NHL

NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Sunday 2/25/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Sunday 2/25/24

Sunday in the NHL is usually quiet, but today is a bit different with six games. How can we find value amongst them?

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.

My favorite picks are on the way, but 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

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

Over 5.5 (-122)
Bryan Rust to Record a Point (-154)

These two Metropolitan Division foes are both playing quality hockey, but I gravitate toward the over on this small total today.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins have allowed the fifth and ninth-fewest, respectively, expected goals (xG) per 60 minutes over the past 30 days. However, they're also both top 14 offensive clubs (in terms of xG) in the period. For me, it's the goaltending that can push this game's total past six.

Philadelphia will be starting backup Cal Petersen. He's posted -0.24 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) over the past month, which isn't awful. It's his larger sample from last year (-10.12 GSAx) that has me concerned it will only get worse. On the flip side, Tristan Jarry ranks seventh in the NHL in GSAx (6.17) over the past 30 days, but I don't quite trust him in the long run, either. Jarry has blown up to allow at least four goals on seven different occasions this season.

All in all, Pittsburgh should still have a bit easier of a time scoring, and FanDuel Research's NHL projections are keen on Bryan Rust to contribute to the scoresheet today. It wouldn't be overly surprising when Sidney Crosby's winger has six points in eight February contests.

FDR has Rust pegged for 1.01 total points today when a projection of 0.67 would show value against these -154 odds. Even with substantial juice, I'll bet on the veteran's scoring surge to continue against Petersen.

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets ML (+152)

Perhaps math will come for the New York Rangers tonight in a spot that no one is expecting.

New York continues to defy such with a torrid run over the past month. They rank second in goals-for percentage (64.2%) across the entire NHL, which is usually an indicator of a team playing well. Yet, in the same time period, the Rags' 46.4 expected-goals-for rate (xGF%) is eighth-worst in the NHL. Such pronounced puck luck for a sustained period is uncanny.

In fact, even the Columbus Blue Jackets (49.6 xGF%) have a better xG differential over the past month than New York. They've been skating better; it's just a question of how tonight's goaltenders fare.

It wouldn't be out of the question for backup Jonathan Quick to let the Rangers down despite 3.99 GSAx over the past month. On the flip side, Elvis Merzlikins (-0.17 GSAx) has improved the Columbus net from "impossibly bad" in the same period.

At home, I'm going to lean into variance and call the upset. New York is simply projected to pull back at some point skating so poorly.

Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres

Under 6.5 (-132)

Even at -132 odds, this under feels like a gift.

Over the past 30 days, no team has allowed fewer xG per 60 minutes than the Carolina Hurricanes (2.56), and they've finally gotten some stability in the crease with Spencer Martin. He's posted 2.19 GSAx in the same period.

On the other side, the Buffalo Sabres haven't been quite as strong defensively as a unit over the past month (2.90 xG per 60) but still ranks as the NHL's 10th-best defense in this time. The difference? Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen ranks second in all of hockey in GSAx over the past month (8.40).

In slightly different ways, these teams both have been under machines all season. They've cashed unders at 54.4% clip or higher. Expect another in Western N.Y. this evening.

Arizona Coyotes at Winnipeg Jets

Jets TT Over 3.5 Goals (-104)
Gabriel Vilardi to Record a Point (-138)

Hockey can be random, but the Arizona Coyotes are fighting an uphill battle a long, long way from home this evening.

Arizona has been arguably the worst team in the league over the past 30 days. Over the past 30 days, they're scoring the second-fewest expected goals (xG) per 60 minutes themselves (2.42), and they're allowing the fifth-most to opponents (3.45). Plus, Connor Ingram's hot start has faded to -1.81 GSAx in the same period.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets enter this one with at least three goals in each of their last four contests and a modest xG per 60 minutes total (3.10) over the past month. Winnipeg has actually slipped a bit defensively, but that's not of too much concern for the team total in this spot.

I expect the Jets to get after the struggling Yotes early and often, which likely comes via Gabriel Vilardi and the rest of the Winnipeg top line. Vilardi had eight points in seven February games before a goose egg against the Chicago Blackhawks of all teams on Friday.

FDR has Vilardi projected for 0.93 points in Sunday's tilt, which would translate to -1330 odds for one. With few scoring events, nothing is that certain in this sport, but there is value in backing Kyle Connor's opposite winger to return to the scoresheet.

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

Over 6.5 (+100)
Adam Henrique to Record a Point (-103)

We cap today's picks with my favorite of them. Two backup goaltenders on a back-to-back could lead to a bit of a sloppy affair in Orange County this evening.

The Nashville Predators beat the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, on Saturday but burned starting goalie Juuse Saros in the process. That'll put Kevin Lankinen in goal for Nashville tonight; that's been a welcome sight for opposition. Lankinen is third-worst in GSAx (-4.14) over the past month of play. Nashville's 3.03 xG per 60 minutes allowed in the same period is mediocre, so without Saros, they're a fairly welcome target.

We also know the home side is good to let up a few goals. The Anaheim Ducks' 3.46 xG per 60 minutes allowed in the past month is fourth-worst in the NHL, and Lukas Dostal hasn't helped them much with -2.23 GSAx in the same time period.

Two struggling defenses with even-money odds to reach seven goals? I'll take that.

Adam Henrique might also be a bit undervalued to contribute to that total. There's only one forward that skates on Anaheim's top even-strength and power-play lines, and it's the 34-year-old veteran. He's topped 18:20 TOI in each of his last five games since the promotion, tallying four points in seven games this month.

Like Vilardi, FDR turned me onto Henrique's solid role in this matchup. He's projected by 0.79 points by the model, implying -376 odds for at least one. These two even-money props correlate together, as well.


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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.