NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Sunday 3/17/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NHL Betting Picks and Player Props to Target: Sunday 3/17/24

Sunday in the NHL is usually quiet, and today is no different with just six games remaining. 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

New Jersey Devils at Vegas Golden Knights

Luke Hughes 2+ Shots on Goal (-125)

I don't think the market has caught up to Luke Hughes' full unleashing into the New Jersey Devils' top role on defense.

For example, Hughes logged a season-high 26:22 TOI average in yesterday's loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Previously, Hughes was resigned to the second or third even-strength pairing but scored and assisted often thanks to his role on the lead power-play unit. Now, Jack Hughes' brother joins the talented center in all conditions.

Hughes has posted multiple shots on goal (SOG) in three of his last four games as is, and it'll help him tally shots that he sees high-leverage work late in games or with a man advantage. Plus, it helps that today's opponent, the Vegas Golden Knights, have allowed the 10th-most shots on goal per game over the past month.

FanDuel Research's NHL projections expect 1.75 shots from Hughes on Sunday, implying -300 odds for two-plus official SOG.

San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks

Tyler Johnson to Record a Point (-106)

A role change helps the case for this prop, too.

You typically want nothing to do with the Chicago Blackhawks offense that isn't tied to Connor Bedard, and after a recent hot streak, Tyler Johnson now is. Entering Saturday, he's replaced Nick Foligno on Bedard's left wing in all ice conditions.

As mentioned, Johnson has produced on his own, so this fresh start should be interesting. T.J. has six points in seven March contests, including a goal in three of his last four.

The case for him to find the scoresheet in this matchup is pretty obvious. The lowly San Jose Sharks are allowing the most expected goals (xG) per 60 minutes over the past 30 days (3.63), and Devin Cooley is making his NHL debut in Chicago tonight. Cooley's 3.77 GAA in the AHL would be terrible as a mark in the NHL, so he's not exactly entering the majors on merit as much as desperation.

FDR's projections would set Johnson at -113 odds to score behind a points projection of 0.53. I'll take plus coin.

Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins Over 3.5 Goals (+112)
Penguins -1.5 (+172)

I'd have expected the Pittsburgh Penguins to be a bit more popular of a favorite today, but failing to cover the puckline in five of their last six games has scorned the betting public.

On paper, this looks like a rout -- even with the caveat that the Pens' stats might be a bit weaker moving forward without Jake Guentzel. Over the past month, Pittsburgh's 53.2 expected-goals-for rate (xGF%) is fifth-best in hockey. The Detroit Red Wings (46.4 xGF%) rank sixth from the bottom.

Specifically when the Penguins are looking to score, they've tallied the third-most xG per 60 minutes (3.43) in this period. Detroit's 3.26 xG allowed per 60 are seventh-most in the past 30 days, and goaltender Alex Lyon has posted -5.02 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) in the same time frame.

Pittsburgh's Alex Nedeljkovic (-5.40 GSAx in the past month) is a bit of a concern to allow Detroit to hang tonight, so my primary play in this game is the Pens' team total, but I do want to sprinkle the puckline at +172 when the Wings have posted the fifth-fewest xG per 60 minutes over the past 30 days (2.82).

Winnipeg Jets at Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets +1.5 (-120)

The Winnipeg Jets are a solid club, but there's reason to believe the Columbus Blue Jackets can keep things tight at home tonight.

Winnipeg's 50.5 xGF% over the past month ranks just 18th in the NHL, and Connor Hellebuyck (4.73 GSAx during this period) has remained solid but not been quite the brick wall he was to begin the year.

Getting a goal margin, the Blue Jackets' 46.6 xGF% in this time is pretty close, and they'll turn to Elvis Merzlikins, another top-35 goalie over the past month (1.35 GSAx), on Sunday.

numberFire's model and I are in conjunction that this line is a bit too wide. It's projecting Columbus to cover a marker 64.5% of the time, which would translate to -182 odds.

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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.