There's juice on these -128 odds -- but not nearly enough.
Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings
Under 6.5 (+106)
Usually, a total of 6.5 slanted heavily toward the under will have unmanagably poor goaltending or poor defenses. That's not really the case here.
The Ottawa Senators are allowing the eighth-fewest expected goals per 60 minutes (2.89), so it's not overly concerning that Joonas Korpisalo has posted -2.92 GSAx in a healthy 13 starts. The Sens' offense (3.18 expected goals per 60) is also just 15th offensively in that department.
The Detroit Red Wings scream "under", too. They're posting the 11th-fewest expected goals per 60 (2.99) themselves, and for what has lacked on the other end all season (3.25 expected goals allowed per 60), they might have found their solution with new goaltender Alex Lyon. In just five starts, Lyon has posted 4.97 GSAx and is in the process of taking this starting job for good.
numberFire's model expects fewer than seven goals 52.3% of the time in this one, so the plus-money odds present a tremendous opportunity.
Carolina Hurricanes at Vancouver Canucks
Canucks ML (+105)
This is about as public and chalky as I'll get, but this is just a tremendous spot for the 17-9-1 Vancouver Canucks.
They're a league-best 9-4 ATS at home, which would require a win tonight. Vancouver plays its third straight game in B.C. tonight, and the visiting Carolina Hurricanes have sputtered to three straight losses to start this six-game road trip. It's a tough scheduling break for one of the league's best clubs.
Now, there's no doubt that the Canucks might be a bit overvalued in a vacuum. Their expected-goals-for rate (51.0%) lags well behind their peers with similar records, including Carolina (55.7%).
That's too large of a gap in a relatively closely lined game. Carolina is 9-17 against the spread (ATS), so they may just continue to be a bit overvalued by oddsmakers until their goaltending issues are shored up. nF projects Vancouver to win 52.7% of the time tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Seattle Kraken
Over 6.5 (+104)
Brayden Point Anytime Goal (+155)
To this point, Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn't quite found his footing since returning from injury. At the very least, he's not the under magnet that we were accustomed to in his prime.
Vasy has posted just 0.37 GSAx in six appearances, and with the Tampa Bay Lightning around the league average defensively (3.16 expected goals allowed per 60), they likely will need better to enter the category of a plus defense.
The Seattle Kraken don't seem like a mix for an over, but like Carolina in the previous game, they just have goaltending issues that'll always be ripe for a shootout. Despite allowing the fifth-fewest expected goals per 60 (2.82), Seattle is 14-13 to the over in their 27 contests this season. Philipp Grubauer (-5.00 GSAx) is the reason why.
numberFire's model expects at least seven goals 54.2% of the time in this game, so this contrarian over could be a more entertaining contest than expected. If it is, expect Brayden Point to contribute.
Point hasn't scored in four December contests to this point (on seven shots), but he posted 12 goals in his first 24 games this season. Expect him to find the scoresheet soon behind a strong 20:12 TOI average -- which would represent a new career-high.
Point is projected for 0.67 goals in tonight's game by numberFire, which would translate to -203 odds for an anytime goal. It's bullish enough that I'll take this plunge that correlates well with the game's total going over.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.