NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Saturday 4/20/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Saturday 4/20/24

The NHL playoffs are underway, and Saturday brings with it two Game 1s.

Don't forget to check out FanDuel's Parlay Hub to see other trending bets in all sports -- including ice hockey.

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.

NHL Best Bets

New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes

Islanders ML (+190)
Bo Horvat 3+ Shots (-106)

I tend to lean there's value in backing the New York Islanders to steal Game 1 from Carolina Hurricanes tonight when they're showing a bit of at most top analytical models.

These +190 odds imply 34.5% odds to win, but numberFire (35.7%), DRatings (35.9%), and Massey Ratings (35.0%). I feel extremely comfortable despite minimal value in those marks alone because those analytical models may not perfectly capture that the Isles have been a different team since Patrick Roy was hired on January 20th.

The team had a 45.5 expected-goals-for rate (xGF%) before the hire, and they closed with a 49.8 xGF% in Roy's tenure with improved goaltending, too. Semyon Varlamov took over for last year's Vezina runner-up, Ilya Sorokin, and posted 14.39 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) -- 20th-best in the entire NHL.

If that's the case, expect their captain, Bo Horvat, to play a role. Horvat met or eclipsed three shots in six of his nine April contest, and expect added ice time across the board for most of the NHL's top lines as they chase Lord Stanley's Mug.

FanDuel Research's NHL projections are expecting 3.4 median shots from Horvat, implying roughly a -194 chance that he'll meet or exceed three in Saturday's game.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins

Over 5.5 (-130)
David Pastrnak Any Time Goal Scorer (+100)

It's curious this first game carries a 5.5-goal total when, averaging these clubs together, "below-average" "offense doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs were a shootout machine, posting the 5th-most expected goals (xG) per 60 minutes and allowing the 13th-most themselves. Toronto also didn't have a top-25 netminder (in terms of GSAx) despite the fact Joseph Woll (8.63 GSAx) is definitely serviceable.

The Boston Bruins are a bit more of a threat for an over, scoring just the 16th-most xG per 60 minutes. Yet, their defense -- a huge strength in recent seasons -- allowed a middle-of-the-road 253.0 xG this season (17th in the NHL).

If this were an average total, I wouldn't love the 6.5 number, but an average median total of 6.29 goals has historically hit 56.5% of the time in the past two seasons, and that median would imply -150 odds overall.

Expecting heightened scoring, David Pastrnak has to be at the top of the list to score. He hasn't in his past five games despite 47 goals in the 82 played this season. Further, Pasta took 19 shots in the span, defying a 12.3% shooting rate for the entire season. Mathematically and in theory, the talented B's winger is due.

FDR's projections have Pastrnak as today's most likely scorer, expecting 0.71 median tallies. That would translate to roughly -104 odds to score here, so there's a bit of value left on this short number.

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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.